The other day I read an article published in a local paper in Aylmer, Ontario Canada called, Hydraulic printing press has been used by local Amish community for 50 years. This is a fascinating story about the way the Amish will adapt technology so that it fits their way of life. It is clear that this press will not be in use much longer, but what isn’t clear is what the group in Aylmer will use for printing instead. I doubt they will just fold their operation for lack of a printing press. They have been supplying Amish families with reading materials for decades.
This brought back so many memories of reading the Pathway publications when I was a teenager. The publications our family subscribed to were Family Life and The Young Companion. (Later when I became a school teacher, I also subscribed to The Blackboard Bulletin.) We’d often read the Pathway publications on Sunday evenings like this when it was dark and cold outside and we were confined to the house. I remember munching on our Sunday evening popcorn and reading one article after another. We didn’t have much reading material in our home, so I devoured those articles.
Once I started thinking about those cold Sunday evenings in winter, I remembered how we used to play games for a pastime. Datt loved to play checkers, and he would coax anyone he could into playing. He would almost inevitably win. When David started visiting with me after we were married, he would play games with Datt, and David rarely won. Datt’s reaction was usually the same, no matter who he was winning against. He’d rock back in his hickory rocker with a big wide satisfied toothless grin. Most people didn’t want to play him after a few games. David being who he is would play him, even if he did get beat.
We siblings played Monopoly quite a bit. I always hated that game. I guess I was never a good Capitalist because if I was ahead, I’d feel sorry for others, and if I fell behind, I’d feel battered and bruised. We also played Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, Uno, and Old Maid. I’m sure I’m forgetting other games we played, but tonight, on a cold January night in our new home in Virginia, I am being transported back to the Sunday winter afternoons of my childhood when we read, played games, and ate popcorn. Tonight David and I are playing games, reading, and eating popcorn.
Here is a photo of our playing table tonight. I talked David into staying in the photo. He is rather camera shy, and he’s laughing because he’d just made a face before this moment. We’ll play Settlers of Catan and then maybe later we’ll play Carcassonne.
Photo by Saloma Furlong
Eating popcorn on Sunday nights is one of the Amish traditions that few people outside their community know about. I find it interesting that after all these years of living outside my original community, that is one of the traditions I keep. Yes, I’m playing different games and with my husband instead of my siblings, but nothing much else has changed about Sunday nights during the darkest and coldest part of winter. I even pop corn the same way I used to.
What family traditions of your childhood do you continue to practice?