Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mullets Amish Family Farm Dinner Nappanee, Indiana

Here's my shortened story of our wonderful dinner with Ben and Mary Etta Mullet at their farm in Nappanee, Indiana.  If you ever get a chance to do this, I highly recommend you do so.

9:38 AM (7 hours ago)
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We certainly didhave a wonderful time yesterday and last nights dinner with the Mullets was an experience I'll never ever forget. Nor will we ever forget Ben and Mary Etta Mullet!  ever!

We arrived in a thundering extremely windy storm. Our cars were almost lifting off the ground as we processed down the road through the countryside heading to the Mullets Amish farm. There were 5 cars. We were second and everyone that was behind someone said the same thing; the car ahead of them appeared to be rocking so bad it was going to leave the ground. Black skies, no lightning or thunder, I missed experiencing that again, but experienced enough. I watched the skies for a tornado. 

When we arrived, we all stayed in our cars except Keith and his wife. Keith is deathly afraid of his car rolling over in the wind and killing them. You gotta know Keith!  LOL

After being allowed into the hall, running through the deep puddles, getting soaked, we had finally arrived. Ben was lighting the propane lights; no electricity allowed,gas is. 

We had a long social hour as Mary Etta furiously cooked away in the kitchen. There were 16 of us; 11 in our group and another group of 4. Ben and Mary Etta weren't able to sit and eat with us as usual as the children were not available to help serve. Ben did the serving. 

The first that was served was an amazing salad and homemade dinner rolls. The salad was peas, cheese, ham, onions, and chopped lettuce with a sweet sour dressing. The dinner roll was served with butter and Mary's famous apple butter. I was full already!

The whole meal was served family style; passing the bowls along. 

Next came the main course of mashed potatoes and gravy, homegrown buttered green beans, a spaghetti dish with a chicken and buttery flavor, AND the most amazing meatloaf you'd ever imagine!  The bowls came around for seconds and I had to have more beans and a small chunk of meatloaf. 

Ben then brought out dessert!  We had a choice of chocolate cream, butterscotch cream or blueberry pies. Awesome!  I wanted one of each but took the blueberry and Chuck the butterscotch. More amazing food and coffee. 

Then Ben was able to sit down and answered any and all questions about their family, their life and their lifestyle. I for one was amazed to hear they are no different than us. I was always a little afraid of them. But they are the friendliest most kind people you'd ever want to meet. You make friends with them for life. Guess ignorance isn't bliss in this case. 

We've spent the week with the Amish people everywhere we went; stores, bakery, walking down the street, at the history of tractors, parade, watching the horse drawn buggies run past us, the bicyclists; even the young girls in their dresses, etc. the are just like us living within a community and have all the same problems the English, us, have with groups and/or family dynamics. A 5k race was run and the young Amish girls ran in their pretty dressed and coverings. 

The men pretty much asked about his farm life. He explained how the family farm became his and not any other siblings; there were two boys and two girls. They have what they call a "grandpa" house where his parents lived till they died and Ben and his family took care of them. Ben is now enlarging the home for the daughter and spouse to move into and they will vacate as they will be moving into the "grandpa" house soon. Their turn to move on and turn the farm over to the child that was able to work the farm. Choosing is a hard decision but they all meet and figure out who wants to and who is the most capable to carry on the Mullet farm. 

They have/had 160 acres but one brother took half so Ben worked 80. He is now down to not working much of the farm but the family garden, renting out much of his land to, actually his boss; yes, Ben works a normal job. The renter has agreed to give Ben what he needs, corn, to feed his 5 horses for a year every year.  I've never seen anyone so completely involved, heart and soul, into his work and his horses. He told a story about his two main horses he used for plowing and how they are very very committed to their master. The love goes both ways. Ben cried as he told the story because it's an end of his farming journey and moving on as it has been done so many times, it being his turn and a very emotional time for him. You could see the deep love he has for his family, life and farm, including his friends, his horses. 

I asked lots if questions about the ladies; from the cooking, laundry , sewing (treadle machines or battery operated), their covering (bonnets), colors, shoes, hair; did you know they never get their hair cut and many have hair to the floor?  

We learned about the history of the Amish and Mennonites. Way back to 1400-1700s. Amazing heart renching stories of torture and killing by the Catholics because they didn't believe in baptism till they each, on an individual basis, are ready to commit to their faith not at be baptized birth. They were called Anabaptists and, like I said, tortured and killed. While imprisoned, they wrote verse or song which are published with their individual stories in the book called "Martyrs Mirror", still available on amazon. When Ben read some to us, he cried, stopped to wipe his tears, and continued. These songs are used in their church services but only sung acopella. No music. 

We ended with a prayer, Ben spoke a parting from the book "Martyrs Mirror", and again stopping to wipe his tears. Hugs and tears all around and I mean hugs!  Great sincere words of safe travels and love to all. We certainly have made some serious memories we'll never forget. 

I'm sorry this got so long. It really is an abbreviated version as it is. 

Kathy