We were driving from DC to central Ohio to visit some childhood friends when we saw an Amish gentleman driving his horse and cart down highway 30.
“Hey guys, look! It is an Amish guy.” I said.
“Why doesn’t he just buy a car?” one of them asked.
“Well, the Amish don’t drive cars or use electricity in their houses. They are big into manual labor.” I tried to explain while at the same time realizing I don’t really know very much about the Amish religion.
I started to worry about what I was going to tell them. What if the children asked me why the Pennsylvania Dutch didn’t use electricity? I had no idea. Are they allowed to take pictures? I couldn’t even remember if Amish and Mennonite were the same thing. Why didn’t I take World Religions as an elective in college? Why doesn’t anyone ever ask me any questions about women composers? I had an entire semester on that. Urban renewal in the early 90’s? I aced that class. Why did I even bring up the guy driving the cart down the road? They were playing on their iTouches in the back seat. They wouldn’t have seen a thing. Now I was faced with answering questions for which I had no answers. Crap. Were the Amish even Christian? I’d have to look all this up at the next rest stop. Why don’t I have Siri? She would know, wouldn’t she?
I looked in the rear view mirror. I could see that my daughter was about to ask a question. Here we go.
“Okay,” she said “But what I don’t understand is why he was wearing that fake beard.”