One thing about living in the middle of an Amish community is I always find myself helping people find their way to the Amish person they’ve heard about who sells honey, bakes bread, does woodwork, builds log cabins... etc.... after they have gotten their directions, I usually get a few more questions. Questions based on the hard to believe idea that yes, they really do live like that....So I'll just answer a few here.
Questions I always get asked #1……. They all secretly have phones right?
No, my life would be ten times easier if they did BUT, no they really do not. During younger ages like 17-20 several do have rogue phones, they are not supposed to, but they do. But truly men and women older the 20(ish) do NOT have secret phones. They may have "work truck" phones, when they are the leader of a construction crew, but they must leave it in their work truck with the truck driver. They have phone shacks, usually within a mile from their homes that they can use whenever needed. It may be hard to fathom for those of us that have not been farther than 15 feet from a phone in twenty years, but they do not.
Question I always get asked #2….Do they have secret TV's or Radios?
The answer is a lot like the answer for the phones. No they do not, but younger people during the German word for "running around," rumspringa, which is generally seen as a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, do have things like have portable DVD players, portable radios, regular clothing, some even have cars. They are not supposed to and they must hide them, but when that part of life is behind them they either give it up or on occasion make the hard choice to sometimes leave their culture and join the "English" culture.
Question I always get asked #3…..Are they smelly?
Ok so this one bothers me, they are not the Clampitts, every other Tuesday and Pa goes first…they bathe… like regularly, wear deodorant, perfume, brush their teeth, etc. I rarely ever have anyone get into my van that doesn’t smell great. I mean they work on farms so occasionally there is a farm type smell that any farmer, Amish or otherwise, may have to deal with. But come on stop it already with that question.
What is most important is that no matter who I am talking to I steer them toward answers which incorporate a respectful attitude and an open mind. While their ways may be different than many others, they are mostly awesome and definitly my firends!