Thursday, February 01, 2007
I took the last of my 2006 vacation on my birthday this week allowing me the luxury of sleeping in (until 7AM) and having a leisurely pot of tea with my breakfast. At noon, I drove to my husband's workplace outside a small community north of here, right in the middle of Mennonite country. He often brings home fresh produce, poultry, eggs and maple syrup from the farmers who stop in at the metal fabricating shop. We went out for lunch, and then I drove around the area after he returned to work.
The New Jerusalem Road is a journey into the past. The neat farmhouses have no electricity lines running in from the road. Windmills tower above the barns and out buildings. Neatly printed signs at the end of lane ways advertise fresh eggs, potatoes, fabrics, maple products, but....NO SUNDAY SALES.
I drove by a parochial school where the children, boys in overalls and girls in long dresses, played a co-ed game of shinny on the ice rink in the yard. It felt intrusive to get out and take a photo at that moment. Next door to the school was the Jerusalem Buggy Shop and I took this picture of the sign and the school after the children went in for class.
Down the road I watched a farmer with his pair of work horses as they hauled manure from the barn out to the field. The wind was cold, and the horses and farmer stood in similar postures with their backs to the wind. The farmhouse was beside a small creek that ran under a single lane bridge on the roadway, and a line of freshly laundered clothes blew stiffly in the cold.
I passed a number of horse-drawn vehicles, some like the classic black covered buggy shown above, and other open topped, rubber wheeled wagons with red-cheeked drivers. Some were driven by a lone woman, out running errands or on her way to visit a neighbour.
On the way home, I stopped at the livestock exchange and sat at the back of the auction room as farmers bid on cattle. I sat very still and did not raise my hand even to scratch my nose in case I would inadvertently buy a cow. The auctioneer, in his rapidly spoken English and Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, made no sense to my ears at all.
Driving back home on a busy expressway was a real contrast to my leisurely trek on the country roads. I am not ready to give up modern conveniences, but a little lesson in simplicity is needed once in a while.