Over the past two years, I’ve had occasion to become involved with a group of traditional Amish in our county. They’ve done some work for me, and I’ve done some work for them, and it’s been a delightful association.
When I travel to the community, I’m always struck by the slower pace of their lifestyle, and the healthy, homemade nature of their tablefare. Would I like my children to have natural foods grown from my garden? Sure, and we do that for as much of the year as we can. (And the rest of the year, as we’ve canned.)
Of course, I also see that the men and women work long hours to accomplish the same tasks we can do in minutes, thanks to our machinery, grocery stores, and dare I say it, Wal-Mart. We visited one day when it was noodle-making time. Two long tables were covered in white paper and small piles of hand-cranked noodles graced every few inches, drying in the sun. The Cabana Boy and I were both fascinated with the small pasta making device and just watched in amazement. Could we do that? Sure. But where would we find time for so much else that has taken over our lives?
(We are growing our own sprouts and baking our own granola. It’s a start.)
Our family is too hopelessly tech-i-fied at this point, I’m afraid, to ever consider a switch to the Amish life. The Cabana Boy’s head would explode away from his cable modem line, and I’m so entrenched in the word processor and Internet at this point, it’s the only place my girls can find me on a regular basis. A life without cartoons for my scripted ones? Perish the thought.
Our friends in the community are generous to a fault. Whenever we stop out, we never leave without a basket of fresh fruit, or a crisp cookie for the children. Imagine our surprise recently when we uncovered the plate sent home with us to reveal–pizza?
Now I have to tell you this was no Papa John’s stuffed crust extravaganza, piled high with gourmet toppings. But a thin bread crust, topped with a tomato sauce and homemade cheese? What else could it be?
Pondering this earth-shaking revelation as we headed home, we considered what other modern wonders might still be hidden behind those painted Amish doors. Are there hand-whipped mango-peach protein pack smoothies shared by giggling girls in the larders? Do the elders sit on the porch of an evening by candlelight with hand ground lattes and biscotti? Are there…briefcases?
Some things we’ll never know. It could be better that way.