Here are a few random questions that I’ve asked my Amish friends over the years. This doesn’t mean that these answers hold true in every Amish community, in every state, or in every district. I can only tell you what my friends in Lancaster County told me:
1. Do you shop at Wal-Mart? Of course.
2. When is it acceptable to travel by plane? (I’ve seen lots of Amish folks at airports over the years) Yes, plane travel is allowed in an emergency. While the definition of an ‘emergency’ might vary, it’s mostly defined as an illness or funeral.
3. Do you drink alcohol? Some people enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and some abstain altogether.
4. Most Amish authors use the Pennsylvania Dutch word wunderbaar, meaning wonderful. Sometimes, we write wunderbaar gut, meaning wonderful good. Perhaps this word or word combo is spoken in some Amish communities, but in Lancaster County, they giggle and make fun of it, saying they don’t say it, unless they are mocking the fact that the English (as they call us) say it. Hey, I’m as guilty as the rest of the authors out there when it comes to wunderbaar gut. But…most Amish folks don’t actually use the words in the context that we write them.
Ready for a never-before-seen peek at the upcoming novella, A LOVE FOR IRMA ROSE which will be released in the December Amish collection, AN AMISH YEAR?
A LOVE FOR IRMA ROSE
1957, fifty – three years earlier
Jonas clutched the reins with sweaty hands, his fingers twitching as he waited for Amos Hostetler to blow the whistle, signaling the start of the race. He glanced to his right and scanned the crowd, at least fifteen onlookers—including Irma Rose Kauffman. This buggy race down Blackhorse Road was more than a friendly competition. More than just a group of Amish kids enjoying their rumschpringe on a Saturday afternoon. He peered to his left at Isaac Lapp’s flaring nostrils, knowing that his rival for Irma Rose’s affections wanted to win as badly as he did. Jonas knew that pride was a sin, as Isaac surely did, but when it came to Irma Rose, Jonas figured Isaac’s thoughts were as jumbled as his own. Jonas had been waiting to court Irma Rose for three years, since right after his father died. He recalled the way she lit his soul at a time when his grief threatened to overtake him. And now that she was sixteen, her parents were allowing her a few freedoms. Buggy races were looked down on by the elders in the community, but the young members of the district still gathered at the far end of the road most Saturdays to see who had the fastest horse and buggy.
“That ol’ horse of yours ain’t gonna be able to keep up with Lightning.” Isaac smirked from his topless buggy, the type used for courting. Jonas hoped he never had to see Irma Rose riding alongside Isaac.
“Ya, well . . . we’ll see about that.” Jonas kept a steady hand on the reins while he and Isaac waited for the spectators to start loading into their buggies. They would wait about ten minutes, until everyone reached the finish line down by the old barn at the far end of the King property. Then Amos would blow the whistle to start the race.
Jonas sat taller, raised his chin, and tried to ignore that his own horse chose this moment to relieve himself. Bud was a fine animal. And fast. But Bud pooped more than any other horse around, and always at the wrong time, as if he was showing off. Or just trying to irritate Jonas.
Luckily the whistle blew before Isaac had time to make a joke, and Jonas slapped the reins.
“Ya!” Within seconds, he was several yards ahead of Isaac, squinting as the late-afternoon sun almost blinded him. But he kept pushing Bud, anxious to see Irma Rose standing at the finish line, hopefully cheering him on.
Competition was against the Ordnung and everyone knew it, but there was a certain thrill about being victorious, even though deep down, Jonas knew God wouldn’t approve. As he crossed the finish line two buggy lengths ahead of Isaac, God wasn’t the one on his mind. As he pulled back on the reins, he looked to his right, searching the crowd standing in the grass on the side of the road.
Bud was completely stopped—and relieving himself again—when Jonas finally located Irma Rose.
Even though the women in his district all dressed similarly, Irma Rose was easy to spot. She was tinier than most of the women, with dainty features. Loose tendrils of golden hair framed her face from beneath her kapp, and if a man was lucky enough to attract her gaze, he could feel her green eyes searching his soul. Even though she was petite and flowerlike, she had the perfect balance of femininity and strength. But she wasn’t even looking toward the road. Instead of watching Jonas whup Isaac in the race, she was standing way off to the side of the crowd, smiling and seeming to enjoy the company of someone who threatened Jonas’s potential courtship with Irma Rose way more than Isaac or anyone else. Jake Ebersol.
Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.3 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List.
She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series–Seek Me With All Your Heart–was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published twelve novels and nine novellas to date.