This afternoon as I was driving to my parents’ place—thank goodness for family help because it does take a village to raise a child (or three!)—I got stuck behind a line of slowing cars. I assumed it was a horse and buggy, as they usually travel the main road off of which my parents’ house is located.
When I got close enough, I did see the cause of the traffic buildup was a rather old Amishman, but not one riding in a buggy. Instead, he was driving an electric scooter. What?!
I mean, push scooters and Amish go hand in hand around here. But an electric scooter? How does that work?Aren’t they supposed to shun electricity? Does he get a special pass from the community for some health reason? Does one get to use an electric scooter if one’s buggy breaks down? Or is he just breaking the rules? I think, if you’re going to go electric, why not just go one step further and drive a freaking car?!?
That got me to thinking about what today’s Amish youth really think about their elders, their own way of life, and the way of life of us outsiders—the English, as we are known to them.
They all have cell phones, or it seems most of them do. Again, how they get around this, without having electricity to charge them, I’m not quite sure. I’ve heard they use generators to power them up? But in this age of technology and information overload, surely Amish teens and young adults have access and exposure to more than ever before. So, given that they are likely not as sheltered as we imagine them to be, what do they really think?
For instance, do they enjoy driving buggies and holding onto a horse’s reins? Or, do they feel it’s old-fashioned? Would they rather be driving cars instead?
Do they look forward to their packed Igloo cooler lunches, day in and day out, filled with homemade custards and baked goods, drinking whole fat cream fresh from the cows? Or, do they ever daydream about ordering takeout, having pizza delivered, or dining at some farm-to-table restaurant where their crops are served up as part of some featured dish?
And what about having to marry within so small a circle of friends and neighbors. Is everybody cool with this? Or is it a big drag that weighs heavily on the youngsters, but they just have to accept it?
I’ve taken several long walks this spring around the back roads near the farms surrounding my parents’ house. In hot weather I’ve worn little more than a tank top and running shorts. Several times I’ve passed a field where an Amish softball game was taking place.
Each time, the setting was the same: all the boys and young men played in the field, while the bonneted girls and young women sat in the shade barefoot, talking and giggling, watching the boys.
As I passed by I felt extremely aware of how little clothing I had on. Especially now that I’m breastfeeding and slightly more endowed than normal. I wonder, did the boys look at me and secretly think: Wow! There goes a hot piece of ass! Wish our ladies could dress like that!
Or did they blush red and hang their heads, turning away from the ‘sins of the flesh.’
Did the young girls secretly wish they could be out and about, dressed for the weather as I was instead of in their long skirts and long sleeves? Do they even suffer from heat? Perhaps they are genetically adapted to withstand wearing that kind of clothing in hot temperatures.
Or did they think: You heathen! You hussy! Stop tempting our menfolk!
Or did they all simply smile and sigh: Look. There’s our neighbor. Let’s love her as we love ourselves.
I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I only know that I felt uncomfortable walking past them and tried to hurry through that part of the walk so I could avoid their eyes and all that I imagined they might be thinking.
My husband works with the Amish through his job every day. Maybe I should make it my mission to befriend someone through his connections in order to investigate the answers to these questions. I mean no disrespect; I’m just very curious about and fascinated by these people.
Maybe I should try to find an Amish blogger. I bet there’s one (or more) out there, secretly burning the midnight oil—literally!—and typing away on a smart phone-powered-by-generator, posting amazing pie recipes and plans for DIY build-a-barns, or even beautiful patterns for heirloom quilts.
As soon as I finish typing this sentence, I think I am going to try and find one. 😉