I, like so many, knew very little about the Amish culture/order before meeting Ray Yoder last year. I knew he and his family dressed in traditional Amish garb, that he was a very good, honest, upstanding man, and that we actually started our businesses similarly, out of the small garages back when. Funny to think we have quite a bit in common but we do. While we were in Ohio, we worked hard to finalize and tweak design samples but all the while, we were also getting to know Ray and his family better. In fact, on the last day before flying out, Ray offered to introduce us to his wife and younger children we hadn't met yet. We drove just a short gravel driveway up the way past his 30,000+ square foot L&J Woodworking shop that runs off of hydraulic power to a very cute home, not unlike you'd find in all parts of the country. In fact, that surprised me on my last trip to Amish country because I'd assumed that Amish families live in either old white farm houses or log cabins...because I'm an idiot. The differences are noticeable but only if you're really looking. You won't find electricity lines connected to Amish homes and you'll see lines of clothes drying out back. Oh, and no cars, of course. But otherwise, they're very similar to our homes. In fact, Ray's home is much larger than mine here in California.
Ray's wife was warm and open, just like Ray. They shared how they live but even more than that, they shared so much of who they are. Much more than I would have expected a business partner to share and I was honored to be on the receiving end. We laughed and talked about things that affect every family in the world: not enough time spent at home/too much work, kids not coming home at curfew, and the balance between work and mom-hood. In fact, when Katie and I mentioned that our husbands do most of our laundry, she smiled and said, "Keep it that way," after showing us her laundry set-up which is a manual washer and wringer.
When we weren't getting lost on gorgeous, country roads or eating at Amish-style buffet restaurants, we enjoyed some down time at The Inn at Amish Door. If you're in the Akron/Canton area, you have to book a room. It's an unbelievably wonderful hotel with restaurant, shops, and indoor pool. I would love to share more photos of Ray and his facility, but I want to respect his privacy. For now, enjoy the shots we took while pulling over on the side of the road, unloading a toy box, getting shocked by an electrical fence and quickly moving on our merry way. We couldn't have looked more out of place but we felt right at home.
|Bertie of the Corn|
|Bertie in a Buggy!|