Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Drive to Lancaster County

The farm to the rear of the White Horse

Thanks to the loving protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I am home in one piece.  As I have written about previously, my father is struggling with giving up some of his independence and refuses to be tested to keep his license.  I agreed to go with them today thinking I would drive, but a large argument broke out and my father became quite belligerent.  In the end, I let him drive, but what happened is, I believe, enough for him and my mother to both agree something is amiss.  He could not negotiate turns, even on the simplest roads, without turning wide into the opposite lane.  Fortunately, no one was coming when this happened.  On the way home, just a mile from their house, he did not recognize where he was.  My mother then took over at the wheel.  Also, he had trouble counting out change, and when he got gas, he didn't get a full tank and couldn't figure out why.  He's frustrated because he is completely deaf in one ear and thinks we're talking behind his back.  We weren't but it doesn't help that he's not only lost so much of his hearing but always has a need to know everything.  At dinner, I noticed his hand shaking so much he could hardly hold the glass without spilling something.  It's just so difficult because he gets angry and nasty so quickly.  My mother is no help whatsoever.  So I think I will need to be a bit more involved than either one of them would like me to be.
The White Horse Inn, which is an actual inn offering food, drink and lodging and a superb view of the buggies.

Anyway, here are some photos from today.  The Amish were out in full force.  If I didn't have so much respect for their desire not to be photographed, I could have gotten some great pictures.  Today is the Annual Lyme Auction, where they buy everything from buggies to hand-carved furniture.  I saw an Amish volley ball game, tons of horses and buggies, and lots of adorable children on scooters traveling back and forth from the auction.  The weather cooperated as well.
Kaufman's, a wonderful little Mennonite grocery store which also sells apples from the family orchard and other locally-grown produce.  

The Bird-in-Hand bakery had, for the first time that I've noticed, fastnachts. I bought a half-dozen to compare to my own.  I picked up the donut mix and some other goodies from Kaufman's, shown in one of the pictures, and we had dinner at the quaint little White Horse Inn.  Across the road from the Inn is an Amish farm owned by a man I'll simply call Amos.  He owns a major Amish bakery and after the markets close on Saturday, what remains is brought back to his farm and sold at a greatly reduced price.  It's fun to watch the buggies come and go along with minivans, etc.  The house does not look like a typical Amish farmhouse.  In fact, my dad jokingly refers to Amos as a millionaire Amishman.
The house where Amish baked goods are brought back at the conclusion of the day for quick sale.

We saw a little of wooly white lambs and it won't be long before the broodmares drop their foals.  We are so fortunate to live so close to what is truly God's country.

Another view of the Amish farm at the rear of the White Horse.  You can't see him, but there was a paint who was very interested in what I was doing.  I'm not one for trespassing, so I didn't get any closer than this.


  1. Oh ..You brought back great memories with these pictures..It really is God's country. We used to get these Amish chocolate doughnuts that have spoiled me forever. Never had one since that compared. Then I'd go to a fabric store and buy material for baby quilts and other sewing notions. Some of kindest people you'll ever meet.
    So sorry for the challenges with your mom and dad. I'll pray for your strength and patience.
    Blessings and +PAX

  2. Thank you Caroline, I need prayers to have the strength and courage to do what's right. Both of them get so angry at me when I try to reason with them. I know it can't be easy not only to age but to give up independence. It's a good lesson for me on how NOT to be when my turn comes.
    Have a wonderful and blessed day tomorrow!

  3. What a great blog Joyce. It's been many years since i drove through there. I used to have to go to York, PA (which I think is thereabouts, a little west or southwest) for business trips and i have taken a side trip or two through that Lancaster area. It is very pretty country, and the Amish are certainly different.

    My prayers for your father. That situation is very hard for everyone.

  4. I sold for years for an oil company, and my territory was Susquehanna River to the Atlantic, top to bottom of PA and Jersey, so I know every nook and cranny in this whole area, needing no map.

    In all this area, I had made up my mind to fall in love with Amish Country. You are on the southern route with Bird-In-Hand, while I generally came in northerly by Earl Township and New Holland. The people are incredible.

    In Bethlehem, (where I lived)I took the road to Emaus each week to grocery shop (cheaper there), and not once in three years did I meet anyone I knew.

    I shopped in an Amish outlet in New Holland outskirts....I think "Amelia's" and an Amish lass of perhaps 17 or 18, did my groceries with efficiency, and still looking like food after being packed. I did not buy meats or cold items as my day would be several hours before heading home. But a buck a box for corn flakes meant 30 boxes for me and huge savings.
    The young lady asked me my name and smiled. I told her.
    I visited a month later to see canned goods.
    In checkout, she bid me farewell BY NAME.
    I could not believe she remembered. Fine folks.

    Outside Ephrata, but before Lancaster, an old Amish woman sold at a stand, across the street from an Amish schoolhouse. No curtains in the houses; no electric lines to be seen.

    I approached alone, and she was out back.
    A woman drove up and began to grab all of the jars of jelly and jam, and place one of each at the counter.

    The Amish lady came back out front, and asked "How Many?" to the woman.
    She replied "A dozen of each".
    I did not know these were display items, and the actual canned goods were in a basement. The old woman skedaddled downstairs and retrieved the jams.

    I asked the woman as we waited, if it was worth buying. She told me not to buy ONE jar, but 6 to 12, depending on which variety I liked. And she added I could never buy a better tasting jam anywhere. I bought 24. The woman was right.

    On a heavier note, your dad and his dilemma, coupled with hearing loss breaks a heart.

    Hearing loss isolates; so does deafness.
    But our society does not like to repeat anything----get it the first time said or get left out.
    This leads to further withdrawal from rejection, and the cycle worsens.
    I felt that for your dad.

    But his problem sounds more akin to Alzheimers.
    You are a nurse and there; I do not know.
    But the best book on Alzheimer's for caregivers and family is

    "Walking one another home: moments of grace and possibility in the midst of Alzheimer's"
    by Rita Bresnahan

    I have read it often and given it away even more. Her mom had Alzheimers and she walked in on her mom one day, frozen in horror.
    Relief was difficult. In the end, the mom had tried to apply her makeup. But when she opened her compact, it was upside down and she was not looking in the mirror part. The mom was staring at the makeup cake and all it's grooves and cracks, and was sure this was her mirror reflection. The daughter, ....turned the compact rightside relieve her mom.

    Simple, yet complex.
    My sister's husband went to work (around age 60 as I recall) and in returning home, he got lost, and drove and drove....never able to find his way home, only six miles away.
    Doctor conclusion? Alzheimers.
    My sister handled him as best she could for a couple of years, but they had 10 kids too (a Catholic thing you know), and he was hospitalised.

    I played chess with him for decades, but in the hospital, he told me "you scared me", yet, he fully knew my young daughter.

    I spoke to him of a Nursery we built and planted 200,000 a town called Little Hope. He was back as if he was 30 years old and knew everything. The disease makes no sense.

    But from what you wrote Joyce, get the book in paperback and see if the tips apply to your dad.
    The wisdom within will aplly regardless of his malady.
    I shall remember him in my prayers as "The Bigger Way".

  5. I'm sorry about the problems you are facing with your parents. My mother and aunt had to go through the same thing with my grandmother but worse, they were many states away so had to fly back and forth. They never convinced her to stop driving, even at 100. She lived in a small town so they just asked the mechanic to tell her the car couldn't be fixed. There was a lot of tension during those years. On another note, I wish I could have accompanied you to this Amish area. I would love to go to the market. I'll bet they have some wonderful jellies and always my favorite, apple butter. Keeping you in my prayers.

  6. I appreciate everyone's kind words and offers of prayer. Keystone, I will look into the book you recommended.

  7. Agh! I am getting homesick! But thanks for the pictures and mini tour :) We lived close by--my eldest daughter went to a Mennonite school for 7th grade, and we once belonged to a Charismatic Mennonite church. Driving her to school amongst all the buggies lost it's quaint appeal pretty quickly!

    Oh! your poor parents--it must be SO hard to be at that point in life. And poor you, having to be the one to be the voice of bad news. Or so it may seem to them. I will most certainly pray for all of you! ♥

  8. Sorry to hear about your Dad...must be very hard!!
    Your pictures are AWESOME though!! I've never been to that area, but it looks BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for sharing them and your Dad will be in my prayers!

  9. I am so sorry about the challenges you are facing with your parents. It is so difficult, but I am sure you will do a good job with the times ahead.

    Did I ever tell you I was born in PA? And my father was from that part of the world. The photos bring back some very lovely memories.

    Thank you.

  10. Mary Christine, no I did not know you were from PA. I have would love to live there but I'm in the minority in my family, plus I would find it most difficult not to have Mass and Adoration within walking distance of my house. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  11. My daughter majored in Chinese in college and spent her junior year in Taipei. The following summer her Taiwanese roommate visited us. Since we live 40 minutes from Lancaster, we decided to make a daytrip there.
    Hui Fang never got the hang of the Amish. Despite all our explanations in both English and Mandarin, she remained convinced we had taken her to a very large theme park, and that the Amish were all actors who did a fantastic job of remaining in character.

  12. Julie, that is so funny! I feel very lucky to live in such close proximity that I can visit the area with just a 90 minute drive. I would love the horse and buggy part, and the simple life where all revolves around God, so long as I could keep the Catholic Mass part.


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