Local Culture / The South / Uncategorized

The Amish community: A people separate but among us

A couple of weeks ago, my toddler and I got in the car and drove down the road to Fred’s, a local discount store.  It is similar to Big Lot’s (fondly and stubbornly still called Pic N Save by the nostalgic).

Intent on my shopping mission (to find a nightlight in a desperate attempt to find some solution to keep Gavin in his bed all night long), I almost didn’t notice it.

A horse and open-top buggy is parked in the back of a local strip mall parking lot.

I was surprised to see this horse and open carriage parked in the strip mall parking lot.

A horse was tied to a light post.  The horse was hitched (?) to an open carriage (or buggy?).  I don’t even know the proper vocabulary for horses and buggies.

Anyway, I’m not an expert about the local Amish or Mennonites, who are lumped together with the Amish, I think, in people’s minds.

There are large communities of Amish throughout Kentucky and Tennessee.  They are known for their hard work, their excellent craftmanship, and their produce.

People talk about getting fresh produce or other fresh food “from the Amish.”  I”m not sure where they go to get stuff “from the Amish.”  There is a little store on Kentucky State Route 100, halfway between Franklin and Scottsville, that we like to go to every so often.

It’s called Habegger’s Amish Market. They offer homemade bread for their deli sandwiches and homemade  soft serve ice cream during the summer.

The rest of the store contains canned and dry goods and seasonal produce.  And lots of homemade pies and cookies.

The Amish are also the center of an ongoing controversy in Kentucky regarding the orange triangles that are supposed to be put on their buggies.  There are frequent reports of accidents involving buggies and cars out on the back country roads.  These accidents usually happen at night, and are often fatal for the ones in the buggy.  The people in the car are also in danger, because the driver often goes off the road (on purpose to avoid the buggy or as part of the collision) and rolls the car or runs into something).

The bright color orange is anathema to many sects of Amish religion.  I’m not an expert on this, so I’m just relaying some of what I’ve read and heard from non-Amish locals.

Anyway, I had no contact with Amish in Southern California.  I saw Mennonites around every so often, but I’m fairly certain I didn’t see any Amish.  This is not to say there aren’t Amish communities in California.  It’s a large state.  What happens in So Cal is very different from the lifestyle of Central and Northern California.

Do you have an Amish story to share?  Please post a comment or email me at leahwendtnwrote@gmail.com or post something on my Facebook page.

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