We’ve only been staying in Lawrence County, Tennessee for a week but already I think word of me has spread like wildfire through the local Amish community. With each passing horse and buggy, I can just imagine the exchanges between community members.
Maybe it’s a tip of the straw hat or a certain knot used to hitch their horse to the post. It could also be the fact that I’ve now pulled into nearly a dozen Amish farms and stopped several buggy drivers asking for one apparently odd item: a Moses basket. Are you having a “huh?” moment yet? So far just about everyone I’ve met has so don’t feel bad about it.
Homestead Hottie got the idea to pick up a Moses basket for our daughter whom we’re still waiting to be born while staying here at The Farm. Our Darling Daughter has decided to sleep in the pack ‘n play instead of a “big girl bed” which means we need to find another sleeping option for her baby sister pronto. Talina got the idea to go with a Moses Basket to easily transport our new little one around the house and from house to garden and back again while chasing after our toddler daughter.
Since we are just a few minutes away from a large Amish settlement, we thought their crafting hands might have created some really amazing Moses baskets to sling a baby around in. One dusty farm stop after another, we seemed to be leaving a trail of bewildering looks in our path. After some explanation, the Amish basketmakers usually got the idea but sat in quiet pondering how to put it together.
“Like an egg basket,” one Amish woman muttered while staring holes through her feet, perched on the side doorstep of her farmhouse.
“Is an egg basket big enough for a baby?” I asked.
“Well sure,” she said hesitantly, still staring down at her dusty doorstep. “Egg baskets are big.”
Still not convinced or reassured, I pressed the issue harder. “Will it be able to support the weight of an infant baby?”
“Ya, it should,” the Amish woman said under her breath, now nervously fidgeting with the basket she was in the process of weaving when I pulled up.
“Well, I’ll keep looking but I might be back to ask you to make one,” I ended with as I slinked back through the fine farm dust to the car left idling in the barnyard.
Now repeat that same exchange about a half-dozen times and you begin to get the idea. I also found it funny that no matter how small or tight-knit their Amish community might be, most of them pretend to not know what the other is doing or making. There are no references in Amish country unless it is to someone who is “in the family”. One proud father with a long snowy white beard, perched quietly in his roadside stand, sent me around the corner to his daughter’s farm to pickup fresh peanut butter. Ask them though if there is anyone in the area who makes woven baskets and they clam up, almost as if you’re speaking a foreign language.
After my wild toad ride through the backroads of the Etheridge, Tennessee Amish country, I decided to give my wife and darling daughter a break for a couple days. Pulling out of town for a hike the other day, an Amish horse and buggy was parked at the corner gas station. Spread throughout the grass around the buggy were dozens of baskets. Seeing another opportunity I quickly whipped into the parking lot and approached the man quietly weaving away from his driver’s seat.
“A what?” he said when I asked if he happened to make Moses baskets.
“A Moses basket…something that you can carry a baby around in?” I shot back.
“Are you the one who stopped by the farms the other day?” he asked inquisitively.
I was stunned. Across pastures, barnyard fences and the distinctive cloppity clop clop and rattle of the horse drawn buggies, word of my strange request was making its way through Amish country. Surely word would get around of what I was on the hunt for and work back to me that one had been located and was ready to meet my wallet. But no, it’s just been met with more inquisitive looks and long drawn out thoughts. That’s Amish country for ya though. Unfortunately it looks like this time around, the Amish will just have to lose out to Amazon.
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