I found a memory card on my desk this morning, it was under some papers. I never know what such cards hold, so I popped it into my computer and out came photos of the Adams County, Indiana Amish community. In this case, it was a "memory card" in more ways than one, since I have so many memories there.
The Amish population in Adams County, Indiana is markedly different than other areas. This is a community that has deep Swiss ties. The dialect is different, so much so that Amish people from here conversing with Amish elsewhere might not be able to understand one another.
I have many fond memories of the Adams County, Indiana settlement, having spent much time there over the past 20 years. In some ways, it's one of my favorite settlements, because of sentimentality and history. You can cruise the grid of rural roads outside of Geneva and Berne and feel a palpable sense of timelessness, to a great extent what you're seeing today is what you would have seen yesterday and the year before and before. Sure, much of that is a mirage. Beneath the surface the Amish here are changing as everywhere else. But in some ways, this community is still true to its roots. Still, in other ways, Adams County isn't my favorite community. The Amish from this settlement have a different outlook from those elsewhere (speaking in a broad sense), but that is a topic for another day. Regardless of my conflicting feelings about the Amish here, I will share some scenes from this settlement collected over the years.
The first picture is of a boy and his Mom riding in a buggy while bundled beneath an umbrella on a rainy summer afternoon. Yes, the Adams County settlement still hews to the tradition of the open buggy. The open buggy can be very pleasant on a temperate autumn afternoon or beautiful spring day, but not so much during rainy or icy winter weather.
Ah, nothing like fresh eggs, and a dozen for a buck? I'll take some:) Can't beat that and that is one of the things I do enjoy about driving around Adams County; discovering the many home-based businesses that dot the countryside, whether it's an egg seller or fresh melons.
Adams County is also notable for its large population of "ex Amish." Most leave and join the Mennonite church and that is evidenced by the huge Mennonite church in Berne, which boasts the largest sanctuary of any church in the country! I remember once while inside a bank in Berne seeing an Amish-looking man (Beard, plain dress) with a cell phone clipped to his belt and then he went outside and jumped into a Prius.
And speaking of banks, this is a phone photo that reader Ann shared with us of banking in Berne. Lots of buggies that use the drive-through or walk-up traffic. Although, in looking at the photo, I am not sure why the walk-up traffic wouldn't just go inside. Perhaps some buggies won't go through the drive-through, so the owners just hitch their horses nearby and walk to the drive-up? I know in many places banks don't allow walk-up traffic to the drive-up for liability reasons.
Another classic Adams County scene is an Amish house like this, sprawling and added on to a gajillion times. These are usually multi-generational homes, where a section has been added on for aged parents or a house expanded to accommodate a growing family. I hope to make it back to Adams County sometime soon and I'll share more scenes, but I'll always be ambivalent: a deep sense of love for the area tinged with something else I can't quite explain. At least right now.