On Friday morning, October 26th, pieces of a silo and a tractor trailer truck carrying the belongings of our young Amish farming family arrived at Mountain Glory Farm. Then the first buggy arrived, the first of many. A group of 40-50 Amish people, men, women, children of all ages and a few infants, met at the farm to help unload the tractor trailer and welcome Enos and Barbara Miller to their new life in Maine. It was a glorious day, sunny, 60 degrees, just amazing for late October in the mountains of Maine.
I arrived at the farm house very early to set up coffee, water and cider and try to figure out how to document this farming adventure (without any Amish people in the photos) in order to share it with you. I decided on “before and afters”. So I took a photo of what the entrance of the farm looked like with just the silo pieces. But within a few minutes buggy after buggy arrived and all I could photograph were the first two horses that were tied up in the orchard. Then the camera was put away.
There were people everywhere, food everywhere, diapers being changed, lessons in how to flush the toilet…..how to remove the coffee pots from the electric coffee makers. Then the 50′ trailer doors were flung open and the real spectacle began. Out came buggies in pieces, then pieces of wagons, tables and chairs, more tools, bridles, plows, crates of dishes, huge barrels of canned food, more buggy parts, matressses, strange antique farming things, clothing….
All the food to feed the whole group had been brought, carefully packed, in baskets, coolers and boxes by the women. Everything was laid out on the kitchen table ready to go. Then Mrs. Gingerich, Barbara’s mother, came into the kitchen and said that it was such a beautiful day, why not have a picnic? Without a blink – every woman and child in the kitchen picked up all the food, dishes, everything and took it outside. The women rummaged around in the ever growing mountain of Enos and Barbara’s belongings until they unearthed their kitchen table. Then they found planks and crates to set up makeshift benches. Within a matter of minutes we were all sitting in the sunshine enjoying a marvelous picnic lunch.
Everywhere I looked that morning I saw images I yearned to share with you but no photos are allowed. Shall I share a few in words? Imagine 2 little Amish boys, probably 4 and 7, in their blue clothes and little straw hats wrestling with 3 huge milk cans, full of something, that are the same height and diameter as the boys. They huffed and they puffed until they got them up onto a small old green wagon with iron wheels. Not for a moment did they turn around and look for someone’s approval. They simply went on to the next chore smiling all the while.
Then there was the line of young men rolling wagon wheels and buggy wheels, wheels of all diameters out of the trailer, down a ramp and out into the field. It looked like a circus act with 6 boys keeping dozens of wheels rolling and rolling and rolling out of that truck. Clearly they have done this before but it was quite a sight for me.
The last observation and probably the most wonderful for me was that with all those men working together and all the women working together there was not a single “directive”, not a single “type A” personality rearing up to tell everyone what to do and how to do it. No one ever got frustrated, distressed, grumpy, no knickers in a twist, nothing. When I shared this story with my friends in Stonington they agreed that even our close group of girl friends would never have been able to accomplish all that without disagreeing on how to do it “better”, “correctly”, or “faster”. So this was my first Amish experience, a lesson in harmonious living.
Let me also add before closing that I do fully understand that the Amish are human, have frailities, weaknesses, etc. But I will give them enormous credit for keeping those foibles well under wraps, out of sight and the smiles they shared with one another sure looked genuine to me. ”Share the road. Share the load. Just share………..” Stay tuned.