Sunday, December 31, 2006


[posted by Callimachus]

I live in a place where one-room schoolhouses, farmers' markets, harness shops, and water-driven flour mills are not historical artifacts but living institutions. People who visit here to see this and spend a weekend come away with the impression that there are two communities, separate and unintegrated, living in different time frames. But this is a false idea. A grist mill from the 1850s burned down a few weeks ago. It ground grain for Amish farmers, but when it burned the giant sausage/hot dog plant on the west end of the city had to shift its operations because it, too, was a customer.

At the farmers' market where we do our food shopping every week, my wife, during her pregnancy, struck up an acquaintance with the young Amish girl who works at the stand where we buy our apples in season. The girl's sister was pregnant, too. When my wife went in there the other day for the first time with our newborn, she asked the Amish girl how her sister was doing. Turns out she had delivered, too.

Then the Amish girl says, "Want to see a picture?" and whips out her cell phone.