After slaDE and I picked up an unexpected full size truck cap purchased through a dealer between Elora and Fergus, we made our way for a very special dinner invitation. What an amazing opportunity we were being gifted this evening. slaDE, myself, my Father and his wife Karen were invited to the home of an Amish family (very similar to the Mennonites, in both beliefs and lifestyle) for dinner. My Father has worked with Harvey for many years, and during that time, has established a friendship based on trust and integrity. Last winter, slaDE spent some time getting to know Harvey as well, but tonight was the first time he had met all of the children and their Mother. From my understanding, an extended invitation in to an Amish family’s home is a treat. Being welcomed and offered an evening meal, now that’s a very rare occurrence (if one is not part of their community). And for this, I feel very honoured and blessed. A sparkling moment in my memory bank that I will not soon forget.
Harvey and his wife Verna have 10 children, from the ages of 19 years to 6 months of age: Catherine, Calvin, Wayne, Nathan, Paul, Julie-Ann, Judy-Lynn, Norman, Jason and Arnold – 7 boys and 3 girls. Of course, being the avid photographer that I am, I was thoroughly entranced by the simplistic beauty that they called their home. Very little decoration existed in their simple house, yet they happily subsist with the basic comforts of living. My basic and their essential standards are quite different. An Amish lifestyle does not include the comforts of electricity. So imagine this: no computers, television, lights, phones, or appliances. The wood stove helped to take the edge of chill from the air and a Naptha gas lamp was used once the darkness started to settle. A lovely glow surrounded the table as all the children looked on in awe at these unique strangers in their home. After an amazing and delicious meal was consumed with the peal of lavish conversation and much laughter, slaDE pulled out his laptop, showing the family some footage from our skydive and scuba adventure in to the Blue Hole in Belize. I’m not even sure if the kids have ever seen a laptop, let alone any skydiving footage. I’m thinking that we opened some marvellous doors in the imagination of the children and adults if revealed by the vibrancy of their captivated faces. As the glow of the lamp lit up each other shining faces, I looked on in wonderment at their glowing iridescent faces, entranced by the whole experience of that moment. It was truly an amazing experience to share with them.
I understand that the taking of photographs is not considered appropriate by the Amish or Mennonite tradition. In fact, posing for a photograph is discouraged by their religion as it is seen by many of their faith as an act of vanity. So I respected their beliefs but managed to capture one photo of the evening. The smell, sound and sight of the Naphtha lamp intrigued me. After a quick photo was taken, we left them with some of my cubby hole cleanse donations that I thought might be useful for their family. Hope you enjoy my small window into their world.