Until last night, I thought that my dear sister Colleen and her graceful ability with writing had the Amish topic covered. But after meeting up with my brother Rob at the bar yesterday, I realized that I had an addition to make on reporting about Amish happenings around these parts. You may be wondering why I had the inspiration to blog about the Amish while at a tavern of all places. Bear with me and I shall explain.
First, I would like to introduce my favorite bar: Leo and Leona’s. This bar is located along Hwy 33, just two or three miles from my parents house. The establishment is literally an old piece of ridge history around these parts. In general, I am not a bar person. I abhor smoky places filled with too much crowded commotion, also, random guys hitting on me is not something that I appreciate. Leo and Leona’s is my safe spot. It’s more pub-like than anything. The place is known for good local music that varies. Live music is performed inside the adjoined dance hall, a space that was used to host basketball games and dances under old open beam rafters back in the 40’s. Recently, the bar has started to once again hold square dances. This is something that I find delightfully dorky and oddly fun. Particularly in the summer time , I like to go pop in at the bar. More likely than not, I’ll be in wranglers and cowboy boots and on the way home from riding my horse, or not so put together in an old mini skirt and rain boots. When I am at Leo and Leona’s, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s a low key kind of atmosphere, and I am almost always with my brothers. An hour or two there is a rather amusing experience.
For quite some time now, one of the owners and the regular bartender have been asking me if I will take up some hours tending bar. In the past, I’ve always laughed the question away. But the other night, I just had to say yes…. You see, the bar is currently being re-sided on the exterior by two young Amish men from the Bangor community. I have seen them busy at work while out running or driving past. Never have I put much energy into thinking about them and their gig (at a tavern for goodness sakes!).
Much to my initial confusion, the other night, I saw both of them not outside the bar, but IN it! One was dressed in normal Amish garb, the other in jeans and a checkered shirt. Regardless of his “englisher” clothing, his tell-tale bowl cut hair and demeanor totally gave him away as a young Amish man out in the mainstream world.
Though it was difficult not to stare because of the supreme awkwardness of the entire situation, I held my ground and didn’t gawk at them perched on stools at the end of the bar. After a bit, Dan a Co-Owner of the place, threw out his old offer of “Mary, you want to bartend?” “Why” I asked. His response was “Well Levi and his friend here don’t want to see any old man behind the bar. They want a women to serve them drinks, so can’t you just fill in for Mark while he goes out on break?”
This offering of all offerings was such a bizarre situation that I couldn’t resist. Really, I mean how many people hand out cold Bud Lights to rebellious Amish carpenters? With a timid but jovial attitude, and my maximum drinking limit of 2 gins and tonics, I took up the job of a temporary bartender for a bit.
I have a super embarrassing track record of reading what I consider to be junk food for the brain, that is, Amish fiction novels. It seems like all the books are the same. You have the rebel drama. Young Amish guys drive cars, drink, and try to date worldy women. Before, I used to just snort and think about how silly those fluff books are. It’s so weird to be in a setting where it actually is what those bad-for-my-brain books have chapters about. My brother swears that they were checking me out….weird, weird weird!
In the future, I have no interest in serving any Amish bad boys beer. I would much rather do business with them. I’ll stick to having them ferry my horses hooves and sell me tack and fencing supplys. It’s a heck of a lot less weird, plus I can always use a new halter or shank. Perhaps I can barter for tack with Bud Light though?