Tag Archives: amish

Stalking the Amish with a side of Coleslaw

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Written in 2009
 The History

Anyone who has had conversations with me knows that I have always dreamed of living on the edge of some Amish village. I have had nothing but wonderful thoughts of baking cherry pies and having an Amish husband as long as he looked like any of the men in the film “Witness”. My life would joyously be filled with baking, building, and birthing babies.

Did I say birthing babies?  (insert car brakes here)
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Okay, let’s just stick with the baking, building, and maybe the odd tending of cattle.
I started my personal Amish education by owning a black Amish hat, and wearing it to certain functions. To this day I am still able to make mean funnel cakes and great corn chowder. I watched Amish “chick-cu-mentaries” such as “Witness” and “For Richer or Poorer” for continuing research of the Amish culture. After thirty years of dreaming I decided that my only solution was to make a field trip to Intercourse, Pa.

A few years ago I journeyed to the beloved town of Intercourse, and was overjoyed to see the ruts of the carriage wheels imprinted in the roads. I breathed in the fresh air that hinted of just the right amount of cow manure, saw the overpriced gift stores, and fondled the quilts. Sharing a restaurant dining table with a non-related family, I consumed 4000 calories of food at once “family style”.
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Not content with the “Disney” part of Intercourse I walked along some of the side roads to “be with the people”, as they say. I saw an Amish woman peacefully hanging laundry with her two young daughters at her side. I waved, and the little girls waved back. The mother shielded her eyes from the sun to see if she knew the woman with the flaming red hair and ankle length black lace dress. Sensing I was nothing but trouble, she herded her little girls inside the house, laundry and all.

I slowly walked back into town and was elated, yet sad. I was finally in the Amish paradise I had longed for, but knew I would never fit in. Sadly I realized that my dreams of living among them would now simply consist of forever just wearing a hat.
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The Reality

Every Labour Day weekend I still stalk the Amish. Those would be the innocent ones that get on the Greyhound bus in Watertown N.Y. For years I have gotten on that bus and seen the same Amish folks and have always smiled and said hello. Generally, they put their hands over their face and shun me but I never give up.

Last year the oldest one, sensing I would not stop until someone said something, said hello and encouraged the others to greet me also. Their men folk were busy standing outside smoking, drinking Sprite, and chatting up a middle age lass in flip flops. Yes, I have noted that they smoke, drink Sprite, and they love Subway. I have documented each thing they do even though I don’t understand the Amish language.
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On one ride to Syracuse I studied one of the younger Amish men that looked nothing like any of the men from “Witness”. He had a badly cut Buster Brown hair cut with Bette Davis bangs. His beard was thick, and I could smell the aroma of “eau de dairy” from my seat three rows down.

Once in Syracuse I sat behind them and tried to snap pictures of them. All the women had the very same black tote bag trimmed in silver tack heads. One of the women had an odd brown briefcase, and I wondered what kind business she had. Turns out this Amish woman was actually in the “business” of lunch.

The brown briefcase ended up being the ultimate picnic hamper. She had hand covered the interior with bright flowered fabric, and I wondered if Martha Stewart had ever thought of such a thing. Utensils and napkins were fitted carefully into the top pockets, while the bottom of the case held dishes wrapped in a handmade dishtowel.

She placed a large table cloth on one of the chairs and filled it with homemade salami, bread, a fresh picked tomato, and a small container of coleslaw. I was amazed that the Amish did not worry about botulism like I do.

I sat there mesmerized, and the more she ate, the more I craved her coleslaw.  Attempting to make verbal progress with the Amish woman I went up to her and asked if her recipe for coleslaw was the same as mine.  I proudly smiled and said the recipe came from one from my cookbooks called “Cooking with the Horse & Buggy People”.

This time I did not get any smiles or a greeting.  All I got was the famous shun and I was now back to square one.

Want to see more? Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

The Outhouse is Trending Again!

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“Sitting on the table was a loaf of bread and a huge jar of communal peanut butter that passed for lunch. Did I also mention the warm milk- fresh from the udder of their cow? I do believe I declined all of it, despite the insistence of my mother that I share the meal. It wasn’t the muddy kids that scared me nor the sheer loudness of the place; it was quite frankly their outhouse. There is nothing worse than having to go do your business in an open vented shack, with a Simpsons Sears catalog nailed to the wall glaring at you. I vowed that if we ever went there again I would not even venture near the ‘Sears booth’.
 
That Christmas Eve, my mother thought it a good idea to visit, as the family was going to move that summer. My father, being the smart one, refused to go, which I thought was a brilliant decision. My mother, on the other hand, convinced a neighbour to drive us up that slippery, steep mountain road; a drive I thought was going to be the death of us all.
 
Because our Ma Kettle was French Canadian, we were to participate in a traditional ‘Christmas Eve Reveillion’. French Canadians do most of their celebrating on Christmas Eve, and have a feast that boggles the mind.
 
There was the traditional tortiere (meat pie), ham, baked beans and a Bouche de Noel (Christmas log cake). One of the younger girls pointed proudly to a black cast iron pot, simmering away on top of the wood stove. She told me she had helped her mother make the traditional ‘ragout de pate de cochon’, which in English means a stew made out of one their recently deceased piggies. I really wanted to enjoy this meal but I just couldn’t. The vision of that horrible outhouse kept running through my mind.
 
If it had been horrible in the summer- what was it going to be now, with four feet of fresh snow on the ground? Would my bottom become stuck to the rim like a fresh wet tongue on a steel post? Would the pages of the Simpsons Sears catalog be cold?  I made the decision that I was not going to eat or drink anything. There was no way my fanny was going into that place, even if they did put a small Christmas tree on top.
 
After dinner the kids decided to go outside and build a big fire and toast marshmallows on sticks. The boys were classic examples of every bad kid you have ever seen and they were not afraid of anything.  The fire suddenly got out of control and it all went downhill from there.  The oldest son, called Twinkie, had a stick engulfed in flames, and instead of throwing it back into the fire he tossed it into the air. Where did that flaming stick land? You guessed it!
 
It hit the Christmas tree that was perched on top of the outhouse and that was all she wrote. The tree immediately burst into flames and the boys cheered loudly and enthusiastically.  No one ran into the house for help and not one of them seemed scared. We all just stood there and watched the tree and the outhouse burn under the twinkling stars, while the people inside the house sang ‘Silent Night’ in drunken unison.
 
As burning pieces of the Simpsons Sears catalogs rose up into the sky, I had a feeling that once their parents learnt what happened, the rest of the night was not going to be silent at all. Twinkie was probably going to make some noise once his father got a hold of him. For my part, I was just glad the outhouse was finally gone and hoped Santa would bring them all a real toilet for Christmas.”
An excerpt from my story Twinky Stinky Little Star —Menopausal Woman From the Corn
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You remember Kevie Mitchell who sells the she-sheds? Well the outhouse is coming back into style. God help us all! Yup, the outhouse is selling like crazy, and I just about died when I saw it. They are also built by the Amish in upstate NY. Those guys know what they shovel ahh.. build! Not only is there is a single unit– it now comes in a double wide. His motto is: “The family that poops together stays together!”
Me? I have nothing to say–just nothing. Nothinggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
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Get your she-sheds and your “little shacks out back” for your lovely ladies here in Carleton Place!

You can see them on Hwy. 7,  just beside the Gourmet Restaurant. All Amish built sheds and Gazebos. The 10 x 24 cottage delivered to your location for under $ 6,000. Isn’t that worth it guys? They have sheds to suit everyone’s needs, all custom built to your liking with the custom quality workmanship of the Amish community. Stop in and say HI to Kevin! AND NO I DO NOT want an outhouse.. I was mortified as it was when I saw them hahaha

*****Let’s Not forget Nikki Laframboise’s privies either at the old Storyland soon to be Elements Luxury Tented Camp and Spa!

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

Song Dedicated to Margie Leary