We live in a hugely Amish and Mennonite area which I am not used to, being from coastal Maine. So, I’ll admit, I get a bit “star~struck” when seeing the Amish gals at Jo~Anne’s Fabrics buying calico to make dresses. I feel like I’ve been transported back to the 1800’s.
The Mr. grew up here. He’s quite used to seeing girls in bonnets and aprons and men in black hats, overcoats and wooly beards. He also apparently went to school with a lot of folks that are Mennonites, so it’s no biggie to him. To me it’s totally bananas. Not in a bad way, just really different than what I’m used to.
Last summer we attended a family gathering / potluck of my husbands step-fathers side of the family, and when we arrived there were about four mini vans (no, not horses and buggy’s!) of Mennonite folks toting out food and heading to the pavilion where we were going.
Me and the girls quickly whispered to The Mr.,
“What’s with all of the Mennonites?”
He replied very matter of factly ” It’s my dads family.”
“Whaaaat?” “How did I miss this conversation?” I said to The Mr.
Needless to say, the girls and I were kind of floored that what we considered to be a pretty huge piece of information on his family, had never come up in conversation in the 21 years we’ve been together. But, it could possibly be because it’s his step dads family, which we’ve honestly never discussed much.
Us gals were, I have to say fascinated, but perhaps a bit intimidated by them. I wondered the whole time if they were as curious about me as I was of them. Or if us non-Mennonite’s were just “normal” to them.
This of course shows even more, how little I really know about their culture.
After a very lengthy Sunday sermon they served up some of the wickedest food I’ve had in some time. Pies, casseroles, breads and crazy fried chicken. Those Mennonites really know how to “throw down” in the kitchen and I also should make notable mention of their amazing sewing skills, when seeing their handiwork on their bonnets and dresses up close. It’s meticulous.
It was wonderful to be around such a talented and artistic group of folks.
I have to say they are just lovely people. While they pretty much kept to themselves, meaning they didn’t hang out with us at our table and chat, and they are definitely sort of stand offish and quiet, they all seemed like genuinely good, honest people. I really wished I could have felt more comfortable having a conversation with one of the gals, but I did not want to seem intrusive or rude. I’m sure they get enough questions already, from the masses.
It was a totally different experience than I’ve ever had in my life. A part of me was envious of the simplicity, yet complexity of their lives. They have obviously very differing views than myself and my husband and our two girls on spirituality and life in general. But, I have not met a more devout, hardworking and committed bunch of people in my life. It was a humbling experience, to say the very least.