10 Aug 2013
Recently, it was my privilege to go to a convention in Ohio in the middle of a large Amish/Mennonite community. I looked forward to this very much because I grew up in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, which has many Amish/Mennonite communities.
I was expecting quite a bit as I packed my bags to leave.
“Are you sure you got everything?” A phrase reiterated to me by the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
To which I responded by saying, “Yes, for the umpteenth time I got everything.”
This in and of itself was to guarantee me I would forget something, usually essential in my travel. Then when I get home, I will be reminded that I was reminded to make sure I got everything.
Nothing, at this point, could deter my high-level expectation of going into an Amish/Mennonite community. My great eagerness was looking forward to indulging in one of my favorite desserts: the shoofly pie. Nobody makes shoofly pie quite like those wonderful Amish people.
To make matters even more enticing, I would not have anybody sitting next to me reminding me I had enough shoofly pie. I fully intended to gorge myself on as much shoofly pie as my wallet could handle. In my book, there is no such thing as too much shoofly pie.
I drove 15 hours to get to this little town in Ohio. Every mile creating anticipation for my dessert delicacy awaiting me in some Amish restaurant.
I confess it has been a long time since I visited an Amish/Mennonite community. Even though I grew up in such a community some things a person tends to forget.
The convention I was attending ended Sunday morning at lunch. I, being the grandiose Know-It-All, decided to skip the Sunday lunch and look for a restaurant to indulge in my delectable delicacy. The convention was wonderful and as I left the grounds, I did so with a lot of joy in each step.
The thing I forgot was it was Sunday in an Amish/Mennonite community. If you have never been in such a community, let me inform you that on Sunday the only thing open are churches. I had forgotten this little tidbit.
During the week, I made a list of several Amish restaurants. I had plans of visiting each of them before I left and having shoofly pie, a whole pie, in each restaurant.
When I got to the first restaurant, it finally hit me. This was Sunday and everything in an Amish/Mennonite community was closed. I do not usually go to a restaurant on Sunday unless it is some special occasion. I was a little chagrined to realize everything was closed. This only heightened my anticipation of the shoofly pie delicacy awaiting me come tomorrow.
At times it feels like tomorrow will never come, but eventually tomorrow came and I awoke with a song on my lips, a pang of hunger in my stomach and a desire to indulge in a shoofly delicacy.
I finally arrived at my first Amish restaurant and I was drooling so much I could hardly tell the hostess I was just a party of one. Boy, what a party it was going to be.
Being a gentleman, I contained myself as best I could and ordered a very scrumptious repast. Nobody can cook like those Amish women. Oh, what a lunch I had. I think what made it so wonderful was the dessert expectation hovering over me like an angelic halo.
Just as I was finishing my lunch the lovely young waitress, all dressed in Amish attire, came by inquiring if I would like to see the dessert menu.
“No,” I said with a delectable determination, “I know exactly what I want for dessert.”
We exchanged smiles. I have no idea what she was smiling about; maybe the anticipatory tip. I knew what I was smiling about; the anticipatory dessert.
I tried to contain myself and carefully pace out my instructions.
“Young lady,” I said as calmly as possible, “I will have a piece of shoofly pie. In fact, why don’t you bring me the whole pie.” And with that, I smiled.
The waitress looked at me rather strangely and said, “What kind of pie do you want?”
Being the kind of person that enjoys a good old-fashioned joke, I responded, “Ha ha ha. A shoofly pie, if you please.”
“What’s a shoofly pie?”
I can take a joke as well as anybody but there comes a time when all jokes need to be put aside and bring on the shoofly pie.
“This is an Amish restaurant, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is,” she smiled patiently.
“You’ve heard of a shoofly pie, haven’t you?”
“No, I’ve never heard of such a pie.”
I cannot tell you the depth of disappointment this brought to me. For weeks, I have been looking forward to some good old-fashioned shoofly pie.
As it turned out, only the Amish/Mennonite in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, know anything about shoofly pies. Not all Amish are the same even though they look alike.
The apostle Paul understood this kind of disappointment.
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV).
I have had many disappointments in life and many people have disappointed me, but I have found in Jesus Christ no disappointment whatsoever. All legitimate hope is in Jesus.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.