There’s something about seeing the Amish out and about. They are a stark contrast between the modern, technological world and the old fashioned one. It’s like seeing the 1800’s come to life before your eyes.
When I go shopping over in the next town over, there’s a high chance that I’ll see them in the store. The Amish love Wal-Mart, Tractor Supply, and Lowe’s, but the women also frequent Aldi’s in this particular town. Seeing bonnets, dark dresses and black shoes with televisions flashing behind them and fluorescent lightbulbs buzzing is a little disconcerting if you’re not use to it. I knew there was a lot of Amish in the area, so much so that there are watch for buggies signs along the state routes, but seeing them come out of their closeted societies is something to behold. There are different sects of Amish–some allow bright colored dresses for the women, while others are staunch in their blacks and dark purples and blues.
The children, when they come out occasionally with their mothers, are like doll babies, little miniature versions of the adults. One girl leaned up against the counter in Aldi’s in her blue dress and bonnet, her arms folded and head tilted to the side. She was studiously bored, determined not to see what was around her. I so longed to go up to her and touch her hair, ask her what she thinks of the life she sees and if she’s jealous of it.
The women push carts around, talking quickly in their Pennsylvania Dutch, words so similar to German but not quite. They sound happy. The men gather around the corner at the front, almost 20 deep, a small group of women and children sit on the bench and the floor. A modern lady is standing in front of one of the women talking. She must be their driver. They have a system and they know how to get it done.
I often wonder what it’d be like to live the simple life with no electricity, no cars, nothing. Sometimes it seems nice to be rid of the modern world and not have to be so connected and dependent. Other times I remind myself that I like to bathe and use the restroom indoors without hauling it and heating it up myself.
Sometimes the simple life is more work than I could wish to do. But I sure do learn a lot every time I see them out.