For many years I stayed at a Bed & Breakfast called Weaver’s Country Oaks quite regularly. It was out on old State Route 20, south and east of Shipshewana, in the home of Lamar (Rocky) and Catherine Weaver. A shed out back was the workshop for Rocky’s sign-painting business. I liked to go back there with him and see what he was up to. Sometimes I would take an old discarded sign off his ‘burn pile’ and take it home with me. For years I had an old sign he created for a clothing shop displayed over the washer and dryer in my basement. Back in those days, many of the local shop signs were his work, signed with his name.
I enjoyed the many evenings I spent at the Weavers’ home, and they were the ones who first introduced me to my Amish friends. But eventually the B&B got to be too much for them and they sold their country home and moved into Middlebury. I saw Catherine a few times after that, since she worked in a local shop, but Rocky died in 2004—a victim of the heart problems that ran in his family.
Rocky painted signs to make a living, but what he really loved was painting local scenes. Late in his life he got a chance to do one that would live on after he was gone. It covers the wall over the entrance at the Yoder’sRed Barn Shoppes building, on Route 5, near the flea market grounds. The mural is 12 by 24 feet in size and took Rocky six months to paint in 2002. He signed it in the lower right corner, as he did so many of his creations.
Rocky’s work can also be seen on the walls of Rulli’sItalian Restaurant in Middlebury—he created all kinds of Italian motifs and faux bricks and alcoves that are a delight to the eye.
But my favorite work of Rocky’s is one that he gave me on one of my many visits there—this little box. I keep little treasures in it—but the best treasure is the box itself, and the memories it brings back of Rocky and Catherine and staying at Weaver’s Country Oaks.