Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Aftermath

I'm home! I missed everybody, but I have to admit, it was kind of nice to basically be offline for a few days.

Thanksgiving was pretty much uneventful, though before bedtime my mom told me a story that really weirded me out, and made me thankful to be on this earth, really. I've got so many family stories that just HAVE to go into some fiction at some point. Gotta love that gene pool for inspiration, I tell ya...

On Black Friday, my mom and stepdad thought it would be a good idea to take a road trip to Lancaster, PA, to hit outlets there and then drive around and eat dinner. No, I didn't think outlets on Black Friday were a great idea. (Nor was getting up at 7am. I wasn't very gracious.) However, it wasn't as bad as I thought, though really, we didn't shop for long. Most of the stores were too crowded to really shop comfortably. I don't particularly like shopping till dropping even when they're not crowded, and I dislike crowds. I did manage to buy one Christmas gift. So, now I have all of two Christmas gifts ready and the rest to still buy!

Then we drove around, hit a farmers market, and went to a "family-style" restaurant. Some of you may know that Lancaster has a heavy Amish population. So much so, that the tourist schtick there is pretty much "Amish Country." Certain stretches, everything is Amish this, and Amish that, as people have capitalized off the Amish. (Then again, though, I guess it works out well for the Amish, as they can sell their wares, like furniture, quilts, produce, etc.) There were horses and buggies everywhere. I saw a few black-clad Amish children booking around fast on tiny scooters. And an Amish couple at a WaWa pump, patiently filling a container with kerosene together. I felt bad to stare, but was rather fascinated.

Most fascinating, I think, was seeing some putting the fields to sleep. Men standing on a plow with 6-8 horse power -- literally, horse power. And that was the part that made me think... wow, that's a snapshot of how our ancestors used to live, before machinery and agribusiness changed the face of farming. Houses with no electricity. Long, long clotheslines, up to the highest peak of the barn buildings, with a pulley system to reel 'em back in, full of black and monochrome clothes blowing in the wind. And, again, the dozens of horse and buggies sharing the roads with autos. (I saw one guy with the most magnificent black horse, trotting at breakneck speed down a side road -- I figured he was the Amish equivalent to the guy with the Porsche.)

As much as I hated staring and being such a tourist, and felt tremendously guilty, it just seemed utterly amazing that they have managed to survive without being assimilated into modern culture. And although I can't imagine that lifestyle, I have to say good for them, and I hope they can continue their quiet rebellion from what the world deems "progress," as people should be free to choose their own course, as odd as the rest of us might find it. In the end, though, of course I'm grateful all that I have, as a citizen of the modern world.

Thanks for reading,



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