So far:

  • Seeing the Christian Aid meatpacking operation in action. A mobile canning station in a converted tractor trailer travels across North America (13 states and 2 provinces, I was told) stopping in communities (often Plain) where volunteers contribute labor and supplies to prepare and can meat for humanitarian aid purposes. The program has heavy Amish involvement in places like Lancaster and Holmes Counties. Yesterday operations were set up at a local Amish butcher’s. Crews starting as early as 4 am took turns cutting, canning, labeling and packing cans of beef and turkey for donation. There were probably close to a hundred Amish in attendance while I was there; food concessions had been set up to accomodate them. I took my turns at packing and stacking and appreciated how well run the operation seemed to be. The Amish volunteers worked with good humor, ribbing each other when someone slowed down the line. That someone was me a couple times but it wasn’t enough to get me fired. All in all a nice example of how Amish quietly support charity outreach.
  • Sitting in on Donald Kraybill’s Amish, Mennonite and Brethren history class at the Young Center at E-town College. It was a very nice group and I enjoyed sharing a little on Amish business and this blog. Prof. Kraybill also shared a copy of the letter Jacob Gingerich sent to KY lawmakers laying out the Swartzentruber case against the SMV triangle.
  • Ping pong.  It’s a good game for the winter and popular here.  You’ll have tables in basements (which often double as children’s rec rooms) or set up anywhere there’s space, as we did in the living room the other night.  In a testament to Amish frugality that table was homemade but played great. Unfortunately, I didn’t. I think my two day record stands at 0-5.
  • A brief visit to the Lebanon County Amish settlement.  I didn’t see Richard’s favorite grocery store but left well fed thanks to John’s skills on the grill.
  • Saying goodbye.  In an odd twist of the usual course of things, it was me waving farewell as Amish friends left on a long distance trip south.  I didn’t envy the 24 hour train ride ahead of them, but wondered how much sleeping they planned on doing anyway.


Amish-made cheese

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