By Kevin Williams
I was once driving on US 27 south through Jay County, Indiana and I passed a lone buggy on the shoulder of the road. But it more resembled Santa's sleigh than a typical Amish black buggy. It was bright red, with wood trim, and had bells hanging from it. I was going kind of fast so I couldn't get the best look at the occupants and this was in the days before cell phone cameras so all I'm left with 20 some years later is the memory and the lingering question: was this some sort of quirky Amish buggy or was it driven by someone who wasn't Amish?
I saw the above photo by Janet Dabbs in an article about Mennonites in Missouri. Now, I am not casting doubt on the photo's authenticity. But I will say that I have never seen a Plain buggy with the natural wood nor horse-and-buggy Plain people with the patterned Little House on the Prairie type patterned head-coverings. Either this is a staged photo illustration or this is a Mennonite community that does things a little differently. If it is the latter, it's just an illustration of how you can do what I do and always learn new things about the Plain people. Each community has its own customers, traditions, and quirks. If anyone has seen Mennonite clothing like this in mid-Missouri, I'd love to hear more.
We never did hear from anyone definitely last week about the photo I posted of some "Amish" supposedly from Glen Rock, Pennsylvania to Centre County by buggy.
You can revisit that story here. But I just have my doubts. Can anyone shed light?
Now there are some Amish who are innovative with their buggies, but that is different, in my view, than some of what we are seeing above. For instance, below is an Amish buggy I saw once near Manton, Michigan. The Amish man had repurposed some old seats from a van and attached them to their horse-draw cart. He said it made for a much more comfortable ride.
Amish innovation and ingenuity is often displayed in their buggies. Below is a Mennonite cart I spotted in Ohio with the same sort of "mounted bus" seats on a cart, definitely makes for a more comfy ride than a hard wooden bench!