Amish Country Gothic

• You are crossing the street. A horse and buggy is stopped at the light. The horse is glistening with sweat, eyes bulging, breath rattled. “Help me,” it whispers as you walk by. You turn around. The light is green. The horse and its buggy have vanished.

• The quilts have a secret message hidden in the patchwork. If only you could solve it. If only you had more time. If only you could breathe.

•  Corn is everywhere. As far as the eye can see. There is corn in front of you. Corn behind you. You look down, the ground is made of corn. You are corn. I am corn. Corn.

•  You are walking at night. You come upon a single farmhouse, several buggies with beleaguered horses tied up outside. Look, look through the window. There is a meeting, a ceremony. You strain to hear. There is chanting, singing, punctured by the occasional bleat of a goat. Someone speaks: “We offer this sacrifice, so that it may please You, and we may be blessed with a bountiful harvest for the Farmer’s Market this year.”

•  It is that time of year again, the time to prepare the fields. The smell of manure is remarkably strong. It penetrates everything. “Good, fresh country air,” says a man in a straw hat, sniffing dramatically. “Good, fresh country air.” You notice a single tear in the corner of his eye.

•  Stop trying to figure out the quilts. Stop thinking about the quilts. You will never understand. God does not love you.

•  The day is unusually warm, a nice day to go for a swim. You and your friends get your suits on, pack a lunch, and go to the creek. When you arrive at your favorite spot, there is already someone there on the other side of the water, a single Mennonite girl. You ignore each other, unpack your lunch, start to undress to the suits underneath. Suddenly, the girl’s head snaps up. She stares at you with black, sunken eyes. Slowly, she enters the water, fully clothed, still staring. She walks further and further in, until she is completely submerged. She does not come back up. You wait an hour after eating before getting into the water. 

•  It’s time for supper. What are we having tonight? Corn. Always corn.

The Followers of Jakob Ammann,

In the early 1700’s a group of Anabaptist’s from Switzerland and the Palatinate region of Germany began to emigrate to America due to religious wars and persecution. Most settled in Southeastern Pennsylvania, invited by William Penn as part of his policy of religious tolerance and diversity.  Once in America they founded large and prosperous communities in Berks and Lancaster Country, then spread all over the United States.

They called themselves “The Swiss Brethren”.  However because they were the followers of the Swiss Anabaptist Jakob Ammann they soon became known as the Amish.