The Amish are often referred to as the Plain people, meaning they’re separated from the world and live a simple life. But as anyone who has ever been to Amish country for a visit, that “plain life” attracts tourists from all over.
On one hand, in a world that seems so gaga over technology and the latest and greatest of the moment, the fascination with people who dress plain, eat plain, and live plain seems a bit odd. Yet, on the other hand, it makes all the sense in the world. Sometimes, when everything around us seems to be moving so fast, it’s nice to hold on to a bit of innocence—a taste of simpler times and purer values.
That innocence really hit home for me a few months back while flipping through a copy of The Budget. For those of you who might not be familiar with it, The Budget is a print newspaper that serves the Amish and Mennonite communities through the United States and beyond.
If I placed a copy of The Budget in your hands and asked you to take a quick look, you’d see what appears to be a regular newspaper. Same paper, same print. You’d even see a masthead across the top, bearing the name of the paper. But really, that’s about where the similarities end.
Because unlike its English counterparts, The Budget exists (and has existed for many, many years) to connect people and communities with their brethren in other parts of the country. This is done by scribes—Amish and Mennonites who record special moments and happenings from their district/town and submit it to the newspaper for publication.
The “news” they share is mostly of an informative nature—where church was held that week, who had a baby, what the weather has been like, etc. Fun little tidbits about friends and kin in other states they don’t have access to via the computer. In many ways, these entries are almost “Facebook” like.
My intention, when I pulled out my copy, was just to get a feel for the paper so I could add a little flavor to a particular scene. But once I started reading some of the submitted stories, I found myself smiling so much, I had to keep going.
So I thought I’d share a few entries I came across in the hopes they make you smile, too…
On Thursday, May 12th, Mary Miller and Lucinda Yoder left for a 10-day vacation at Outer Banks with some more girls. The one girl left without her purse, but had a good friend along who helped her out. Trust she has an enjoyable trip even though she left moneyless.
May 16—Cool damp morning with temperature at 45 degrees. We are getting showers almost every day with very little sunshine. Farmers are patiently waiting to do spring field work with very little corn planted yet. Gardens are being planted between showers.
Andrew, 8 year old son of Ammon J. Millers, jumped off of the trampoline and broke both bones in his left arm. The boys said he can shoot the pellet gun with his one arm so he’ll be alright.
And on and on it goes, with some 49 states represented (provided a scribe from their area submits) across four sections of the paper. There are some ads sprinkled throughout the paper, as well as auction notices, shared recipes, and death notices, too.
Perhaps what I enjoyed most about reading my copy was the image it created in my head. An image of an Amish family gathering around the table after dinner to hear stories of kin in other parts of the country… Missing them, yet enjoying the momentary connection despite the miles between them…
Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.