I had my afternoon all planned out. I finished sewing my Robin On The Hay Bale Pothodlers this morning. I’d spend the afternoon upstairs in the guest room packing up my Potholders to be mailed out tomorrow, then answering my emails and if I still had time doing my books.
I was closing up my studio when I heard the dogs bark and looked out my window to see two people walking past the farm.
I’ve been watching the Amish wagons drive past the house for a few months now, so I’m almost used to them. But it was the first time I’ve seen our new neighbors walking down Route 22.
Like the horse-drawn carriages, seeing the man and woman was like looking back in time. The woman’s black bonnet and cape, and the man’s straw hat and blue homemade clothes were iconic.
The next time I looked Jon was with our neighbors, Barbara and Mosie in the backyard. It’s Good Friday, a holiday for them, so they came for a visit.
My mind is still reeling from the time we spent together. I’m going to need some time to process it all. I think mostly I’m astounded by how different we are from each other, how we come from such completely different cultures and yet how comfortable and easy we were with each other.
We have more in common than I ever would have imagined.
I think it has something to do with how direct and open both Barbara and Moise are. There is no pretense, no judgment.
They wanted to see my studio first then we moved on to the barns and the land. Moise appreciated the construction of the buildings, the horse stalls in the barn and was curious about our sheep.
We talked about the point well, water that was as close as ten feet under the ground. And Barbara explained how the pump in their kitchen would be gravity-driven.
I was eager to show them the old cold storage room in our basement and the dry straight and sturdy stone foundation. They appreciated how the woodshed was attached to the house.
Jon gave them our phone number so their friends and family could call us, anytime day or night if someone they knew died. Moise told us we would need to let them know of a death in the community as soon as we heard about it so they could get the next train or bus to the funeral.
“Even if it’s three in the morning, beep your horn or bang on the door,” he said. “And get all the information on the person written down on a piece of paper that you can give to me.” So many people have the same name in their community unless they know all the details, they couldn’t be sure who had died and be able to get to the funeral in time.
And there is no one to call back if the information is wrong or incomplete.
They spoke about death, not unemotionally, but with the same ease and acceptance as the rest of our conversation.
Towards the end of our visit, Barbara asked me how old I was and if I had any children. She said she was 50 and had 13 children and a number (I don’t remember exactly) of grandchildren. When I told her that I was 57 and didn’t have any children she called me a “Spring Chicken.”
It was past 6pm when Jon drove them home. All my work plans were pushed aside by a visit from our new neighbors and just maybe new friends.
The differences between us are vast and yet the similarities are on a level that makes me want to know them better.
As we left my studio earlier in the visit, Jon and Moise walked ahead of us toward the barn but Barbara stopped and turned to me. “What a nice place to have all to yourself,” she said. I said I guessed she didn’t have a lot of time alone. She smiled. An age-old understanding between us.
9 thoughts on “The Unexpected Afternoon. A Visit From Our New Neighbors”
Nice writeup, but I believe the Amish name is Moise, not Mosie.
Thanks Kelly. I’ll fix that.
WOW, Maria, what an treasure of an afternoon you had. We would all be better to welcome and accept our human, but different neighbors into our lives and understanding.
Wouldn’t that be a good thing Marilyn.
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” — Maya Angelou
That’s nice Jill, thanks.
That’s really beautiful!
I loved this, Maria. I think you and the Amish are going to enrich each others’ lives. I look forward to more of your stories about the Amish!
I hope so Karla.