OHWOOD-L ArchivesArchiver > OHWOOD > 2010-05 > 1274649491
From: Bill <>
Subject: [OHWOOD] Black Swamp Heritage, "Us As Family", 23 May 2010,Vol 9 #22
Date: Sun, 23 May 2010 17:20:33 -0500
Black Swamp Heritage Articles
© Bill Oliver
23 May 2010
Vol 9 Issue: #22
Good Evening from the Black Swamp of NWoHIo,
"Us As Family"
Another "old" friend has taken the long path upward. Grandma Oliver was
heard to say that all her friends had passed on and that she didn't want
to make any new ones because they would continue to leave her and follow
the old ones.
Who are we? Where are we from? How do we connect?
From the time wo/men moved from communal [tribal] families through the
break up of the nuclear family, due to a sense that it was/is no longer
a necessity, there remains something which pulls people together. For
those folks that were brought up in a nuclear family atmosphere there is
a need or desire to bond with family and it is hard wired into us.
Spending time with family is important. Families provide a sense of
support and an identity of who we are and what's unique about us. Most
people rely on family interactions to provide an affirming, positive
The problem in this fast moving world of ours is that getting together
isn't simple. Many Americans acknowledge that modern life presents
challenges to maintaining the family relationships and attending the
family events they feel are important. It takes effort to get family
together unless it is a wedding or a funeral.
A small group of first cousins got together yesterday for dinner and
socializing at the Das Dutchman Essenhaus restaurant in Middlebury,
Indiana. It was a two to two and a half hour drive from our homes. The
cuisine was just what we remembered from our youth and family Sunday
dinners. Served "family" style were mashed potatoes, gravy, or course,
green beans, chicken and roast beef, noodles, stuffing, and baked loaves
of bread [table size] and lettuce salad.
A large portion of the early conversation was about which of the Aunts
made the best pies and oven biscuits. With that "talk" we certainly
didn't need appetizers to warm up to the meal.
I sure would not have liked to see the restaurant "packed" [on a "full"
day they serve about six to seven thousand people] because the noise
level would be too high for me to hear the multiple conversations that
go on with these types of get-togethers. Even so, laughter from our
rather long table rang out true and clear.
The restaurant was pleasantly decorated with German country style
articles and Amish crafts. The attached bakery offered us choices. I
took home a loaf of English Muffin Bread.
Rather than "by-pass" the America to get there and home, I took the
"scenic" route "cross-country". We enjoyed this leasurely drive, taking
in all the country sights. We loved looking at the very neat farms each
displaying a "fresh" like painted buildings. We further like seeing the
fine looking horses sometimes picking out the "buggy" animals from the
We observed some quite modern machinery being operated by the females on
some of the farms. Power lawn mowers and "leaf blowers" are examples.
Amish and Mennonite females dress quite similar, so it was difficult to
know which we might be observing. Modern irrigation water sprayers were
I erred in saying to the "cousins" that the Amish were German. Actually,
the Amish who split from Mennonites generally lived in Switzerland and
in the southern Rhine river region. During the late 17th century, they
separated because of what they perceived as a lack of discipline among
James Hoorman writes about the current status of the Amish movement in
his book: "Amish & Mennonite Culture History,"
"In America, the Amish [held] major doctrines in common, but as the
years went by, their practices differed. Today, there are a number of
different groups of Amish with the majority affiliated with four orders:
Swartzengruber, Old Order, Andy Weaver, and New Order Amish. Old Order
Amish are the most common. All the groups operate independently from
each other with variations in how they practice their religion and
religion dictates how they conduct their daily lives. The Swartzengruber
Amish are the most conservative followed by the Old Order Amish. The
Andy Weaver are more progressive and the New Order Amish are the most
The Indiana highways in and around the Amish commuities were designed to
allow the horse and buggy vehicles to safely travel "alongside" modern
mechanisms [SUVs and Eighteen-wheelers] much more safely. The horses
were well used to the noise and confusion of modern vehicles.
We observed one horse buggies as well as two horse wagons. We were
fortunate to even see a "freight" wagon being used. What a time to be
without even one camera. <smile>
I repeat: Spending time with family is important and if you eat as you
did when you were a kid you eat far too much for your present age – but,
it WAS good!
e-la-Di-e-das-Di ha-WI NV-WA-do-hi-ya NV-WA-to-hi-ya-da.
(May you walk in peace and harmony)
"Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our
lives ..." Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus
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