One of the first things I wanted to do when I went home to Alabama for our annual visit this summer was to travel to Tennessee to the Amish settlement in Ethridge. And I am so glad I did. For once the members of my family got to see first hand about the Amish and I got to visit a settlement that was ‘new’ to me.
I also planned to blog about this great experience, but realized when I sat down to tell you about it, that it was going to take more than one post. So I’m taking this in stages. First up, our wagon tour…
What a treat that we got to travel through part of the settlement in a horse drawn wagon! The young man who drove us down those dusty back roads was very knowledgeable about the Amish. There were certain houses he took us to who were friendly to the English, or non-Amish people. We got to walk around one man’s wood shop where he made everything entirely out of cedar. I so wanted to bring one of the big wooden porch swings home with me. Ah, well, maybe next year.
We also got to see two very small girls take the family’s lunch scraps out to feed the goats. The girls couldn’t have been more than three and four, but they lugged the big five gallon bucket to the fence and called for the goats in their Pennsylvania Dutch. We were just driving away when the goats came running into the pen to be fed.
The Amish of Ethridge are very conservative, not even allowing their children to have a rumspringa or ‘run around’ time. They also would not let us take pictures of anything. And I mean anything. But how crazy must they think we are that we want to take pictures of their laundry. Or their wood-burning water heater. Or their endless rows of short popcorn stalks.
But being so conservative also means no phone shanties or phones in the barn in case of an emergency, no caution triangles on the back of their buggies, and very little interaction with the outside community.
Still, the ones that we did get to visit with were very friendly, welcoming us into their world if only for a very brief time.
For more about the Amish settlement in Ethridge, TN, go to http://amishamerica.com/the-amish-of-ethridge-tennessee/