it has been months since i’ve written. and i’m very sorry. i think of things i want to tell you, and then i don’t and i feel exceedingly guilty. then i remember that we are only friends in my mind, so i stop being crazy and just promise i will write again soon.
i really do think about you often. i regale friends, family and co-workers about the funny and interesting things you say. thank goodness the people in my life indulge me as much as they do! yesterday i was catching up on your daytime show and knew i had to tell my family about another reason why you and i are destined to be real life bffs.
the revelation: you love the amish. guess what?? i love the amish too! i have never met anyone who is as fascinate by that world as i am. but you are! destiny, right?
my sister thinks my fascination with the amish is ridiculous. we share a netflix account and the mocks me ceaselessly when she sees amish documentaries on our recently watched list. she really doesn’t get it.
i know exactly when my interest began. here in canada, we have hutterites. they have the same religious origins as the amish and mennoites, and live similar lifestyles. when i was in elementary school, our class visited a hutterite colony. i was amazed. who knew people lived like that? when we studied them before going, and made a model of hutterite woman using a laundry detergent bottle i just thought it was a history project. but the women we met totally looked like my crazy tide bottle! and what was even more crazy to me was that the kids were so different, but so much the same as us. we learned that hutterites milk cows, raise chickens and lived self-sufficiently. and the boys played soccer. the girls didn’t, and that really appealed to me because i really hated playing soccer.
for years, that was my favourite school field trip. i loved to reminisce about that day and the people we met. years later, i got a job that involved having contact with hutterite colonies and i was giddy. the first time we went to a colony it was to buy honey for corporate some gift baskets we were giving out. we met andy, the coolest beekeeper ever. he looked like santa claus, but instead of wearing red and white he wore a black hat, pants and suspenders and a checkered shirt. i was instantly obsessed with him. he loved his bees and took pride in his honey. and had the most precious accent ever!
the best part of my day with andy was that he took my business card and stored it in the brim of his hat. i felt like a rock star. of course, he started calling me. And i soon recognized the colony’s phone number on my caller id. he always asked if i had a boyfriend. i liked to think he wanted me to marry one of his grandsons. and i totally thought about it.
one day andy invited me to have lunch with the colony. i spent some time with his granddaughter who gave me a tour. it was so much fun! and lunch was so good – fresh bread with homemade jam. simple and pure, which is pretty much how i imagine everything in the colony is.
of course i know there is a gender divide. the women and girls work hard at domestic and farm work. but it really never seemed to me that the men didn’t work just as hard at their own tasks. i know many people are disaffected by the rules and leave but i still think if i was invited, i would probably move in. unfortunately i don’t work at that company anymore, and i worry that andy called me after i left and had to be told we wouldn’t get to chat anymore. i hope he knew having to end that connection was one of the hardest parts of leaving that job.
when i see hutterites out in the “real world” i get as excited as i would if i saw a celebrity. once i saw a hutterite couple trying out a treadmill at a sporting goods store. there is something about the dichotomy that i just loved. Seeing hutterites at the mall sends me into a tizzy!!
someday i hope you and i can talk about why these communities of people who work so hard to maintain their lifestyles fascinates us so much. until then, i will continue being convinced you and i will one day be the best of friends.