(Amish man plowing the field. December 30, 2006. Photo by Robin)

Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

M and I just returned from an overnight trip to Lancaster county (Pennsylvania). Friends of M’s who form an impromptu band every once in a while were playing at a local (as in Lancaster local) brewery last night. Last year, for their first gig, we went and, well, it wasn’t all that great. Impromptu is one thing, and I understand the idea behind hoping and thinking you can bring together a bunch of musicians and just jam. I bet it’s nice when it works. This year the Boys in the Band got together a few times before the show to practice. The practice made a difference and I’m guessing it sorted out a few “who’s in charge” issues (not that anyone is in charge, but someone taking a strong lead could overwhelm the others).

I’m feeling hungover this evening. It’s not an alcohol hangover. We did have a few pints, but it wasn’t enough to give me a hangover, especially since we nursed our beers through several hours of hanging out at the bar and listening to the band. It’s a nicotine hangover. The smoke in the place was awful (sometimes I wonder if Lancaster county people think they’re required to smoke when they go to a bar). My lungs, throat, and sinuses feel as though I chain smoked 2 packs of cigs last night. I haven’t felt this way since before I quit smoking and I used to smoke like a fiend whenever I was drinking.

Other than the smoke, a good time was had by all.

Today, because it was bright and sunny, we took a little drive on the back roads of Lancaster county to enjoy the scenery. It’s a really beautiful area. Someday I’d like to go for a long walk on those back roads, camera ready, so I can slow down and truly enjoy the area. Sometimes it doesn’t seem right to be riding around in a car when we’re in Amish country.

I have never wanted to be Amish. Partly, I admit, there are too many things of the world that I would not give up — car, movies, music, art museums, travel, etc. Being Amish is much more than a lifestyle. The religion has a very distinct set of beliefs and practices, not all of which I could accept. But I respect and admire the Amish. They have enriched my life. — Brad Igou