A Little Amish Mystery....


Last Saturday, the kids and Marlene and I were in our car, driving towards the town of Seneca Falls, New York, when my son Robert mentioned that he needed a pair of sunglasses for his new job (which I will blog about one day soon). There was a WalMart up ahead and I decided we could get sunglasses there.

I’m not big on WalMart but they were right there and they have affordable sunglasses so I pulled into the parking lot. Way off in the corner of the lot I noticed an Amish buggy, tied to a rusty light pole. I pulled into a parking spot in front of the horse. Then I got out of the car and took this picture:


Marlene, James, & Robert headed into the store. I stayed in the car. A short while later, two teenage Amish boys came into view. They were dressed in the typical black pants, dark blue shirt and straw had with a black band. They walked quickly towards their buggy. One was carrying a WalMart bag.

I watched the boys from my rear view mirror. They didn’t just jump in the buggy and take off. They spent an inordinate amount of time doing something with whatever was in the WalMart bag. Watching from a distance in the mirror didn’t allow me an especially good view but I was intrigued by what was going on.

Then something I never expected happened. One of the boys walked towards the light pole with the bag. It appeared to have stuff in it. He quickly looked back and forth to see if anyone was watching him, then dropped the bag on the ground.

Then he unhitched the horse and brought the reins back to the buggy. Both of the boys put on their black coats, got in the buggy, and drove off. I snapped this picture of them leaving. Note the gas station in the background. The Amish don’t have to fuel up their buggies at a gas station. Must be nice.


So there I was, looking at that WalMart bag on the ground. I was shocked that the kid had just tossed it there. He didn’t have the decency to put it in a garbage can. But more than that, I was curious. What was in that bag? After thinking about it for all of 30 seconds, I started the car, put it in reverse, backed up beside the bag, opened my door, and picked it up. Here’s a peek inside:


The bag contained empty packages from two battery-operated CD players ($8.00 each), a 4-pack of AA batteries (94 cents), and the wrapper from an Alan Jackson CD ($5.00).

Mystery solved.


Scott said...

That sound you hear is the sound of thousands of romantic notions about the Amish being smashed to smithereens.


Anonymous said...

Yup, the Amish aren't what people think they are. Last year at the Paris, Tennessee mule auction an Amish young man rode through the parking lot bareback talking on a cell phone. I dived for the camera, but I was too late.

Your posts make me laugh! Thanks,


Christine said...

I see a new writing genre for you, "The Amish Mystery, Detective Kimball Agrarian Mystery Series".

We all need a good mystery and laugh for light reading!

Tovah said...

In some ways, that is so funny! But in other ways, it makes me sad.

Amish and Mennonite parents share the same struggles as other conservative Christians: How do we keep the world from seeping in and grabbing our children's hearts?

Thank God it was Alan Jackson and not Metallica!

Old She dragon said...

Lovely story ! If all the modern things weren't so denied them ,they wouldn't have had to be so secretive about things.
You can't hide from humanity,its all around you.
I suppose they must have to earn money to use it for some things, I never even thought about it before.
We don't have Amish in the UK

Michael Bunker said...

Ahh, if only sin were a mystery... and if only the Amish children were exempted from total depravity and the fall.

Personally I am horrified that they went to Wal-Mart, and that they littered. I'm pleased with their choice of music though. I wonder if it was his gospel album.

Your friend Michael

Anonymous said...

If I remember, and correct me if I'm wrong, don't the Amish give their teenagers a period of time where they may experience the world of the "English"? Then they must make the decision to "join" as an adult or not? Kind of like a "confirmation".

I'm with the others-littering, no. Alan Jackson, OK. I'll bet they were a sight in the electronics section! Thanks for backing up the car. If they hadn't littered, we never would have known!

Herrick Kimball said...

Mary Lou-
It's called "Rumspringa." Here is an explanation:

"Rumspringa is a Pennsylvania Dutch term, usually translated as "running around" and derived in part from the German word Raum, which means "space" in the sense of outside or outdoors space, room to roam. "Running around outside the bounds" is a more complete translation. The rumspringa period begins when an Amish youth turns sixteen; at that age, since the youth has not yet been baptized, he or she is not subject to the church's rules about permitted and forbidden behaviors. During rumspringa, Amish youth -- a large percentage of them for the first time in their lives -- go on their own in the outside world. Nearly all continue to live with their families, however, and many, maybe even a majority, do not go to the parties or otherwise engage in behaviors that Amish parents and church officials consider wild. Rather, they attend Sunday singings, occasionally go bowling, take part in structured activities supervised by church elders -- tame stuff -- but they have license to do things they have never done before. An individual's rumspringa ends when he or she agrees to be baptized into the church and to take up the responsibilities attendant on being an adult member of the Amish community."

That quote comes from an NPR "Talk of the Nation" broadcast. You can read the whole story HERE.

I must say, the story is distrubing. Rumspringa is apparently not what it once was. It's intentions have been twisted in recent times, or so it would appear. If you read the article, make sure to read the last paragraph. It sums up a social crisis that the Amish are now facing which they have not faced in the past.

The boys I saw at WalMart were, no doubt, of Rumspringa age. I hope they don't get too carried away.


Homestead Herbs-
I like your sense of humor.

I'm horrified that I went to WalMart. I confess to not knowing anything about Alan Jackson. Glad to know he has a gospel album.

Marci said...

That is funny. We live among the Amish and have had a couple of times we got the giggles. In our last house, I was outside. No one lived close to us and I heard this loud bass banging out and it kept getting louder. Then I heard the music (rock & roll) and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Then along came 3 Amish buggies. They were rocking and LOUD. They went on by and the music went with them. I just shook my head. Then in this house, I woke up one night and heard music playing. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from in the middle of the night. None of my neighbors listen to that type of stuff and not at 1AM either. I got up and looked out the front door. It looked like someone was having a party in our woods. I woke up Michael and he got our spotlight out. He went out the front door and listened. What I had thought was a fire, was actually lights. He said they were parking lights.. probably on a truck. He shined the spotlight on them. You heard them all get excited and start scrambling. He shined it on them again and you could tell they were heading out. We waited for the truck engine to start. All we heard was 2 buggies start off down the road. =)

papabear said...

I just started listening to Alan Jackson--I don't think I've heard anything but wholesome songs from him, which can't be said of a lot of Country-Western music these days.

Jonathan Blundell said...

love it!

looks like, "They've gone country."

Patti said...

Up untill the last I thought the bag had horse poo in it .....hahahah

Kristi said...

I think it's hillarious. While most teens are having dangerous sex, sneaking drugs and alcohol, and flirting with crime, those rascally rebellious Amish teens are sneaking a listen to Alan Jackson. I think I'd rather have the Amish's problem with my children than society's in general.

Anonymous said...

Herrick -

Reminds me of my best friend's Spring Break trip to some island off the coast of Florida this past March. Someone here told her that this island was the bomb, and they would have a wonderful time there. When they arrived at their condo, they were amazed to see absolutely no one under the age of 80! At first they thought they were in the wrong place, but when they weren't, they decided to just enjoy themselves and feel really "young" for a week. Then a couple days into the vacation, they decided to take an evening cruise. It was advertised as having lots of music, plenty of alcoholic beverages, and lovely ocean scenery. O.K., it starts at 9:00 so there will probably be a younger crowd, right? Yep! A young crowd of Amish teens! They were properly chaperoned by a few adults, but they mostly were on the upper deck, drinking and smoking! When she got home and told me this story, we too thought we remembered something about a period when they are allowed to be among the "English" and decide which way they want to lead their lives. Your story cracked me up. I SO would have done exactly the same thing!