I stayed with the Blackstones again on my way home. They invited me to a birthday party, then a barn party, and I got to meet Jenicka's mom and most of their community. Jenicka's mom owns a costume shop filled with a multitude of time periods, both real and imagined.
Her house is filled with dolls--Jenicka said there might be close to 500 or 5000 dolls in her mother's house.
Before this, I'm not sure I'd ever seen a couple of elderly dolls.
At the birthday party we went on a long, cold wagon ride down dark roads. The picture is of the Blackstones. I met a woman who had moved from Colorado to this community to be with her husband. They now have an infant.
The barn party was fun. There was bobbing-for-apples, a big cut-out scarecrow with a hole for people to put their heads into, and my favorite--food!
The only part of the barn party that made me uncomfortable were the few people who saw me at a sensitive time in my life, and were bent on "saving" me. One elderly lady asked me a number of questions: "Have you ever stolen? Have you ever lied?" Toward the end I figured out that it was a game I was certain to lose, and there was something about being born with sin. It was a conversation I found myself trying to untangle from. I heard a great many stories that night, stories of why one woman chose the lord, a terrible thing she had gone through, and why a married couple had taken Jesus as their savior, with another awful story. I don't feel right telling their stories here, so I won't. But they were real and raw and unsettling, and I can understand why people reach for religion so often.