Thursday, May 10, 2007

Amish in the 'hood

Here in the South of Iowa, we have a small "colony" of Amish folks who moved in around 15 years ago. Actually, I believe most of one group has moved out and another group moved in, but that's a different matter - the point is, we have some of the "plain folk" amongst us.

I recently started selling feed to a few of them, and quite frankly, they are good people to work with. Of course, like any cross section of people you'll have your good and bad, but thus far, I have found the following qualities:

1) Hard working
2) Industrious
3) Innovative (yes, it's true)
4) Critical thinkers

It's funny, however, how one particular Amish customer contacts me - he uses a cell phone. Of course, it's his neighbor's, who he works with in the building of vinyl windows, but it's kind of odd to get a cell phone call from someone whose culture shuns ownership of such technology.

Another surprising find is when driving from Derby to Chariton, one Amish family has a trampoline in their front yard, and oftentimes you'll see the little girls bouncing up and down on it, their long skirts swaying and bonnet strings flopping up and down.

Another family, whose occupation is primarily making cabinets and wood flooring, utilize modern technology in a rather unique way. They own a moulder, a machine that has multiple cutting heads that turn planks of wood into trim or flooring. This machine usually has about 4-6 electric motors on it, and is not an inexpensive machine. The family figured out how to run the machine off a Deutz air-cooled engine using shafts, belts, and pulleys. Amazing!

Point is, they are regular people like you and me. They are not to be pointed at, stared at, mocked, or felt guilty about. They are simply trying to make their way in this life the best way they know how. Sure, there is a greater level of "peer pressure" and community than some of us are comfortable with, but they've made their decision and are living with it.

Now, for a little fun, here's Weird Al talking about our friends:


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