Finally the day arrived that I have for so long wanted to happen… the day I would get to meet Katie Troyer in person. She is an icon here in Sarasota, Florida and writes the blog Pinecraft-Sarasota. She is one of the most down-to-earth, genuine, caring, wise, and truly kind persons I've ever met. I am so thrilled that I had the honor of meeting her. Not only did we start right in with heart-to-heart talks, but I also had the great pleasure of experiencing Katie's refreshing sense of humor.
Katie and Me
David and I rented bikes and rode around Pinecraft with Katie on bikes today. I was planning on renting one of those cool-looking tricycles that the Amish ride around on.
Alas, I found out those tricycles are a lot harder to ride than they look. I landed in someone's front yard. David asked, "What are you doing?" as he rode his like a pro. Long story short, he ended up renting a tricycle, while I rented a bike.
Katie goes to meet the buses coming in from other places. David and I joined her. Here she and David were watching from across the street.
We saw two buses pull in with more Amish people arriving, including some from my home community.
We had coffee and tea at Yoder's, and watched people playing shuffleboard. But mostly we sat at a picnic table at the park and talked. Katie is a wonderful storyteller, and she is also an engaged listener. We talked about the Pinecraft phenomenon. Katie says that in Pinecraft people leave one another be to work out any issues they have and become who they are. The Amish even take a break from the rules they abide by back home. An Amish bishop was once asked why Amish people do things here in Florida that they don't get to do at home. He replied that what they do in Florida stays in Florida.
Katie had plans for the evening, so we said good-bye to her at her little abode, knowing we'd see her again today.
Later in the evening, David and I drove to Siesta Beach to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful way to end a wonderful day… the day I met Katie Troyer.
Today we had lunch with Katie, and said good-bye before David and I headed north for the first leg of our trip home. Katie's parting words were, "Now, this is just the beginning. We'll meet again, many times."
I certainly hope so. Katie is a kindred spirit, just as I thought she would be. I cannot wait for the next time when our paths will cross again.
For more about Katie, you can watch the profile videos of her that were made with the PBS documentary "The Amish: Shunned" that aired on American Experience in February.