I am here at the Dulcimer Music Festival to make music (which I didn’t do today), see old friends (which I did a lot of), and eat—and tonight was certainly the one of the eating experience highlights!
About 30 of us piled in cars and traveled ‘down the road a piece’ as they say here, to an Amish farm which serves group meals.
Apparently, going there has become kind of a tradition among some of the musicians, though I’ve never been included. It was a perfect day, a little warm and humid but with clear skies. This is farm country, but not flat—there are rolling hills, trees, and plenty of lakes and streams. It’s dairy country, and as we drove we saw several working farm dogs and small boys bringing the cows in for milking. Because it’s Amish, and mid-American, it’s clean and unadorned. But then, the landscape doesn’t need much in the way of extra trimmings.
I rode with a car full of dulcimer players, most of whom had been friends for many years. Linda was a hammered dulcimer maker until she retired to paint beautiful watercolors; Peg is a seamstress and craftswoman; Jim is a teacher—well,you get the point. Lots of remembering, good and bad jokes, and gossip, and we arrived at the beautiful farmhouse in high spirits having passed a horse and buggy carrying what we later found out was one of our servers for the dinner.
We were a little early, so we paid a visit to the general store ‘down the road a piece’, and gazed at a huge selection of knick knacks: chiming clocks that played 5 popular tunes, 5 country western tunes and 5 Christmas carols and ‘were certainly made in Germany’; more natural and ‘home’ remedies than I could imagine ever having diseases for; gas powered clothing irons (there’s no electricity in an Amish home); and pattern books of Simple Clothes. Some of us came away with small plastic bags of things, and one of our number fell in love with the 15-tune clock and will probably be back to make a sizeable purchase.
Then we trooped back to the farm for dinner, and a feast it was. Salad, egg noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, meatloaf, fried chicken, and 4 kinds of pie. Of course we all ate way too much, and our white capped serving women moved among us, urging us for more chicken and more pie. It was no-frills comfort food, impeccably served family style, and each bite was delicious.
We left before our hosts had to turn the gas lanterns on and were back here at the campground in plenty of time for the evening (and all night) music sessions that erupt in every corner of the campground as the sun goes down (and the mosquitoes come out). Me, I am skipping music for tonight. My body is far too full for my cane and new hip to carry from one music jam to another. And speaking of jam, I left out the part of the dinner where they served home baked bread and apple butter……