BUGGY SAFETY: This is the time of year when buggy rides can be amazingly pleasant as one soaks in and savors spring in a way that can't be done from a car. This is the view from a buggy when I took a ride once in the New Order Amish settlement near Belle Center, Ohio. It was pure, pristine peace (except when the horse sneezed and the breeze blew a rain of equine sneeze on me)
On the flip side, a buggy ride can quickly turn into a harrowing adventure if a severe storm blows up as they will this time of year. Our thoughts and prayers are with the storm victims today in Oklahoma.
This is how Amish Cook columnist Lovina Eicher described a stormy buggy ride home from her sister's in August of 2006 in one of her newspaper pieces:
"Around 4:30 p.m., we decided to start home but saw that a storm was brewing in the northwest. We waited at Emma's awhile longer and the storm seemed to just blow over, so we started for home. But we were wrong. Almost halfway home, it started getting very windy, and large chunks of hail started hitting our buggy. We put our lights on, and I could hardly see where we were going. The horse struggled to keep going. Rain pelted the buggy, and we just all tried to remain calm and hoped our steady horse would get us home. The children were scared. How thankful we were for having a covered buggy, but it was still scary to realize what could happen. We sure were relieved once we arrived home."
Sounds frightening and glad all ended safely for them!
This is also the time of year when more outsiders and tourists are clogging typically quiet, narrow roads in Amish Country, Here are some good safety tips for sharing the roads in Amish Country put out by St. Lawrence County, New York where there is a large Amish community. One of the items in the safety guide points out that most buggies only move at 5 - 8 mph, a huge speed difference between that and a car rocketing by at 55mph. Doesn't take much to cause a tragedy. So stay safe on the roads around Amish and Mennonite settlements this spring and summer!