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

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Riding the Chicago "L" with the Amish

I have mentioned that my boss has been drawn into my love of Amish Indiana, ever since he drove six of my Amish friends from Indiana to Illinois for my wedding in 2007. 

One time a few years back he decided to invite some of my Amish friends to Chicago for a day of sightseeing, and it was a day of sightseeing like no other.  We went to the Shedd Aquarium, ate lunch at the Signature Room Restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, walked around Millennium Park, stopped at a Jewish deli, and rode “The L”—the Chicago subway/elevated train system—where, as it turned out, we made a stranger’s day.  Recently my Amish friend Ruth asked me to tell that story again.

Even an Amishman can have a “bucket list”—and one of the Amish in our party had always wanted to ride The L.  So we (about eight Amish and six “English” in our party) bought tickets and took three or four rides around (and under) the city.  We got some looks, but downtown Chicago is a diverse place, so not as many as you might think!  At one stop, while we waited for our train, I noticed a young female train employee looking at us and talking excitedly into her cell phone, looking close to tears.  When I stepped closer, she said to me, “Are those real Amish people?”  I assured her that they were, and she got even more excited.  She said, “I saw a special on TV about the Amish one time, and I so admire their faith and their way of life.  I’ve always wanted to meet an Amish person for real.  This is really something!”  So I thought I’d see what I could do to help her cross something off her bucket list…  I called over two of my Amish friends and introduced them to her, and she introduced herself to them.

The young woman then told them of her admiration for their lifestyle and their faithfulness to their beliefs, tears running down her face.  She said she was talking to her mother on her cell phone.  As she talked to us, she said things to her mother such as, “Yeah, Mama, they're real Amish people!  Yeah, honestly, for real!  What a blessing!  This is such a blessing!”

My Amish friends were happy to make her acquaintance—and also to make her day.  What a blessing,  indeed.

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