A few days ago I mentioned on Facebook that my Amish cousin Katie Shetler would be coming down to visit us during the Christmas holiday, and if anyone had questions they’d like to ask an actual Amish person they could post them in the comments section and I’d ask Katie.
Here is the result. These are the things people wanted to know, and what Katie had to say about it. As closely as I could, I wrote the answers in Katie’s own words.
Carol Pitts asks:
Does the average Amish man/woman study the Bible and what is their belief about Jesus Christ?
Katie: I think everybody, in their heart, believes in Jesus Christ, but some don’t quite understand Grace. There is a very wide spectrum of denominations among the Amish, from the most conservative or strict to the most liberal, and everything in between. …
His name was Charles A. Crowe, named after Charles A. Lindbergh. His folks didn’t know Lindy’s middle name, so the A was just an initial. If you asked Charlie what it stood for he’d say, “Whatever you like.”
He did two tours in Vietnam during his twenty years in the Army, and raised two fine daughters, one of whom I was lucky enough to marry.
He lost his first wife to cancer when she was fifty-three, and a few years later he married again, to a woman who, like him, had lost a spouse. Mary’s kids, like his, were grown and married.
Charlie was Alabama born and raised, one part belligerent cuss and one part saint. He had an opinion about everything, punctuated with a hand chop, a jutting chin and just enough of a twinkle in his eye to let you know he didn’t really take himself that seriously.
He teased everybody constantly, and we all loved it. He called my boys “shy-poke”.
I bought a new Mini Cooper a few months ago (you can see part of it in the bottom left of the picture), and I decided to drive it up to Ohio for the signing tour I’m doing right now in Amish country for my new book, Paradise Valley. The Mini and I have bonded. We were friends before, but we’re battle-tested brothers in arms now. I’m a Georgia boy, and we don’t get a lot of snow down there. Ohio is a different story. It started snowing on me four days ago in West Virginia and it hasn’t stopped yet. The Mini is remarkably sure-footed on these twisty, hilly, snow-slick country roads, and the steering is tight enough to avoid the occasional horse-drawn buggy that surprises me just over the crest of a hill, or the tractor-drawn combine, or bicycle, or Amish woman on foot, pulling a wagon with six babies in it.
The roads aren’t the problem. Not really. There may be some asphalt down there someplace under the permafrost, but from the driver’s seat the roads…
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