Road Trip–Fallingwater Edition (concluded, finally)

          We headed off to our final stop on this trip—Bird-in-Hand, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where we stayed in a modern hotel overlooking beautiful, cultivated fields. This is Amish country, and yes, we saw the horse and buggies, and yes, perhaps they weren’t Amish, but Old World Mennonites. I have been told that you can tell them apart because of a difference in bonnet styles, but I don’t know what that difference is. I was pleased to note that women did drive carriages.

          This was the most touristy place we visited, and we went into a place that called itself an Amish market. It had “cute” clothing often featuring logos of Blue Balls, Pennsylvania, or Intercourse, Pennsylvania, on them, and many items that could be found in similar shops around the country—refrigerator magnets, coasters, coffee mugs, framed pictures. An adjoining building had foods: pickles, jams, candies, cookies, breads. What drew my eye were the meat counters and the arrays of sausages. I have seldom spotted a sausage that I did not want to buy, but we were without refrigeration, and I resisted. But I did succumb enough to buy a not-yet-read history of the Amish.

          The area is a quilting center, but a quilting museum that we had hoped to see was not open. However, quilting stores were in business. The spouse quilts, usually baby quilts for friends’ children, and we went to one of the stores. (See the spouse’s post of June 17, 2020, with pictures. Search Results for “”piecing it together”” – AJ’s Dad (ajsdad.blog)) Fabrics, threads, quilts, quilt kits, and more. The spouse said it was too much to take in in one outing, but she was not so overwhelmed that she did not buy some fabric, a kit or two and like that. Pennsylvania Dutch country is also known for hand-crafted wood furniture, and the next day we bought a set of dining room chairs, which the spouse insisted we “needed” even though we do not sit on the floor now around the dining room table. They cost more than a few yards of fabric and a quilting kit. The chairs are custom made and won’t be delivered until next spring. I must agree that they will look good in the country house.

          In between the two buying sprees, we went to dinner at the kind of restaurant that dots Amish country—a buffet for a modest set price. A half dozen or more serving stations with hot and cold food and a carving station of ham, roast beef, and turkey. All you can eat. Clean your plate and go get another one. And try to save room for one of the dozen pies, cakes, and puddings. The list price was $24.95, but we had a coupon for five dollars off. Is the food good? Not really, but it’s not bad, and it is all amazing, and the place was jammed. And looking around at the patrons, many of whom were on bus tours, I felt, in spite of my dad bod, almost thin.

          The restaurant we chose traced its origins to the 1920s, but it was not Amish. It served alcohol. We thought that we might try one of their specialty cocktails. However, our server told us that they were short on staff, and the restaurant did not have a bartender that night to mix drinks. We settled for a beer and a glass of wine. After we got our bill, I held it and waved over the server. She looked concerned, but I said that she had forgotten to charge us for the beer. She laughed and said that seldom had she been told something like that. When she came back with our amended bill, she told us that because we had been so honest, she took something off the beer price. We paid one dollar for the drink.

          And then the next morning we headed to our Pennsylvania cottage a three-hour drive away ending this journey. All in all, it was good trip.

          Any suggestions for the next one?

Snippets

I fell off my bike. I did not immediately check for bruises or broken bones. Instead, I did what any sensible person would do: I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed my clumsiness. No one had, so it was not a bad fall. But then I had to do the difficult thing at my age and get to a standing position. Of course, no one came to my assistance since there was no one around. I was happy about that.

As I was paying for a green tomato at the weekly Amish market, I asked Annie, who collects the money, if she had ever eaten a fried green tomato. She hesitated but then replied, “Yes.” I said, “Just one?” She answered, “There are better foods.” “Like what?” I asked. “Just about anything,” she responded.

I chatted with Amos before getting into my car. He asked where I lived, and I said that while I had a summer home in Pennsylvania, I had lived in Brooklyn for a long time. “City slicker,” he said with a smile. I asked if he had ever been to a city. He said only the outskirts and mentioned some New Jersey suburbs of New York. Even so, he was quite sure that he did not like cities: “Too much hustle and bustle. Too much activity. Too much rushing.” He told me that Annie was his sister and that she was eighteen and that he was sixteen. Helping Annie was a younger girl. Amos said that Emma was also a sister. He paused and looked as though he were adding and subtracting but couldn’t be sure of his calculations. Finally he said, “Emma is about twelve.”

Annie is a schoolteacher in her community’s one-room schoolhouse. She teaches in English. “It is required.” “Do you speak German at home?” I asked. “Pennsylvania Dutch.”

On the second half of the two-hour car trip, I scanned for radio stations. I stopped on one that was playing some sort of rock-style ballads. The music stopped, and a recorded voice said that there was good news. The man said that just because bad things happened, it did not mean you were a bad person and being punished by God. “Remember, Jesus was poor and suffered, too.” Although there is an assumption that Jesus did not have wealth, I don’t think anything in the Bible says that he was poor. Certainly nothing indicates that he had the distended belly of the malnourished. The announcer said that listeners should not assume they were bad people if they got a bad diagnosis or prognosis. Jesus, he again reminded us, went through bad things. Ya think? There was that crucifixion thing, but I am not aware that he was told that he had cancer or gall bladder disease.

This inspirational message was followed by five minutes of commercials. Pastor Wiggins in the last one stated that he was crossing the street, when a car turned onto Fourth Avenue without looking and nearly sent the religious man to Kingdom Come. He was put into an induced coma and suffered brain damage. After he got out of the hospital, a parishioner told Wiggins about this wonderful lawyer, who, for Wiggins’s medical expenses and pain and suffering, got him MONEY. The attorney was apparently a Gift from God that others could benefit from.

“Trust in God, her mother said, but never dance in a small boat.” Paulette Jiles, Simon the Fiddler.