Driving Miss Crazy

This week’s Spin Cycle is all about driving.  I thought about writing about my golf game, but a blog post should consist of more than just the words “I suck.”  I could also wax semi-poetic about my experiences attempting to teach Darling Daughter how to drive, but I figured you’re all traumatized enough during the course of daily life, so we just won’t go there, either.  (Although, can I just say how extraordinarily grateful I am that Beloved and Good Ex will take over the task of teaching The Young One to drive?  Yeah.)

Fortunately for all of us, I can tackle this subject from another perspective.

When I moved to Ohio four years ago, I experienced a bit of culture shock.  I went from living in a large, diverse, southern metropolitan area of about 3,000,000 to a small, insular, northern city (town?) of barely 50,000.  It has taken more than a little adjustment on my part, and it has not been easy.  My pastimes have changed – in some cases, quite drastically.  And while it’s taken me some time to learn to cope with a new lifestyle (to say nothing of a new climate), I’ve come to appreciate the things I can do here in Ohio that I could not do in Texas.

Driving for pleasure is one of those things.

Texas is a very diverse place.  You’ve got the Gulf Coast, the Rio Grande Valley, Mid-Texas Hill Country, the Panhandle Plains and Canyons, the Piny Woods of East Texas, and the West Texas Desert, just to name a few regions.  The problem is, you have to drive very long distances to get to any one of those areas and while the destinations themselves can be quite spectacular, the drive getting there is often less so, simply because it is so time consuming.

Ohio may not be quite as diverse, but it is a beautiful place.  It is one of the most populous states in the country, but you’d never know it driving through it.  There are really no unpopulated areas in Ohio; however, most of it is so rural you tend not to notice that you pass no completely empty countryside.  What there are, in the land between its major cities, are gently rolling hills interspersed with  green, wooded areas and carefully cultivated fields full of corn, soybeans and impressive vegetable gardens; small, quaint towns and white, narrow houses with large porches, all of which look as if they came right off of the cover of an old Saturday Evening Post.

Since Ohio is almost 6 times smaller than Texas, you can drive across the entire state in less than a day.  And drive we do – mostly to north central Ohio where Holmes and Wayne counties are located, home of the largest Amish settlement in the country.  (Uh, Pennsylvania and Indiana?  Our Amish can totally kick your Amish asses.)  Frankly, I love it – if it weren’t for the the isolation and lack of electricity I’d move there in a heartbeat.

Driving down to Amish country is a very zen-like experience; the minute we turn off of highway 30 into Kidron and see the first horse-poop on the road, I just mellow out.  Why, you ask?  Because I get to see things like this:

Old-Fashioned Thresher and Haystacks

An Old-Fashioned Thresher and Haystacks

And this:

Grass and Haystacks

Fields of Grass and Haystacks

And of course, we see a lot of this:

Amish Horse and Buggy

Amish Horse and Buggy

Seeing the Amish drive their horse-drawn buggies around is part of the charm of visiting this particular area.  However, when we went out this last Saturday, we were completely unprepared for the site that awaited us just down the street form Lehman’s Hardware and the Kidron Flea Market.

Because the area is so dependent on farming, both on a small and a large scale, many activities revolve around this occupation.  One of these activities are the periodic farm auctions that occur during the warm months.  I’d read about them, but I’d never seen one.  However, on the Fourth of July, there was a huge one going on in Kidron and as we rounded the corner to one of our favorite money pits places to shop (the aforementioned Lehman’s Hardware) we came across this:

Amish at the Auction

Amish at the Auction

Literally rows and rows of identical, black Amish buggies in a huge parking lot outside the auction grounds.  We pulled into the parking lot ourselves,  and Beloved trekked up to take a gander at the auction while I crossed the street to take pictures of the largest gathering of Amish I’d ever seen in one place, although since the Amish do not like to have their pictures taken, I settled for taking pictures of their buggies.  And trust me, this picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice – there were literally hundreds of buggies parked in the large, gravel parking lot of the auction grounds.

So after awhile of wandering about, pursuing our separate interests, we met back at our car, climbed in and headed out of the parking lot onto the street.  As we turned, Beloved glanced over at me and noted the amused and bemused expression on my face as I took a last, long look at the rows upon rows of buggies.

“What?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “how do they tell which buggy belongs to who?”

29 thoughts on “Driving Miss Crazy”

  1. Just came over from SITS and I was wondering the SAME thing! How can they remember which buggy is theirs? Ha.

    We have some Amish friends in Pennsylvania. They are very sweet, no electricity in the house, but the Dad has a cell phone (for business) and they have a phone in their barn! They tweek tradition more in this generation I think. ha.

    Have a great day!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Peace He gives … =-.

  2. Some of them have phones – but most are in little wooden booths at the end of their driveway. I guess as long as wires don’t reach their houses they are off the grid and save from the English. Then again I keep thinking they must be smart – how long would a teenage daughter be on the phone if she had to trudge down there in the snow and stand up to talk in 20 degree weather?

    And no – that picture doesn’t even come close to doing justice to the number of buggies there. What I wonder is if they grabbed the wrong one how would they know the difference? Maybe they don’t care. At least until they turn on the CD player and realize they have lost their favorite hymn sounds and are listening to a young kid’s Amish Rap band!

  3. We moved from Seattle to Bloomington, IN so I can relate to the culture shock. It is so true that Ohio’s Amish kicks Indiana Amish butt. I adore the Southern Indiana, Eastern Kentucky, Southern Ohio circle we would drive frequently. Just for the reasons you described. Total zen-like experience.
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..The Boy’s Big Toe =-.

  4. I love the title for this post…we do have amish around here too but not quite that many. We do have to watch out for them when we are driving down certain roads. I like how you describe Ohio…since I have never been there it gives me an idea of what it’s like there.
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Coming Home =-.

  5. Maybe they have a key fob where they press it and the appropriate horse nay’s.. Although that would be a great sight gag.
    An Amish beatdown? Don’t tell Fox. Or do. They’ll buy the premise in a heartbeat.
    Living in Florida, it’s a schlep to go anywhere outside your county. We have such a long state that when people ask why I don’t go to St Augustine more, I just say, “six hours in a car? Seriously?”
    Homer Simpson put it best, “Everyone knows that Florida is America’s wang.”
    You’re linked!
    .-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..Should I be shopping agents just yet? =-.

  6. Hmm, have never seen one Amish kick another Amish’s ass, but that may make for an interesting reality series.

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    (image of Amish ass kicking in her head)
    .-= Di´s last blog ..Our Favorite Summer Salad =-.

  7. That is the coolest photo. I’ve been to Amish country in PA several times and it’s so beautiful. How DO they know which buggy is theirs? Or is that one of those naive questions they’d just smile at and shake their heads? I’d love to know.
    .-= Maureen at IslandRoar´s last blog ..A Stitch In Time… =-.

  8. Dude – I was thinking the same thing the moment I looked at the photo. I was also wondering if they have deviant teens in town who borrow a buggy for “joy riding.”

    I envy your drives…
    .-= Pseudo´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday #18 =-.

  9. Wow I can barely remember where I park my Tahoe…I would really be confused if I had to search through identical black buggies! lol

    My dad was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He still has quite a bit of family living there. We used to go every summer to visit my grandparents. I didn’t get to see much of Ohio…but what I did see was really beautiful. My grandparents are gone now…but I sure would love to visit my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. They loved to tease me about my accent (what accent?)

    When we were hit by Hurricane Rita…the Amish (not sure where from) came and fed my town. My town was pretty much devastated. We were all feeling fussy about not having electricity, having to cook over an open flame…all the things the Amish do normally. We were very happy to have them here to help us…their warmth and kindness was truly appreciated.

    Jan is having a good time with her camera! I am enjoying mine too. There is so much beauty to see…The camera is a wonderful way to capture it.
    .-= Monica´s last blog ..The Little Furr Babies =-.

  10. I’d love to drive across unpopulated places like that. Over here you can’t drive for pleasure. In fact, driving over here is the most exhausting and miserable thing we can do!

  11. Small towns are great but I think you can only really enjoy them if you have had the experience of a bigger city. Those buggies are too funny. I loose my car at the mall all the time; I can’t imagine having to find the right buggy.
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Clever Ideas =-.

  12. Thanks so much for your kind comments about our store. I’m glad you enjoyed Kidron, which has been my family’s home town for five generations.

    I shared your Beloved’s bemusement about telling the buggies apart. I’ve never been able to figure that out either. But, when I asked an Amish friend about it, he just acted like I was crazy. It’s not hard at all, he said. Apparently there are significant differences if you REALLY know your buggies! 🙂

  13. Well! I may have lived in Florida for the last 6 years, but you’ve just made me so homesick for Ohio (the CHEESE! The Amish cheese!) I could scream (the APPLES!).

    When I did live there (in Central Ohio, granted), I was told that it’s not about recognizing the buggy, it’s about recognizing the horses. But who knows if I was told right?
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Spin Cycle: Driving Me Crazy =-.

  14. It’s an Amish take over!! lol Very cool pics! I think they stitch their surnames into the buggy hood, don’t know, just a guess ’cause they don’t have license plates right?! lol Nah they probably know their own horse. I lived in Kettering for a while then moved to FL. Great post!

  15. Just stopped over from Spriteskeeper – great post! Living in Ohio and fairly close to the Wayne County Amish Country – I totally get what you’re saying. LOVE the pictures of the buggies – and I thought the same thing – how they heck DO they know which one is there’s? I didn’t realize that the Amish don’t like their pictures taken – oops! Since I was out about a month ago doing that exact thing! Guess that explains the dirty looks – oh well!
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Run Shopgirl Run! =-.

  16. Ahhh, one of the Lehman’s posted a comment!!! I’m so jealous! I love Lehman’s hardware.

    You and I must live close to one another. I have to say, your post made me feel guilty. When I get behind a buggy, I usually get frusterated for having to drive that slow.

    As for the buggy issue, uhm, they tell them apart by the horse. You can tell which horse is yours (and yes, horses are like dogs. you always know which one is yours).
    .-= Mama Badger´s last blog ..Spin Cycle- Driving… =-.

  17. Your pictures are gorgeous. I never thought about going to Ohio before now. And my golf game sucks, too BTW. But I LOVE to play! There must be something wrong with me….
    .-= Ginger´s last blog ..Driving Miss Lucy =-.

  18. your shots are phenomenal!!!

    We have some great Amish country around here. I’d love to get a decent camera and share….


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