We just finished spending three weeks in Lancaster County, PA. We enjoyed Amish country quite well. For me, it was an opportunity for a lot of reflection. When I was a young adult, a Mennonite bakery opened in Greenwood. Elsie, a forty year old unmarried Mennonite owned it. As was typical for me at the time, I walked in to buy something and walked out with a job. How I did not wind up in retail surprises me sometimes… Anyhow, Elsie. Elsie needed help and I wanted more work, so I learned to make doughnuts. I helped bake cakes and wash dishes. I mopped floors and waited on customers. I wore skirts with tennis shoes. I went to Mennonite church. I made a friend. Elsie and I were very good friends. We were so close that she was one of my bridesmaids when I married Joe. Much of who I am trying my best everyday to become is due to my friendship with Elsie. I’m not sure I realized that until we came to see the Amish. Elsie grew up Amish, in Ohio. Her family left the church to avoid the bedroom courtship that was commonly practiced at that time. They became Mennonites. Then by 40, Elsie was in Greenwood. She owned her own bakery. What courage!
I saw the little girls in Lancaster County. Elsie was just like them with her head out the back of the buggy. For me to even have the opportunity to have gotten to know her was a miracle that I never fully understood before I got to see the sense of community among the Amish.