Saloma Miller Furlong
Author and Speaker

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What's Wrong with a Storm Front?

Peggy wrote: Hi Saloma! I’m saving most of my questions for your appearance in S. Hadley :-) However, I do have one from this last post: What reason is there for not having storm fronts on buggies? I know there are some communities that don’t allow them and that makes no sense at all, especially in the winter time. I can’t figure where pride could get in the way but safety can sure be compromised. Happily, the 3 separate communites around here have them, even the most conservative one.

Hello Peggy, I cannot wait to meet you at the Odyssey! If you don’t mind, perhaps you could do the drawing for the buildings for my giveaway? That would be so cool!

Now the question of storm fronts: I have no idea why in some communities storm fronts are not allowed. Most of the time, even we were not given the reasons why. And it varies widely which communities allow them and which ones do not. 

When I was growing up, storm fronts were just beginning to come into being in my community. There were those who refused to have them, such as my father. These were usually the holdouts, trying to hang on to the old ways. My father and my older brother had some of their bitterest fights over my brother’s horse and buggy, and the storm front was often the focal point. At the time, storm fronts were allowed in the winter months, but they had to be removed in the summer. My brother didn’t always take his off in the summer, and my father would sometimes “punish” my brother by removing it in winter. Once Dad had thrown it into a creek not far away. 

Along with storm fronts, the young boys would spiff up the harnesses on their horses with little plastic, colorful doo-dads and have all kinds of “fancies” hanging from their buggies. When I was a teenager, the young men liked to rein in the horses heads, so that the horses’ postures would make them look spirited. All of these things were considered “Hochmut” or prideful. I had never thought of it quite like this, which fits into my last post about individuality. It seemed that very often when someone wanted to express their individuality, it was considered prideful. 

So, this is a long answer to you question, Peggy. The only reason I know of to disallow storm fronts is to adhere to the old ways. And if you are a “good” Amish person, you don’t ask why — you just accept the rules because “that’s just the way it is.”

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