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Guest Blogger: Amish Gossip Columnist Eli Swartzbaugh

February 11, 2011

DATELINE: LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA: There sure was a lot of getting under the covers and busy hands and sticking it in down at the Zook farm last Friday night…. Of course, I’m talking about the countywide quilting bee. And it’s a good thing that Hezekiah Carlson, the undertaker, was there—because the peach cobbler was to die for!… Rebecca Klopfenstein’s apple butter took the blue ribbon at the fair for a record 27th year, while Mary Wittmer won the red ribbon for the 14th time in a row. Mary, I’d call you the Susan Lucci of home food preservation, if I knew who Susan Lucci was…. I hear that some lost out-of-towners stopped at the feed store last week for directions on the way to “shoot” a “television” “series” called Cribs. They ought to go see Jacob Lapp’s new galvanized corn crib—holds 1,500 bushels…. The dire state of the newspaper business has reached even into the Amish heartland. Sources tell me that editorial elders at the local farmers’ weekly have decreed capital letters wasteful and banned their use as a thrift measure. The savings in ink is estimated to be in the tens of cents. Good thing they didn’t say anything about ellipses…. There was a big fire over near Germantown, and it took the local Mennonites a full ten hours to raise a barn. Maybe we should start calling them “Boys-onites,” or “Men-who-take-ten-hours-to-build-a-barn-that-should-have-taken-only-eight-onites,” or some other name that makes fun of their pitiful lack of barn-raising prowess compared with us Amish. Mail in your suggestions, and the best one wins your choice of a hammer―claw, ball peen, or tack.

Remember, ladies―only strumpets fasten their clothing with buttons…. Call me crazy, but summer, winter, or fall, nothing beats a tall glass of buttermilk, amirite?… Predictions: Are the work the devil…. When it comes to roads, give me dirt over pavement any day of the week, except Sunday, when we ought not think about such things…. Know what I’d like to see? A sequel to Witness―only, instead of using guns, the righteous folk defeat the evildoers with Christian love and homemade lye soap. And don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s curious to see Lukas Haas with a full beard…. Are you a scythe man, like me, or a godless sickle man?… One thing about trousers: Once you go black, you never go back…. Are you as confused as I am with all the newfangled lingo the kids are using nowadays? Here’s a helpful guide to a few of the things we’ve been hearing on the street, or safely off to one side: OMG = Oatmeal’s mighty good; RTFM = Ready to farm millet; LMAO = Living [with] my Aunt Olivia (just to help with the chores, now that Uncle Amos has rheumatism); NSFW = New sleigh for winter; BRB = Blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries; LOL = Love our lemonade; WTF = Where’s the fertilizer?

Who was that strapping young man with the pridefully large muscles we saw last Wednesday, suspiciously cozy in the seat beside a certain young tanner whose name rhymes with, or is exactly, David Nafziger? We’re sure we don’t know, but maybe the triangle on the back of that buggy should be pink instead of reflective orange…. Someone’s in the kitchen with widow Dinah Yoder, and rumor has it that her baking powder biscuits aren’t the only thing that’s rising—because she’s also making some pound cake. But does her mystery man get to lick the spoon?… Which very married carpenter’s wife has been spending an unusual amount of time darning socks? And by darning socks, I mean fornicating with her brother-in-law?… Rumspringa? More like “dumbspringa” for an out-of-control teenager from this local family, who has been acting the fool, and is dumb.

How many Amish does it take to screw in a light bulb? Answer: What’s a light bulb?… How many Amish does it take to light a kerosene lamp? Answer: One―he simply strikes a match, touches it to the wick, and carefully replaces the chimney…. A priest, a rabbi, and an Amish man walk into a bar. The Amish man, realizing his mistake, immediately turns around, walks out, and goes to the farmer’s exchange next door to buy some baling wire…. What do you call the offspring of an Amish man and a Jewish woman? Answer: That would never happen.

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