We journeyed back in time this past weekend. Ok, we didn’t use one of those fancy time machines like Michael J. Fox used in his movie, but we did witness things that are lost concepts for all of us with our modern conveniences. Paul’s sister lives in a rural area of Tennessee where time seems to stand still and no one notices.
The extreme quiet of the area was one of the first things we noticed. It’s amazing how much ambient noise we are exposed to without ever realizing it. Then we saw first hand how she has set herself up as a modern day homesteader. From the stick built green house and hand dug, large root cellar to the reclaimed orchard and garden, we were reminded of the days gone by when people had to be more responsible for producing and preserving the foods they consumed. She showed us the fruits and vegetables that she had preserved for use later in the year when the growing season will be over.
She took us to an Amish community. There, we met Willie who is the shoemaker for the community and anyone else who would like a pair. What an incredible skill that is! With a twinkle in his eye he told us he could “heal us, save our souls and that he would even die for us!” More powerful words have never been spoken, and we were astonished at his passion! As he reached over the table and showed us the true “souls, heels and dye” that he was talking about, we began to see that humor in this part of the country was readily available and brought out the best in everyone.
The produce at their market was unlike foods we had tasted since we were very young. The pure sweetness that comes from non-GMO, non-hybridized, organic seeds that are grown in virgin soil that has plenty of nutrients had grown foods with flavors that we hadn’t tasted in over 30 years. It truly took us back to the days when we ran in our parents’ and grandparents’ gardens, grabbed food directly from the plant and popped them in our mouths. The cantaloupe was sweet, but not so sweet that you felt thirsty after you eat it. The fresh corn was tender, sweet and crunchy—a combination that is addictive, even without the addition of butter or salt. We can’t wait to try the watermelon and beautiful okra we bought.
We also visited the community iridologist, who took one look into Ann’s eyes and told her she was severely chemically toxic. Together, we determined that all of the years that my parents had used polyurethane on the hardwood floors, paneling and the shellac on the window frames and doors, had been soaked into my young little body and as I have aged, many of my symptoms can be traced to those toxins.
Paul and I were astonished how this 70 plus year old gentleman could so swiftly identify what we have been achingly searching to understand for decades of our own. We knew I had a heavy metal issue, but no one identified the chemical toxicity and we never realized it could be so detrimental to the hormones, thyroid and adrenal.
The children ran around bare foot playing amongst themselves just as we did when we were kids. No computes, Xbox or Nintendo game machines or TV’s to keep them occupied.
The men in the community were lean and active. You would see them riding their horses, working in the gardens or actively working in the many other facets of the community.
Although the bakery looked inviting with the cookies and pies, we never saw any of the community eating those types of foods. Rather, we saw a man harvesting a wheelbarrow filled with cantaloupes, which we learned, would be canned for their winter food.
As we left, we realized that this community of truly happy people, who live simple lives, had created a world where clean living and supporting others in such unique ways is a form of servant hood that depicts the wisdom and intelligence of those who are well nourished.
The many facets of the Amish community are still unknown to us, but one thing is certain—their dedication to God, their family, their community and to their health is powerfully obvious as they spend much of their day ensuring that the foods they consume are natural, organic and nutritious.