Sunday, September 27, 2015

Amish Babies

        Over the years, it has been common practice for Amish families to not mention that a baby is on the way. My wife and I have been close friends with an Amish couple for a long time. When we were having babies (we are past that stage now) it was something we talked about. The woman warned us that her mother would not like it if she new that we discussed pregnancy... that was just not a topic to be discussed. Of course, me and my big mouth, I forgot and said something one time. We were visiting and Grandma lived in a little house that was attached to the big farm house. She stopped in and talked with us for a few minutes and I was looking for a conversation piece. I mentioned, "It looks like your daughter will be going to the hospital any day now." She gave a blank expression and asked, "What?" I immediately knew I had blown it and fumbled with words to try and recover. Fortunately, she played dumb and let me off the hook.

        My wife's grandparents were Mennonites who lived in the heart of Amish country. Their Amish neighbors used to stop by often and borrow things or use the phone. Grandpa was not a hired driver, but all of his Amish neighbors knew they could stop in at any time of the night for a "baby run." When it was getting close to delivery time, they would stop in and warn him that they would be needing a driver coming up soon.

       One night my wife's grandparents woke to the sound of an Amishman's voice calling up their stairway. "Alvie, my wife is ready to go to the hospital now." Grandpa called down, "Okay, I'll be over as soon as I can get dressed!" He hurried downstairs, but the Amishman had gone on back home to help his wife out of the house. Grandpa drove to his Amish neighbor's, the one who had stopped by a few days before to arrange a ride, and everything was dark. Nobody seemed to be coming out of the house, so he knocked on the door. Grandpa asked, "Didn't you just stop in my home a few minutes ago, looking for a ride to the hospital?"
          "Not tonight!"
          "Well, someone did," Grandpa explained, "and whoever they are, they are waiting for me!"  His Amish neighbors discussed which other Amish couple might possibly need to go on a "baby run" soon, and sent Grandpa down the road. As he pulled into that drive he found an Amish couple anxiously awaiting his arrival. Apparently, the man had just assumed that Grandpa would recognize his voice and know why he stopped in, even though he hadn't made previous arrangements.

  Our whole family has enjoyed the retelling of this story many times.

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