Day 7 12/19/04
I felt a little bit better this morning, but not that much. Albert knocked on my door to let me know he was milking the cows, he knew I wasn’t feeling too well. He said I didn’t need to come if I didn’t want to. After about 30 minutes I felt like I could get up. I stretched and went downstairs.
Marie was there dressing the girls for Church. Everyone had to get up earlier so we could milk the cows before church. She said Albert was feeling sick and he was back in bed.
The cows hadn’t been milked yet. She said she couldn’t because she was dressing the girls. I asked her if she wanted me to do it. She said to go see if Peter could help me. Church started in about an hour so we needed to hurry. I found George and he said he would help. We rushed over there and started milking and cleaning the cows, we had to work fast. I remembered which ones were dry and which ones had an infected udder. George left when we had two cows left. I tried to milk them but couldn’t get the machine to stay suctioned. I took care of the milk, hayed the cows, cleaned up the poop and came back in.
Albert was still in bed sleeping. I made him a vegetable stew with some beef broth so he would feel better. I ate some too. It felt good to help out. I’m still feeling sick. I don’t know if it is because of all the kefir I drank yesterday or the raw meat. The pain was in my intestine so that couldn’t have been from the raw meat or fat because it happened too soon afterwards; I don’t know.
I was talking to Albert about Aajonus Vonderplanitz, the raw meat, rotten egg guy. Albert said, Aajonus gets angry if he sends him eggs which have been cleaned. Aajonus likes them dirty and will even partially crack them to make them rotten before he eats them. Albert also sends eggs to Organic Valley and they will send them back if there is a speck of dirt on them or if there is a slight crack you can only see with a flashlight. He said it can be confusing sometimes. I understand.
They had church at Peter’s house this Sunday at night, all of the Amish teenagers got together and sang Christmas songs in German. Marie wanted to go, but then I made her a fat omelet and she decided to stay. Albert and I went. It was snowing slightly and the wind was picking up. We were sneaking around outside like we were up to no good. Albert didn’t want to “get caught,” it would have been fine if we did. There were about 30 girls and 30 boys sitting across from each other with some adults on the side. Most were singing, a lot were goofing off, talking and laughing.
We saw one Amish teen through the window. He was talking on his cell phone but hiding it behind the song book(1). I asked Albert if that was okay. He said it wasn’t. I asked if I could shine the flashlight on him. He said no, but that he would. We were shining the flashlight on him for about 30 seconds but he didn’t notice. We hung out inside for a little bit.
I asked him about rumspringa(2) and he seemed to get slightly offended. He said producers came around looking to put Amish teens on rumspringa on a TV show. He said Amish people like to isolate for reasons like that. We walked back to the house. It was getting colder and windier. We came home.
The kids were asleep. We started talking about life and death, food, etc. We started getting too serious so I asked Marie to play us a song on the harmonica. She did and it was nice. For breakfast I had vegetable stew (onions, carrot, potatoes) cooked in beef broth. It helped Albert and I not be sick. For lunch I had bread, cream and honey. I made them omelettes for dinner, filled with sweet potatoes, onions, hamburger meat and cheese. “Ni Bicsch Dum Mwa?” “How are you this morning?” Schlof Goot.
2. From what Albert told me, Rumspringa is the Amish “Rite of Passage”. The Amish don’t baptize at birth, because they believe that people need to be at a mature age to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior. Rumspringa is the time of adolescence where they decide if they want to accept Jesus and remain in the Amish church. Different Amish communities have different customs. In the media and on TV, it has been popularized as a “Sin Free For All” where Amish engage in sex, drugs and, yes, rock n’ roll. According to the Amish I spoke to, this is not the norm; they even find it amusing. This type of rumspringa is more common among the New Order Amish; a sect that broke away from the original or Old Order because they wanted more access to technology.
In Albert’s community, at the age of sixteen, the Amish teenagers join a church group. This is like a “singles club” where the teenagers meet each other and decide who they want to marry; after which they leave the church group. George said that his church club was pretty good; they would do a little drinking but they didn’t get too crazy. An interesting side note. The Amish remain in the church group until they get married. It was interesting because there were some Amish in their late 20’s who were in that group who hadn’t gotten married yet. Everyone else was 16-19.