Happy Wednesday, readers. Today I’d like to share with you some interesting tidbits I learned from Linda Hitchcock, lifelong Kentucky resident and friend to several Amish and Old Order Mennonite families. One of her good friends works as a “driver” for those who usually use horses and buggies to get around. Her peak driving months are post harvest, from mid-October until around mid-March, when most crops have been planted. The Amish will still drive for doctor and dentist appointments and major grocery shopping trips. But the long-distance travel for weddings and visiting relatives isn’t done, except in rare emergencies like funerals. This driver mentioned that the ultra-conservative, Schwartzentruber Amish, are much quieter during these trips. They don’t make jokes or laugh much, and do not sing along the way. The less conservative Amish sing on long trips and aren’t inclined to be so serious. In Kentucky, most Amish weddings take place during the late fall and winter. January, particularly around New Year’s, is a very popular time for weddings! Drivers of the Amish get their business by word-of-mouth, and often take their clients great distance to North and South Dakotas and beyond, staying with the relatives as their hosts. Amish as now living in thirty states, along with Canada.
Last Saturday I had the rare pleasure of attending a Civil War Reenactment on the beautiful grounds of Hale Farm and Village in Bath, Ohio. I attended with fellow Civil War enthusiast and author, Tamera Lynn Kraft, and fantasy author, Michelle Levigne. This was my first cavalry reenactment and what a difference thirty or forty horses make! The reenactors staged the first day of the 3-day Gettysburg battle, exactly 150 years ago. Those who know and love American history like I do remember the first day was mainly fought on horseback. For those who’ve never attended a living-history demonstration, this was a 2-day event that drew thousands of tourists and involved hundreds of reenactors–men, women and children–from all over the country. They staged artillery and cavalry demonstration, showed camp life complete with apple pies baking in campfire skillets, sold handmade nineteenth century (reproduction) garb, weaponry and accoutrements, and of course had Abraham Lincoln delivering his famous address. But the best was the actual battle, fought with hundreds of dedicated historians, North and South. I was truly impressed how authentic the battle was staged. The soldiers began in the woods, moved onto the battlefield, and then ended with a rout through the village (exactly how it happened in Gettysburg). Although we all know the final result of the 3 day battle, day number one was a resounding Southern victory, with the Confederates occupying the town at day’s end. So for my southern friends and relatives….this reenactment was right up your alley! And for us Yankees, and just plain lovers of American history? A good time was had by one and all! Have a great week, and happy reading! Mary