When I was in college I had the opportunity to study Amish culture as a participant observer. I hung around a family in northern Indiana, tried to blend in, and did what they did. I learned a lot: how to milk a cow, how to drive a buggy, and (best of all) how to quilt.
This morning (almost 40 years later) I find myself thinking about that experience again and how different our two cultures are.
Amish people may have relatives strewn over several states, they are great letter writers, some travel, but the their closest relationships are with family and extended family. For the most part, day-to-day interactions are within a closed community limited by shared faith and geography.
Our cultures were much closer before the industrial revolution. Every technological advancement the Amish chose not to embrace since then has made us more different now. Our world has expanded, their world….not so much.
I think of the wide circle of friends who enrich my life. Very few are within a buggy ride’s distance from my home. My job has me crisscrossing the country and sometimes takes me even farther afield. Cars, cell phones, email, FaceBook, and FaceTime allow us to connect with each other in so many ways. What a tremendous opportunity!
Cathy Miller (The Singing Quilter) and her husband John Bunge, on their way from Maine to Indiana, stayed the night with us last night. We keep up “electronically” and when we see each other it’s as if time has stood still. As awesome as it is to connect this newfangled way, it is so much more satisfying face to face.
What a blessing that we can have it both ways.
Cathy and John slept in our “guest room” and we use the term loosely. The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative quilts are in there, so while they may not have slept under 1,000 quilts, they did sleep in close proximity.
Cathy is a huge supporter of the AAQI. When she attends International Quilt Festival in Houston, she always volunteers her time in the AAQI booth where we sell Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts and invents songs on the spot for anyone buying a quilt on her shift.
It was only fitting that Cathy helped pull quilts for an order that came in yesterday afternoon. Now that I think of it, I should have asked her to sing! Maybe not. She worked pretty hard for most of the evening playing fetch with Scooter who was unrelenting. (You can read more on Cathy’s blog.)
Safe travels, my friends! I know they’re going to love you to pieces in Indianapolis tonight!