Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

She's Got Fifty Now

          Atlee carefully set his lunch cooler in the back of the truck.
          As he slid into the front seat, he anxiously looked at the time readout on the dashboard.
          "Tonight is Jonas Effie's birthday party.
          "She's got fifty now," he said, in explanation of his haste to leave the job site and head home.
          Translation: His sister-in-law, Effie, is to be the guest of honor at a birthday party.  It'll be her 50th.
          Atlee is a skilled carpenter and all-around handyman whose talents put him in high demand throughout the Amish as well as the English community.  He has a regular driver who transports him to and from his various job sites, but this afternoon his driver was "busy" and unable to pick him up a bit early.
          My friends and neighbors know that when their regular drivers have scheduling conflicts or if an unexpected emergency pops up, they can call me for a quick bailout, usually with my old blue pickup.
          But when he called (after hiking to a phone) Atlee sounded nervous.  "Can you be here right by five?" he asked.  That was my first clue that something was up.
          He's anything but a clock watcher, happily content to give the customer an extra 15 minutes or half hour if his driver's late.  But tonight he would have just enough time for a shower and the 15 minute buggy ride to the party.
          "It's over by my brother, Eli U.'s place," he observed.  That would be about a mile of travel for him and wife Elsie.
          The reference to his brother's middle initial is a fine point of identification.  Each of the brothers carries their father's name (Ura) as their middle name.  The paternal connection is another fine point of identification.
          Thus Eli U. cannot be confused with Eli J., who is Jonas's eldest son.  The male identity continuity is critical because his wife and all children will be tied to him (for example: wife is Jonas' Effie, children are Jonas' Ada,  Jonas' Rebecca, Eli J. and Wayne J or Jonas' Eli, Jonas' Wayne).
          And then we were home and he was sliding out the door with a hurried, "Thanks, we'll settle up later," and Atlee U. was off and running for the shower.


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