I just sat down this evening with a beaming blacksmith, a new father of his first little boy after many girls.

I’m doing interviews for a research project/book on Amish businesses.  ‘Eli’, my seventh stop of the day, graciously shared his wisdom with me.

After our short talk I flipped off the voice recorder and we continued chatting over a 9pm black coffee (I’ve noticed that many Amish prefer coffee black.  Between all the church services and interviews I’m acquiring a taste for it too).

Eli, a hulk of a man with meaty hands that swallow yours when you shake, casually mentioned that he’d survived lymphoma.

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Chemo was ‘a nightmare’.  Eli forced himself to work half his normal schedule the four months the treatment was going on.  He’s on his third year of remission, shoeing 10 horses a day.

I asked Eli if he’d ever heard of Lance Armstrong.  He had a vague idea, but not really.  I wasn’t surprised.  Eli is a bit of a Lance for his family.

‘The man upstairs’ as Eli put it, is why he got through.  I have no doubt about that.  Eli’s great physical shape and keeping his mind busy with work probably helped enable that too.

Eli’s an interesting guy.  He’s got lots of stories.  He claims he can blank out the screen of a cheap digital watch by putting it near his body, among other things.  I have no idea on that one. 

In any case I think we’ll keep in touch. 

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