not just about herbs and how these plants that God made at creation, for food for both mankind and animals, are healthy and healing for our bodies.
I am learning about sharing and community from the Plain women that attend this class.
First of all I have to say that these women are not "plain" in their looks. Unadorned by make up or even a wedding ring, these ladies are beautiful. They radiate good health. They are women, who for most of them, formal education stopped at 8th grade. They are full of useful knowledge and skills, and are interested in learning more. One of the ladies at today's class was likely 60 years old or so...Malinda was her name. She was spry and interested in how Rosanna (our teacher) made her tinctures. Did she use the root or the flowers and leaves? What proof vodka did she use and could you use another kind of liquor other than vodka? Malinda even brought the bottle of the kind of vodka she had used to make some kind of tincture at home! I chuckled inside when she came into class with her basket and purse and sat beside me and I got a glimpse of that empty vodka bottle!
This lead to the discussion of where did Rosanna buy her alcohol for the tincture. "At the liquor store," was the answer. This lead to a lot of laughing as they all pictured themselves going into the state run liquor store to buy vodka! Can you imagine what the employees of a liquor store would think to be selling 80-100 proof vodka to Amish and Mennonite women?! Too funny - they thought so too!
These women are used to a kind of community spirit that we just don't have, even if we have good friends. They don't email each other or talk on the phone together, but they love to be together and share knowledge. The talk today was about when the next "Women's Day" was going to be. They were all looking forward to it. It is big doings for these women who work making their homes and families a priority. Malinda passed around a magazine of sorts...it had started out as a 'circle letter' among friends in Ohio and grew to a multipage quarterly newsletter that ladies contribute articles on subjects of interest to them all. Those who had never seen it before were eagerly writing down the address to send for it.
I was so happy to have Lindsay with me to share all this. My daughters and I have community with each other. And in many ways I have it with some of my fellow home educating Moms. It is just different. I think it is because these ladies grow up with it - knowing it's importance in their lives. We 'English' (non-Amish), we western cultured women, are taught to value individualism, independence, self reliance. They are taught the value of needing each other, helping each other, the value of what everyone can contribute.
It is interesting at these classes that no one will be the first to grab a jar and start filling it or anything, unless Rosanna specifically asks them to get it started. They learn young to not put themselves first.
Another of the Amish women who has come both weeks is named Emma. She is probably not yet 40. She is beautiful, with Irish coloring, red hair, fair skin, lovely eyes. She brings 3 children with her, whom I assume are her youngest children. They are so well behaved. The boy about 5 or 6 helps with the younger sister and the baby. Emma has an interest in all of these things we are learning...they all do. For they know the value of their work on behalf of their families. They are the caregivers, the healers of boo boo's and coughs. They like knowing the old remedies, the natural ones.
I will be sad when our classes are over. I will miss seeing them, and learning from them.