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

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A June Wedding

I had the privilege of being invited to another Amish wedding this past summer, and better yet, to be invited to (a) the main event in the morning, with lunch following (as opposed to the 5:00 p.m. dinner event), and (b) the 7:00 p.m. youth gathering.   

This happened because my dear husband Gary took my place doing a bus tour all day so that I could go to the wedding… so the bride and groom invited me to come back at 7 p.m. with Gary.  The 7 p.m. youth seating has a different menu, and the added bonus of singing afterwards, so it was a treat!  I wrote about the 7 p.m. wedding singings previously, and I’ll put the link below. 

I didn’t know if I’d have a lot to write about, since I’ve written about Amish weddings a number of times before, but the bride had asked me to take some pictures of the reception venue beforehand, and that was different!  So I thought I’d share those.  The way it works these days is this: Often the actual wedding is held at a neighbor’s farm, and the reception (four meals over the course of the day) is held at the bride’s home farm, and that’s what happened at this one.  So, I didn’t take any photos at the wedding venue (that would have been frowned upon), but I was able to get lots of pictures of the reception venue, which was beautiful. 

The first thing I saw was the gift tent.  There were more gifts on tables down the side that don’t show in the picture below.  Notice that the gifts are often practical gifts, wrapped in practical ways, such as using a bath towel.  The benches are set up for those who hang around after the noon meal to watch the couple open their gifts.  Little kids, girls especially, tend to gather along the front, hoping to score a pretty bow.

It takes a team of about 40 cooks to prepare the 1,000 or so meals that are served at a typical Amish wedding.  I managed to get this picture of some of them at work, below.  They all wear matching dresses, in the usual Amish style.

This was an especially large wedding, so there were 15 pairs of table waiters.  Each pair (a young man and a young woman) is responsible for serving one table.  In the evening, there are a different set of table waiters (usually family members), so that the first set of table waiters can go to the 7:00 meal and singing with their young friends.  Here is the “cheat sheet” for the table waiters at Table #5, below:

Here (below) is the main reception venue, which was set up in an outbuilding on the farm.  Seen in the center is the table for the wedding party (bride, groom, two other couples who act as their “witnesses”).  The next picture shows the wedding party table close-up.

This wedding was large enough to need a secondary reception venue, which was a large tent set up next to the main one, near where the cooks were doing their main work.

There is always a wedding cake, which these days, is typically made at a regular commercial wedding cake bakery.  With hundreds of guests, it has to be a big one!  I believe it is typically cut and served at the 5:00 p.m. meal.

This couple also had two small cakes, which were set in front of the seats of their two surviving grandmothers.  I’d not seen grandmother cakes before!

An Amish bride doesn’t carry flowers, but there are often flowers at the reception.  Typically, there are arrangements at each table, as well as other arrangements as the bride wants to have.

And lastly, on top of the five or six delicious desserts served at an Amish wedding feast, this one also had these cute cupcakes!  I hope you enjoyed this rare peek at an Amish wedding reception venue. :-)


More posts about Amish weddings I’ve attended:

Wedding prep:

Evening singings:

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Speakin' Dutch


As I’ve mentioned before, the Amish are actually a tri-lingual people. 

There’s “Pennsylvania Dutch” or “Dutch,” the colloquial form of German that is their mother tongue.  That’s the language they use amongst themselves, and it’s the only language they know until starting school at age seven.  It’s mainly a spoken language, and is rarely written.  As time goes on, more and more English words creep into the Dutch, kind of like they’ve crept in to Spanish to make “Spanglish.”

Then there’s English.  That’s the language of their formal education, so they learn to read, write, and speak it when they start school.  Some kids start picking it up much younger, though, just by keeping their ears open.  But they are very shy about speaking it!  English is their written language when corresponding.

Then lastly, there’s “German.”  This is not German as it’s spoken in Europe today, but rather, an old German, similar to what was spoken in Europe in the 1600s.  (Think of it as the German equivalent of Shakespearean English or the King James Bible compared to modern English.)  Old German is the language of the Amish hymnbook (The Ausbund) and the Amish Bible.  Many Amish also have King James Bibles, or parallel versions which contain both.  This form of German is taught in the upper grades of their formal education, usually in grades 3 to 8.  Amish schoolrooms have the Old German script on posters on the wall, above the English ones.  This language is mainly written, but not often spoken, unless it’s to quote from the Amish Bible.  I talked more about this subject in my post entitled “Wheelchair Mary.”

So, after five years living here, I’ve become very fluent in Pennsylvania Dutch. 

No, actually, I’ve made a very poor start!  Here’s what I know, and it ain’t much:

“Vie bisht du?”  That means, “How are you?”

“Vo bisht du?”  That means, “Where are you?”

 “Hops ga du fa dich.”  That means, “I did that for you; I took care of that.”

“Esse” means “eat,” as in Essenhaus Inn restaurant.

“Mom” and “Dad” are the same as Mom and Dad in English.

“Dawdy” or “Dawdi” or “Doddy” is how they say Grandpa, and Grandma is “Mommy.”  Thus, farms might have a Dawdi Haus for the grandparents, which I’ve written about before, in this post.  Some of my little Amish friends call me “Mommy Sue,” which melts my heart! <3

“Youngies” are the “young people”—those who are 16 or older up until marriage, typically.  Some have joined the Amish church, and some haven’t.  “Youngies” might go to singings on Sunday nights, and they have lots of other social activities, mostly centered around music, sports, volunteer work, travel, and just plain socializing.  There are 2,000-3,000 youngies in this community.

“Rumspringen” is literally “running around,” and is the name for what the youngies do before they join church (as 90% of them eventually do).  But I won’t open that can of worms today!

So it’s safe to say that my Amish friends and I switch to English when conversing!…  But I do enjoy listening to them speak Dutch and try to pick out enough words to get the gist of what they’re saying.

Also interesting to me are the Amish figures of speech.  They have some of the same ones we do, but also some unique ones, and I will give an example here (in English)…  Instead of saying someone is , “not hitting on all 8 cylinders” or “not playing with a full deck,” they might say, “He’s got a couple noodles hanging off the plate.”  I wish I knew more of these!  I’m gonna start paying more attention. 

One more note about language:  The Amish in the downstate Fort Wayne area—Allen and Adams Counties—are the “Swiss Amish,” and they speak a different dialect entirely.  I wrote about that here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Back to Krider Garden

 I live in Middlebury, which is 8 or 9 miles west of Shipshewana, and we have the most wonderful shade garden here.  I wrote about it a few years ago, in this post, but when I took my dog Velcro (also the star of a post) back to Krider Garden a few weeks ago, I thought I’d add to my previous post.  It’s still a lovely place on a hot day, and there are some new things there.

There’s plenty of parking here, and Velcro and I just started wandering around, front to back and then up to the front again. 

Here are some views we got, below.  Along with grass, trees, and shade plants, there are also lots of water features and lots of places to sit down.

Krider has always had some large art features that were brought back from the 1932 Chicago World’s Fair.  But this time I noticed some new art.  I think this column fountain and stone bench have been here forever, actually, but I’m certain the gardening man, the stork, and the tree sculpture are fairly new.  (I believe it's part of some kind of art loan program.)

Also new:  An excellent restroom building alongside the bike trail, with water available too.  There’s a rentable picnic pavilion nearby, also along the bike trail.

Krider may be pretty, but it’s not entirely magical!  I saw plenty of slug damage in a few places, and also an example of what a deer likes to do to a hosta.  Other areas needed a good weeding, but until I’m ready to volunteer there, I can’t complain about that! 

The Pumpkinvine Bike Trail runs alongside the Krider Garden.  If you follow it from the back of the garden across a wooden bridge for about a quarter mile, you arrive at Dips on the Vine, a nice ice cream place that even has pup cups for your canine friends.

Stop by this place if you need a quiet hour...  

Here's an updated map (2023), also available onsite:

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Yoder Popcorn: An Update

I wrote about Yoder Popcorn a few years back, in this post, when they were located out in the country south of Shipshewana. 

That building is now a veterinarian’s office, and Yoder Popcorn has moved to a big new location at the south end of town.  It’s located at the corner of State Road 5 and U.S. 20—the corner known around here as “5 & 20.”  The building houses Five Lakes Coffee, the Corn Crib Café, a beauty shop, and a medical office, but today we’re focusing on the main event!

So I stopped in the other day to take some pictures of the new shop and pick up a supply of our favorite—microwave with butter—that has spoiled us for any other brand!...  They’ve got all the old favorites here, and room for more.

There are lots of varieties of popcorn, of course (both regular and microwave) which is locally grown; seasonings; popcorn poppers of every kind; bowls, and anything else popcorn-related.

This corn crib has a door in it that leads to the hallway that runs to the restrooms and also to Five Lakes Coffee and the Corn Crib Café.  Cute touch!

Yoder Popcorn has a special tractor for competitive tractor pulls...  It is yellow, and it has the best name ever.  What a beast!! 

For more information on Yoder Popcorn, take a look at their website, here.