In preparation to visit my friend Lisa, she found several fun options for us through groupons. One day I’d get an email along the lines of Hey would you like to go whale watching? And the next day the question might be would you like to rent motor scooters and ride through Lancaster, PA looking at Amish?
The answer to both was, of course! But we knew we couldn’t say yes to all of the fun things we wanted to do. I remember responding along the lines of “I’d love to do both, but if I have to choose, what does it say about me that I want to ride a scooter and look at Amish? Doesn’t that seem a bit voyeuristic and somehow just … wrong.”
Like many of us English (anyone non-Amish), I have a strange fascination with the Amish. And after our day in Lancaster, I also had a major sugar high! We scooted from stand to stand enjoying whoopie-pies (oh my word, Jesus could greet me with one of those), homemade lemonade, ice cream, and pretzels. After our first stand we decided to forego “sensible eating” and just enjoy. And we did! It was my first and only time to truly interact with an Amish person and to in small, very small, ways break down some of the stereotypes and see them as people and not just “the Amish.” So when I was visiting a friend in the hospital after she had given birth and I saw the book Growing up Amish by Ira Wagler, I was tacky enough to ask a new mother if I could borrow it when she was done.
Thankfully, though a mother of two young’uns, she finished the book lickity split and gave it to me Wednesday when her son stopped by to trick-or-treat. I handed him a piece of candy and she handed me a book. Best. Trade. Ever.
If you have ever had a fascination with the Amish (or really, a passing curiosity), get this book and then hope for weird weather (in my case two days of rain in Beijing, a land known for being a desert). While this isn’t going to become classic literature or a book you need to read repeatedly, it is a peek into broad world of the Amish.
Ira was an active, albeit restless, member until he left for a fourth and final time when he was 25. He paints and fair picture without poking fun needlessly, elevating himself, or mocking those who stay. Instead, it is a look at someone who wrestles with wanting to be part of a community in which he never felt fully himself. In the end he found the gracious love of God that enabled him to move beyond the truth he had been taught about salvation.
What have you been reading recently? Anybody else eaten a whoopie pie? Am I right or what?!
4 words for you my friend…red velvet whoopie pie. That’s all.
Oh my word. I didn’t know the whoopie pie could be improved on. I was wrong :)
Oh Lizzie, that sounds amazing!!! You didn’t happen to have this Red Velvet Whoopie Pie in Indiana did you? If so, WHERE? I wanna go!!! :)
I believe it was indeed in Indiana!! It was at a small bakery…for the life of me I can’t remember where! But, I do remember google-ing a recipe shortly thereafter!
Nita Kulesa says
On a recent trip to Missouri and Arkansas we saw a group of women onthe long, dark dresses with little starched white bonnets perched on their heads.. BUT, they were driving a mini-van. We decided they must be Reformed” Amish!
Nita Kulesa says
Actually, they were IN their dresses, not on them!!
Eaten many a woopie pie. I’ve even had them for breakfast. In my hometown we call them “gobs” but they’re the same thing. I’ve also seen the Amish in PA, NY, and OH. I used to attend a teachers’ conference each fall at Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA. Have you ever eaten shoo fly pie? It’s made with molasses and is quite sweet.
I haven’t eaten shoo fly pie. Though my Grandma Young sang “Shoo fly don’t bother me” often when I was a kid :)
You are right on the whoopie -pie!!!
Kathleen Caron says
Great read! The Amish make alot of really delicious things, like shoofly pie and snickerdoodle cookies. I guess they’re mostly good at sugar. Amish country is God’s country, for sure.
Kari Scare says
I actually grew up next to 3 Amish farms. Some of my best childhood memories come from spending time with Amish neighbors. They used our phone, and we often gave them rides. I drove a horse & buggy once too. Oh, and lots of whoopie pies. There’s a book I read years ago about an English woman who actually became Amish. Hmmm… I will have to try to remember the name of it.
The Secret Piano. That’s the book that I’ve read most recently, and now it’s way up there on my list of books that have impacted me. Wow!
Is that the one in Burma (read) or China (not read yet)? Thanks for the recommendation!
emily wylie says
loved this post, my grandma had an amish family that lived down the road from her, brings back good memories :) I think I might need to read that book!