Vol. 2, No. 7
Quite honestly, you don’t "have" to care. But a lot of people seem to.
Movies? Kingpin, Amish Grace, For Richer or Poorer, and the Granddaddy of them all, Witness. Television? The Amish: Not to Be Modern, The Amish: A People of Preservation, Amish in the City, Amish: Out of Order, the hideous Amish Mafia. Broadway Musicals? Plain and Fancy. Songs? Weird Al Yankovic’s Amish Paradise. Books? Too numerous to count!
Gleaning from the list above, it's clear that Amish sells. Many of us are fascinated with the Amish- although some of the works referenced above are much truer and more respectful to the Amish than others—some are just goofs. Many people don’t know much about the Amish, and still many more have been told myths.
In my 24-plus years spent visiting and living beside the Amish, I’ve learned that when I start to talk about my Amish friends, people from all different backgrounds and walks of life want to hear more. At the last party I attended, my host asked me to tell some of her guests my story about how I met the Amish. You can find it in my blog Traditional Colors: My Adventures in Amish Culture under the article Where the Wind Takes You. As I started to get into my story, I noticed something happened: the room was silent. Everyone was listening. For those of you who are old enough to remember, I felt as if I were starring in an old E.F. Hutton commercial! People asked so many questions afterward that I had to beg off. I didn’t want to monopolize the party!
One thing is sure: millions of people, Americans and others, beat a well-trodden path to Amish tourist destinations each year to learn more about them, eat their food, buy their crafts, and perhaps meet a few. The Amish hold a particular fascination for the non-Amish world. It could just be that tourists perceive them as being old-fashioned and quaint. Perhaps it’s because they live separately from the modern world and perhaps because they sincerely attempt to live Godly lives. For those of us just struggling to reduce our daily stress in today’s progressive society, that can be a siren’s call.
They’ve historically been an agrarian people, but available farmland has shrunk and grown more expensive. Many of them have resorted to adopting off-the-farm professions, such as construction or crafting, while others start businesses that cater to the Amish lifestyle. For instance, many Amish retail stores serve their own communities. One example: firms that convert electronic appliances to Amish-approved energies, like propane-run refrigerators or air powered sewing machines.
They are known for their hard work and the quality of their craftsmanship, culminating in beautifully made furniture, quilts and quilted items, wagons, delicious food, and much more: the merchandise that we carry in our online store, Almost Amish.
The Amish’s adherence to their way of life despite all the modernization around them is a mystery to most. Satisfy your curiosity about this reserved society with me. Along the way, you can enjoy their products should you desire. And maybe someday, you can plan a visit!
Amish Country News: http://www.amishnews.com/amisharticles/amishinmedia.htm