At this very moment, I am sitting in front of a wall of windows in the Ephrata, Pennsylvania, public library. The view outside includes a stone patio with sculpture and a big green park dotted with sycamore trees. Possibly the green-bordered thing at the bottom of the field is a creek. I can’t tell.
My morning has included taking the back way to Denver, Pennsylvania on accident, and being tailgated by an Amish buggy containing two women with uncharacteristically un-Amish impatience. How can an Amish person be late to anything?
I digress. Kathy and I are in Ephrata because she has to do some actual work at a distribution warehouse in Denver. I dropped her off there hours ago, poor thing, and have been having a blast ever since. I’m just charmed out the wazoo with this town.
A certain amount of poor planning meant that I had to go to the Ephrata Wal-Mart first thing this morning to get some small-but-necessary items that I forgot yesterday. While I realize, in theory, that a Wal-Mart is a Wal-Mart, this one came fully equipped with Amish and Mennonite women and girls, doing their morning shopping.
An Amish family at Wal-Mart is almost as incongruous as being tailgated by a buggy. A shoal of teenaged girls, giggling and beautiful in their modest dresses and bonnets, swept through the cookie aisle in front of me. Their mothers plodded along with buggies, the contents of which I could not make out unless I was really rude and obvious, two things I was kind of reluctant to be.
Mennonite families were everywhere, too. The Mennonite women look like everybody else, except they have white lace hankies pinned in their hair. I’m obviously going to have to do some research on this, since I’m feeling the incompleteness of my education in Strict German Religions. I do know that Ephrata’s claim to fame is the Ephrata Cloister, the site of an Anabaptist religious community dating from 1732.
So I suppose I will forsake the comfort of the library for the Ephrata Cloister and more education in Strict German Religions, which I will be sharing ASAP. Further bulletins as events warrant.