Where did summer go?

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 30, 2007

It is hard to believe that this is the last day of July.

I mean, where did the summer go?

Soon it will be time to go pack and move back into my dorm room.

I can’t believe my last year of college is almost here.

I have had a great time working here at the News Herald and spending time with my family.

But I was excited when I had a chance to go on vacation.

Last week, I went with my grandparents to Pennsylvania and we stayed in the Amish Country.

It is kind of funny because that same week, my brother was gone too.

He went to the beach with his friend Willie and his family.

So, Brooks was the only child for a week.

She enjoyed that.

Mama, Papa and I left early last Monday morning in hopes that we would avoid the traffic around Washington D.C.

And when I say early, I mean early as in 2 a.m.

I am not a morning person.

I never have been and probably never will be.

So, I slept most of drive there and I don’t really remember going through D.C.

The traffic must have been awful though because my Papa declared that even if he had to go through California to get home, he would rather do that than go through D.C. again.

We stayed in the heart of Amish Country at Intercourse and also at Bird- in- Hand and we went through Lancaster.

All of those farmers out there know that New Holland makes tractors and other farm equipment.

Well, there is also a town in Pennsylvania called New Holland and we went there.

Of course, we visited the New Holland store where they had a lot of blue tractors out front and it was very cool.

Many Amish people farm for a living, so there was a lot of farmland.

The farmland was beautiful and we rode around some and just admired the beautiful scenery.

One day we took a bus tour.

Our bus driver was a Mennonite and his parents were Amish before they left the church, so he knew a lot about the Amish people and their traditions.

For example, the Amish people don’t have electricity in their houses.

I also learned that the Amish people do not collect Social Security benefits and they do not believe in welfare.

They also don’t have Medicare or Medicaid.

They think those programs are handouts from the government and they refuse to receive them.

Similarly, the Amish do not have private health insurance.

Our driver said that if an Amish person has a health emergency and needs money to pay hospital bills, then the community will help raise money to pay the bills.

The driver also said that the Amish believe in taking care of each other and work together.

Amish people wear dark colored clothing; they do not own clothes with prints or patterns.

They also do not believe in buttons.

Instead, they use hook and eyes on their clothes.

Amish farmers use horse drawn equipment to tend the land and all their equipment has metal, not rubber, tires.

Some of the main crops grown are corn, hay, wheat, tobacco and soybeans.

Old Order Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German.

The Amish do not believe in owning and driving cars, but they will accept rides from others.

Amish children finish their education in the eighth grade.

The children attend school in a one or two room private schoolhouse with an Amish teacher.

I also learned that some Amish people do have telephones, but they are kept outside in a little house by themselves.

I thought that all of these facts were interesting.

I like learning about other people’s traditions because it helps me understand them better.

I ate very well on this trip.

In fact, I probably ate too much.

We visited several country roadside stands and places to get homemade food.

They had pies, cakes, cream cheese sticks, soft pretzels, etc.

It was all awesome.

The quilts that the Amish ladies make are so beautiful.

They have so many different patterns and colors.

Our guide said that a good quilter can get 12 stitches in an inch.

It also takes an Amish lady anywhere from nine to 12 months to make a quilt.

Mama and Papa bought a new quilt and it is very pretty.

The colors are so bright and happy.

I had an awesome time on this trip and I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with my grandparents.