I am LOVING Wisconsin. Not only do they have tons of snow in winter, we’re surrounded by dairy farms, the stores are full of fresh cheese, and traffic barely exists in this town But the best find yet?
Amish stores! Amish stores! Amish stores!
I used to want to BE Amish. So much so, my nickname was Yoder. It was the lifestyle appeal of course– being as close as possible to going back in time.
I drove slowly past the school. The kids swinging on the swing set and loitering around picnic tables wore pale blue and lavender dresses, the precious little boys dressed in overalls. Not pulling out the camera was painful.
I didn’t want to take too many pictures of anything as I know that is considered disrespectful. I took pictures of the area, the stores, and the food instead.
A furniture store with furniture so breathtakingly beautiful, I almost cried when I gazed upon the grandfather clock. The store was actually inside a barn with a massive wood-burning stove in the center. I’d never seen furniture so expensive or so stunning. Full of bedroom suites, rocking chairs, clocks, kitchen tables, toy boxes, wooden toys, lazy susans, and colorful, embroidered aprons, I wondered if I might be in heaven. I even pinched myself. Oh, and they have cookbooks, darn it, my weakness! Darn it, darn it, darn it. How can I not learn to cook like the Amish if I live here? Impossible! I have to do it.
The Amish bulk store sells rolled oats, soup mixes, candies, granola, and whole grains. Yes, most of it in plastic, but maybe if I asked…..they’d let me bring my own container. The kind man behind the counter with the white beard whipped out a harmonica and played Mary had a Little Lamb for the baby. That was it. Smitten, I declared no more corporation Whole Foods. Their cashiers never played the harmonica for me. Where else can you get that?
But my absolute favorite is the Bent and Dent. I couldn’t believe the prices. Ramon noodles 35 cents, cans of tuna 60 cents, my all-time favorite coconut candy–50 cents. Conditioner $2.50, a Ziploc bag full of granola bars–$1.00. A box of Triscuits 60 cents. Name brand cereal $2.00. The cans may be dented, the boxes a bit crushed, the expiration date this month, but have I ever found my favorite store. Ever. Due to busted boxes, individually wrapped products normally not for individual retail sale were bunched into Ziploc bags and sold for a dollar. Nothing wasted.
The baby and I shopped for an hour this past week at the Bent and Dent. I wore her as she crinkled a bag of granola in pure entertainment the entire time. She smiled at everyone we passed, good as gold. I listened to a couple speaking musical Spanish in the next aisle and smiled. I passed a young punk rock couple with pink hair and we exchanged pleasantries about each other’s babies. A retired man told me the entire life story of his 26-year-old grand-daughter as we lingered in front of the pasta. The elderly Amish woman rung up my groceries with an old-fashioned cash register and smiled at me with a good-bye.
Outside, the strong smell of horse manure ran up my nostrils to my lungs and I peered over to see this sign.
I’m loving Wisconsin.