My Thoughts About One of My Favorite Places--Northeastern Indiana's Amish Country

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Buying a Paddleboat

Sometimes a day doesn’t turn out like you planned.

Last winter my husband and I were in Amish Indiana, and we decided to stop and visit my main and original Amish friends, Glenn and Ruth.  I had left a voice mail for them, saying that we would be in town and if they wanted to go anywhere, if they had any errands, we would be happy to take them for a drive.  (The Amish don’t have phones in their homes, but they share “phone shanties” out by the road.)  Glenn called back and said that he’d been wanting to look at paddleboats at the Menard’s store in Goshen, and while we were there, why not go out for lunch together?   In addition, Gary and I had found a 10% off coupon good at Menard’s. 

Goshen, seventeen miles from their farm in Lagrange, is too far to drive with a buggy, especially in a snowstorm.  But our Jeep has no problems with the weather, so off we went.  Paddleboats are apparently a big thing with the Amish; they use them for an afternoon of fishing on the many lakes in the area.  Besides that, their grandkids love them!

Later, at the Menards in Goshen, we realized that the paddleboats were on sale (it being the middle of winter).  Adding the coupon to that, it seemed like a very good time to buy.  But there was a catch—in order to use the coupon, the boat had to be taken home that day, not delivered at a later date.  But how to get it home?

My handy husband went out and took a look at the Jeep and then came back in the store and said, “I think we can get this thing home for you.”  There followed a flurry of activity by Glenn, my husband, and several Menard’s employees.  In the end, the boat was held on top of the jeep by twine and not much else, and off we went.  I took this picture a few minutes later, in the Aldi’s parking lot, when there was a break in the snowstorm.

Slowly and carefully, we drove the seventeen miles back to the farm, my husband keeping the car as steady as possible—especially on turns!—while the other three of us looked up at the boat out of the windows, watching for slippage.  The snow came down, the plastic flapped in the wind, but the boat stayed put.

It wasn’t our fastest trip across Amish Indiana, but it worked.  We unloaded the boat at the farm an hour later and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.  Glenn got the boat at a very low sale price and didn’t have to pay for delivery. 

The last I heard, he was looking forward to using the boat this spring on the lake near two of his children’s homes.  He has outfitted it with an anchor, and some straps to attach it to another paddleboat in case of a group fishing expedition.  Maybe my husband and I will take it for a spin some time.


  1. Susan, I just stumbled on this blog from your genealogy blog and must say I love the way you write. The Amish have always fascinated me, too, but as I live on the West Coast, reading your blog will substitute for a trip out there for now. It must have taken quite some time to get that paddleboat to Glenn and Ruth, but I'll bet they will be ever grateful to you and your husband.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. It's always great to be able to give my Amish friends a hand. It definitely was dicey (this trip), just having that boat held up there by twine!... I'm glad you can visit the Amish vicariously thru me. :-]

  2. I have had a heart for the Amish for many years and I am enjoying your Blog.
    This was an interesting article and fun to see the paddleboat on the top of your jeep, finding that in that part of the country they use them for fun :)