Amish people waiting for a ride…

Amish Waiting

Taken in Wayne County, Ohio.  Many Amish hire “taxis”; some, when available, ride buses or trains.

There is, of course, a third transport option for Amish: they feed you, you drive them.  I have been participating in this for some time now.  But I only recently learned the (un)official name of this Amish-English program: “Meals for Wheels”.

This photo reminds me of waiting on a ride when I was a young man. Of course, once you get that license, waiting around is for the birds (so a teen thinks, at least).

This also made me think about how little we tolerate waiting nowadays, when everything is deliverable overnight, or better, downloaded instantly. And with plastic in hand, we don’t even need to wait to save up the money.

How often do you exercise your patience muscle?

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    1. Erik,
      Interesting, I never knew that i was a “meals for wheels” driver! I am going to Angelica, NY this Saturday and will no doubt take someone to town. Have a great day.

      1. In Meals for Wheels...

        …who makes out better on the deal? 🙂

    2. Patience

      Patience is indeed in short supply in today’s world. We want everything NOW, if not sooner.

      1. Forsythia,
        I have a business and today’s customers want “free, perfect and NOW”. It’s easy to do two at a time, but I have a problem with all three at once. Have a nice day.

    3. Carolyn B

      It’s totally off topic but I like the 2-story house in the background.

    4. kim amundsen

      Me I have to save up for what ever I want too many are spoiled with credit cards or buying what they don’t need.

    5. Erin

      Great topic! I struggle with patience and living in the moment. I work from home so on the weekends I have a strong desire to travel (within the state). I admit, that I have a hard time truly enjoying the moment as I’m always thinking about the next adventure I want to take. It is something I am working on and this was a nice reminder.

      Waiting for things we really want is challenging. You’re absolutely right that if we want it we buy it, regardless if we have the money or not. Delayed gratification is tough.

      1. Erin

        I do have to say that in Kindergarten they did a lesson on Needs and Wants. Great lesson!

        1. That would also make a great remedial adult course Erin.

          1. Erin
    6. Don Curtis


      I read this post to my son, Mark. He said that being Amish helps you build patience. He said that to be “geduldig” is seen as a very positive virtue. In today’s USA everybody is accustomed to instant gratification of evrything. With the Amish, not so much. If I want to go away I go out to the garage, turn the key in my car, away I go. Well, granted, at ninety it takes me longer to get out to the garage then it used to but, nevermind. For the Amish they have to make sure the horse is in the barn or they have to call him/her in. Then they have to curry and brush them. Then they have to put their harness on. They have to push the buggy out. They have to lead the horse out and hitch him/her up to the buggy. Then they are ready to go at a speed of 8 or 9 miles per hour. I don’t know how long it takes Mark to harness and hitch the horse. I would just guess about twenty minutes to a half hour. The Amish don’t have e-mail. They wait on snail-mail. Oh my!


      I drive I-696 everyday, 5 days a week – if that isn’t enough to teach you patience, nothing is! 🙂

      1. Theresa


        Michigan Mary, that’s why I avoid freeways especially I 696. Everyone is in too much of a hurry these days. I have clients that want their dogs done NOW (I groom dogs). they call at the last minute & then when I can’t fit them in they get mad. Oh well, call sooner & you won’t have that problem. I for one admire the Amish & the patience they have.

        1. Theresa!

          I am not wanting to hijack this thread, but I have to ask – Theresa, do you live in Michigan? It would be great to find a fellow stater on this list!

          1. Theresa

            Mich. Mary I was born & raised in Mi. Feel free to contact me off list if that’s ok with Erik

            1. Michigan Mary

              HOW TO CONTACT ME

              Theresa, or any other “regular” on the list for that matter, you can contact me at I would love to get know others in Michigan and help anyone out that wants to know more about Holmes County (my stomping grounds as a youngster)….
              Michigan Mary.

        2. Linda

          Theresa, maybe you felt like telling your customer, “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

          1. Theresa

            Linda, they wouldn’t care at all. That’s the trouble with a lot of people these days, they think the world revolves around THEM!! Half the time I try to explain something to them & they either can’t/won’t comprehend it or try to put the blame on me. Oh well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. (hope I don’t show my age with that!!)

            1. Theresa you need to put up some of these signs 🙂


              1. Theresa

                Ha Ha!!! those are cute Erik. I wonder though if some of my clients can read at all!! I have a sign that clearly states there will be a charge for no-shows & it’s also on the appointment cards. Do you think they’d even glance at them??

    8. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      The future – an Amish Pony Express

      I don’t know why, but after reading the (current) replies I thought about the future of the postal service, the speculation of its letter carrying service being cancelled entirely and its effects on groups like the Amish.
      I am a day dreamer sometimes, and years ago in my imagination, I had a vision of the English world only having emails and same day parcel service, with no letters in the conventional manner, but in my vision of the future a plain church group had their mail “delivered” through church members, lay members or the “clergy”, or English friends traveling between church districts, even over vast distances

      This was me speculating at the future, I guess, but I wonder if a group like this would set of an “Amish Pony Express” of sorts if the Post Office closed forever in some sad future. Does anyone see this as being even remotely practical?

      I’m surprised my idea didn’t dart back to the front of my mind a long while back when Erik did his “do you write letters anymore?” thread.

    9. kerry

      It’s not a bad place to have to wait and have patience, with the little and busy grocery store right in that parking lot! Great little grill in there and a nice big porch and gazebo with tables. The “bus stoppers” often sit there in nice weather and enjoy a milkshake while waiting to board or pick up!

      What the picture doesn’t show is the little broken-down hut in the corner of that parking lot with a small cardboard sign that says in handwritten letters “BUS STOP” on it. 🙂

      Often those being dropped off just start walking home with suitcases in hand. I see them often on my street in the summer.

    10. Lewis,-81.702576&spn=0.001041,0.673599&sll=40.773782,-81.617432&sspn=0.255315,0.673599&t=h&radius=21.15&hq=bellstores&z=11&layer=c&cbll=40.694327,-81.70213&panoid=Spdk5eaPuFuDdITQr8Y6pQ&cbp=12,143.83,,0,-3.88

    11. Lewis

      Well I tried to post a link to a google street view of the place but it doesn’t look like it worked to well. Anyway, this is in the little town of Mt. Eaton, ohio. I drive by daily. They also wait over in the hardware store parking lot next to the post office. This is almost always swartzentruber amish. Regular amish hire drivers for long distance trips most of the time.

      1. Chris

        I've been there too!

        It wasn’t until Lewis mentioned something about the location of this picture that I realized that we stopped at that exact gas station to get gas last June when visiting the Holmes/Wayne County area. I remembered that there was a post office across the street and sure enough, upon review of the Google street view, it is the same. Great memories!

    12. Anni

      I wish!

      I would LOVE to be able to live closer to be of aid to the Amish in this manner. I am becoming more aware as I read of their lifestyle that I had been born either Amish or 100 years ago. Yes…I can hear a lot of people now…”But what about all the conveniences we have nowdays”…and my response? “What have those ‘conveniences’ truly brought us? We are a civilization driven by more, faster, and unsatisfaction once it is achieved.
      I was raised very simple with a quiet lifestyle as a child, I look back and realize more and more how lucky us three kids were. And wish I could go back or ‘strip’ my life back down to the basics. And yes…that includes no cell, no t.v. and NO electricity!

      1. Christen


        Anni I read your post and felt like I read a page of my diary. I too long for a simpler life!

    13. Wanna slow down? Get a car ...

      Thought of this that someone sent me a few days ago. Interesting take, not sure that this is a totally accurate way to view things, but it is quite interesting:

      Another way to convert money into time is to figure out the average speed of a car after accounting for the time needed to earn money to pay for it. Based on a 7-mile one-way commute which is all we’ll drive, our annual car costs are $6248 (capital costs of $5789/yr. plus operating costs of $0.131/mile, or $459). We’ll figure a bicycle will cost us $220/yr. ($400 for a bike that lasts five years, $200 in accessories for the same time period, and $100/yr. for maintenance.) So our car costs less bicycle costs for a year are $6028, which will take 431 hours to pay for. The time we spend actually driving will be 140 hours, assuming the average speeds for urban autos at 25 mph (11). So adding the time spent driving plus the time spent earning the money to drive, we spend 571 hours to go 3500 miles. That’s an effective speed of 6.1mph, slower than a bicycle.

      1. Bike substitute for car?

        That’s one way to think about it Mike. But what if you’re doing your 7 miles in the traffic of I-696 like Mary above? That might change the equation a little. Not sure you can take bikes on any freeways in America though (though I was told by young Amish bike riders who did a cross country trip that they had to do just that on one stretch).

        If bike-traveled miles were purely exchangeable for car-traveled miles, I could buy into this…however you also have to factor in things like hauling capacity, multiple passengers, weather, safety and so on.

        1. I knew the figures were skewed toward the bike. But I still find it an interesting way to consider efficiency. I did some quick figures on my own circumstances, using 20,000 miles/year at an average speed of 40 mph, $10/hour wages, and a $1000/year vehicle cost (I dont drive Cadillacs 🙂 ). Not figuring in multiple riders, etc, I am doing about 18 mph.
          I’d be one tough biker to maintain that rate.
          But the point is, of course, that we sometimes have to work awful hard to save some time.
          BTW, we have moved to New Bedford, Ohio. Enjoying the more laid back lifestyle of Holmes County (actually, we are about 100 yards into Coshocton).
          If you want to hire me as a reporter for the Holmes County Amish community, let me know how much you pay. 🙂

          1. I figured you did. Regardless it is a good way to think about it.

            Nice to hear you are in Ohio now! I would think New Bedford is definitely more laid back than much of Lancaster County. Beautiful area. As for reporting I can pay in thanks, complements, and maybe a little good publicity 🙂

    14. Lattice

      The concept of “waiting” really does not seem learn-able (at least in the way I knew it) for today’s youth. If kids have extra time to wait, well thank goodness! There’s so many games they’ve been looking for time to play, Facebook to delve into, people they should text, or whatever else. And it’s all accessible right there in their pocket, should they be stuck in a line, or something. Most kids I know really desire more free time. An opportunity to wait is a treasured opportunity indeed!

      1. Re-routing the brain?

        I think the reason it seems so unlearnable Lattice is that it’s about re-wiring something in the brain. Those can be some of the hardest changes to make (come to think of it this post actually has something in common with today’s post on quitting a bad habit).

        I even notice myself getting antsy sometimes if I don’t have some form of stimulus or interaction–something to read, a podcast to listen to, a drink to sip…and I grew up when the only screen in the house was the 13″ TV and eventually the 386 computer (those were high tech days).

        I heard a funny story the other day about a young girl who thought a TV screen was broken because nothing happened when she touched it. Kids will always have an impatient streak but it seems harder to tame when so much is geared around instant gratification.

    15. Bonnie

      tickled by the touch screen TV story

      Erik, your story about the little girl thinking the TV was broken because it didn’t do anything when touched reminded me of a time years ago when my husband and I were pastoring a church in Michigan and we had a group of young girls at our building and one asked to use the phone to call home..and we agreed. My husband had a love of older things so he had fixed up an old style phone…rotary dial…and when the little girls went into the kitchen we was them standing staring at the phone and then heard them trying to figure out how to use it since they had never used or seen anything other then the push button phones. It was funny. I like this blog a lot and enjoy reading all the comments.

      1. Bonnie, great story. This is the 2013 version of that 🙂

      2. kerry

        Bonnie, I enjoyed your story. Just a few months ago, my brother bought a used car from the late 1980’s. He drove it that day to pick up his daughter from high school and she couldn’t get in – she didn’t know how to open the car door! After several minutes of him trying to explain through the window and her yanking the handle all around, he finally had to get out and walk around the car to show her. It is one of those door handles from way back when where it’s actually shaped like a handle and has a button on it you push in (with your thumb) to open the car door – remember those? She is a brilliant young student but couldn’t figure out a door handle that didn’t just pull up. It was soooo funny to see them demonstrate what happened and my niece wasn’t embarrassed at all, she thought it was hilarious. 🙂

        1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

          The touch screen TV, rotary phone stories reminded me of something a friend of mine told me about this winter. She is a teacher, pre-high-school and took her class out for a trip or something on a cold winter day. She decided to bundle up and wear ear-muffs. Her class questioned her on the ear-muffs “Miss, what are you listening to?” but she didn’t follow their meaning.
          “What are you listening to?” they insisted.
          “Nothing, I don’t have my buds in.”
          “But you must be listening to something, you’ve got headphones on.”
          She must have smiled “No, these are earmuffs not headphones”
          “You mean you can’t listen to music in them? What do you do with them then?”
          “Their just to keep my ears warm”

          Amazing how tech has changed things. Me, I prefer to listen to the various soundtracks going on as I go about my day, listening to people creating their own hearing loss in some cases.

    16. Linda

      Do you know the chorus from the “Herbert the Snail” song?
      “Have patience, have patience
      Don’t be in such a hurry
      When you get impatient, you only start to worry
      Remember, remember that God is patient, too
      And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.”

      It’s not the best idea to pray for patience. One mother prayed for patience, and the very same day her children dumped sand on a car windshield. Some of the sand slid down in the “vent holes” of the car. The worst thing was, the car belonged to someone else!

      While waiting for a ride, or in a line, a person can people-watch, or listen for birds, or read, or reflect on the day’s activities. Some people carry a card to memorize a daily Bible verse.

      1. Debbie

        thank you Linda love the chorus

    17. Christen

      Mt Eaton!

      I saw someone mention Mt Eaton, OH! I used to live in Navarre and would often travel to Mt Eaton as a child with my grandparents to sell livestock at auction. I return to Mt Eaton / Holmes County every summer ( i know live in Pittsburgh) Thank you Erik for these wonderful articles.

    18. Mikey


      I ve seen Amish people use airplanes in Philadelphia Airport to fly to some cities where amish families live

    19. Paul A. B.

      Patience and discipline

      I’d say that patience and discipline are not in fashion in our culture these days. Because the Amish and related faith groups live in separate cultures essentially, they have been able to preserve these values to a greater degree.

      Saving up until you can afford something is an admirable trait, as it builds character, responsibility and the ability to deal with anticipation. The best thing is that even if you do have a credit card, if you have discipline – you can still use it without getting in over your head.

      Great article!