“I grew up Amish…and for somebody that never was Amish, and goes Amish, I have no way of telling you what that guy would have to go through,” he laughs. “I imagine it would be pretty tough.”
That’s Swartzentruber Amishman Dennis Hershberger discussing Amish life, from a very nicely done 8-minute video showing us the community at Harmony, Minnesota.
In it, we ride along with a tour guide who takes us through the community, with a stop to chat with Dennis, owner of Countryside Furniture. He appears on camera (all but his face anyway), first discussing his business, then Amish life.
“The reason they come here for furniture is because they can meet the guy who actually builds it. They’re not used to our lifestyle, and they enjoy coming to the builder and getting to know me,” Dennis explains.
“I’m used to people asking me questions on how we live. And I can see why – they’re always wondering – I guess we don’t advertise too much the way we live. It’s getting to be quite a bit out there anymore. The more information you have on us, or the more that’s out there, the less unique we will be,” he says with a laugh.
Dennis’ grandparents were among the first to move to Harmony, in 1975. The first settlers here originally came from Wayne County, Ohio. He and his family came in 1985.
“The simple things for you – having a bathroom in the house – that would definitely be a big change. And not having a phone or electric. As far as you’d want to use a microwave, there is no way to quickly heat up a cup of coffee. Unless you’ve got hot water and a stove going, you can do it.”
Dennis is frank. “There is also a lot of things that I don’t envy you guys for – what you have…we do have our hectic – it seems hectic for us too – but you guys have another level on that one, on us.”
But I think he catches himself here, maybe not wanting to sound too critical. The film closes with this: “You are people just like we are – we’re all humans, and the older I get, the more I realize it.”
The rest of the short film, created by Matthew Bluhm, is professionally done with a lot of excellent visuals. I recommend watching it in full.