Hello again, Patricia Davids here, with another tidbit to satisfy a little of your curiosity about the Amish life and to issue a heart-felt word of warning. For any who’ve ever visited, lived, or driven through Amish country, I’m sure you’ve seen an Amish buggy or two. Seeing a horse drawn buggy would probably make you think of the by-gone days before the invention of the automobile. Today’s Amish buggies are not as stuck in the stone ages, as some might think. While most buggies look similar with little variance between Amish communities across the country other than color differences. What’s on the inside and underneath can vary widely, depending on each community’s set of rules. Some can be minimally adorned to provide the barest of comfort, and others are elegantly furnished with plush upholstery and electronic gadgets. Usually the fancier buggies adorned with some of today’s technological perks, belong to the younger members of the community who have more freedom until their baptism.
In some states with larger Amish communities, battery powered headlamps and tail-lights are installed as a safety measure to make them more visible to motorists. The inner workings of buggies can also be very similar to today’s cars. Lightweight metal leaf-springs for suspension, front or rear wheel brakes attached to a foot pedal inside the buggy, and steel or rubber tires are just a few similarities. Again, it all depends on the rules of each community as to how ‘fancy’ a buggy can be. While most communities have stuck with black buggies, there are some districts that have adopted other colors. Depending on where you are buggies can also be found in gray, brown, white and yes, even yellow though only a small percentage of those can be found. It really all boils down to what each district’s Bishop and community allow.
After my recent travels to some of the largest Amish communities in the U.S., I was floored by the sheer number of Amish buggies traveling the very same roads and highways that I traversed in my car. Coming from Kansas, where the Amish usually travel by tractor, I wasn’t used to sharing the road with horse and buggy. In some areas the shoulder was wide enough to accommodate the buggies, but on other two-lane roads it can be quite a squeeze maneuvering around them. I personally drove much, much lower than the posted speed-limit because it’s quite the heart stopper to crest a hill only the find the backend of a buggy in front of you. Most of the other vehicles I noted from the area drove much less carefully, as they seemed used to sharing the road with Amish buggies. Some even seemed to forget that they traveled through Amish country, laying on their horns as they sped past the slower vehicles, startling horses and probably the passengers as well. One thing all horse drawn buggies have in common is their deceptively slow speed. So, when traveling through any Amish community, please, please, be vigilant and use extreme caution when you encounter our Amish neighbors. Collisions between cars and buggies usually have deadly consequences. Wooden buggies and horses made of flesh and bone are no match for our modern automobiles.
Drive carefully no matter where you go.
USA Today Bestselling author Patricia Davids grew up on a Kansas farm with four brothers. After college she began a wonderful career as a nurse. In 1973 Pat wrote a letter to a lonely sailor. Little did she know her talent with words would bring her love, marriage and motherhood.
An avid reader, Pat longed to write a book, but put her dream on hold as she raised a family and worked in an NICU. It wasn’t until 1996 that she began writing seriously. Today, Pat enjoys crafting emotionally satisfying romances where love and faith bring two people together forever.