There are always iconic images I see when we travel, that for one reason or another I am unable to photograph. On Friday when, after 20 hours of airports and flying, we emerged in the busy Dayton, Ohio airport, amidst the frenetic activity sat a very placid young Amish woman. Her attire was the clue–demure traditional floral dress extending to the floor, and white translucent hair cap framing her expressionless face. I dare not intrude to take a photo, but the picture is in my mind. Having come straight from Australia, and having watched The Last Cab to Darwin film on the flight, I could only think, ‘Toto, we’re not in Oz any more’. What a startling contrast, a movie exploring the rougher edges of the Austalian Outback, followed by a piece of America that is steadily disappearing.
On our second day in Ohio, my niece had organised a family gathering at her house. With a new 2 month old baby, and only a few months in their first house, I thought it was extraordinarily generous of her.
Everyone arrived at the appointed hour, even a strange looking Amish farmer–oh, no, wait– that’s no Amish farmer, that’s my brother! (Are we seeing a theme here?) Apparently he had a sort of bet with a friend that he would sport a beard until a new car he ordered in kit form arrived. (Yes, you read correctly, a kit car that he will build by himself) He is normally clean shaven and said he hates the beard but as long as he’s determined to see through his declaration of not shaving, he has decided to have some fun with it. He drove to Amish country, not far away, and bought an every day authentic hat and appeared at the gathering in his alter ego form! He said he felt he was helping awareness of this lifestyle that is on the wane. Later he told me he has realised his purpose in life– to be the ‘crazy uncle’, every family has one! The role fits him perfectly. But he is also an extremely talented machinist and above is also a photo of him in his shop. He specialises in reconditioning old and antique tractors, literally creating replacement and non-existent parts using a computer program and mathematics and then fabricating the parts from a block of steel. He is also a blacksmith and an all round creative guy.
We’ve had a bit of a drive through the country area, near where my brothers live, and where we grew up and it is lovely in the early autumn. Today is the first day of Autumn here. Most of the trees have not yet begun to change colour, but we can tell the change is near. I’ll leave you with a couple of snaps that remind me of my childhood here. It isn’t quite the same now, but I can see from whence I have come.
(I’m writing in the little spare time we have– to be continued same time next week!)