This part of northern Indiana is a stronghold of the Amish people, and wherever you travel around the communities of Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, and the surrounding area, you are likely to see Amish women in their simple handmade dresses, their heads covered in white kapps, and men wearing black straw hats or stocking caps.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the Amish people, including that they will not ride in automobiles, use electricity, or telephones. Drive anywhere around here and you will encounter horse drawn buggies and wagons on the roadways.
But, while they do not drive automobiles, the Amish will ride in them, and they frequently hire a non-Amish driver to take them to restaurants, stores, or other places too far to conveniently reach by buggy.
Drive any Amish back road in this region, and you will see small white structures in some yards that look like an enclosed telephone booth, and that is exactly what they are! Their religion does not permit a telephone in the house, and the “phone haus” is built for function, not comfort. There is no heat or cooling, and usually no chair. This is a place to do business, not sit and gab! If an Amish person advertises something for sale, they will include the telephone number and instructions to “call between 7 and 8 a.m.” or whatever time suits their schedule.
Yesterday, we drove out to Nappanee to visit with our friend Carylye Lehman at Focal Wood Products. Carlyle is a fantastic craftsman who built the desk units in our Winnebago motorhome last year, and he has a fast growing reputation with RVers for top quality custom wood furniture.
The tools in Carlyle’s shop are all powered by electricity, courtesy of a huge 40 KW diesel generator. So as you can see, while the Amish do avoid many of the “modern” conveniences of our way of life, they have embraced some technology to give them the ability to conduct business.
We have also found it interesting to see Amish buggies lined up at the drive through window at McDonald’s, or to note such goodies as Pepsi and potato chips in their shopping carts at WalMart.
All day yesterday the wind blew hard, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour. If the wind lets up a little bit, we plan to leave Elkhart Campground today and start making our way eastward toward the Hershey (Pennsylvania) Thousand Trails preserve, where we will have a vendor booth at the Hershey RV Show next week.
It’s about 600 miles to our destination, and we’ll do it in two days. I have no idea where we’ll be tonight, but there is always an RV friendly WalMart, a truck stop, or someplace else to get off the road for the night.
Thought For The Day – Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after.