Saturday, May 12, 2012

I met Naomi at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch last summer. She lives in a very nice two bedroom house in Greenville, Ohio. She has never had a computer, but loves to write. Here is a picture of her journals--she has more than 60 of them. She's very creative and has a number of self-made blankets, puzzles, and other interesting materials. When I got there she told me about the storm last Friday, where it had been raining gently and suddenly lightning struck the tree in her backyard and she saw as all the bark was stripped from it and the tree was gone. Her mother saw the same thing in a different part of town.
The next day we went for a walk in the park, and saw this fenced in area where there lived three male peacocks and four or five females. Their feathers were magnificent. When they got all bravo, the guys would puff out their feathers, squawk, and then run after a female; mounting her, he'd grab her crown feathers with his beak and pull. It was nauseating. Some of the females had no crown feathers left at all. I think I prefer the praying mantis, whose female bites the male's head off during mating.

When we were on our way to a hiking spot, Naomi decided to drive by the house she grew up in, since she hasn't been there in a while. Now there is a Mennonite family living there. Mennonites live without electricity. When Naomi had been living there, they'd had power, which means this family must have taken it out for themselves. The woman walking by the front of the house is dressed in typical Mennonite clothing. We saw a sign out front that said "Kitties for free!" and I told Naomi we had to at least see them. So we went to the door and the woman living there--Betty?--let us see the house, and then she took us out to the barn with the pigs and kittens.

 I was immediately drawn to this gray and white kitty, whom crawled up my shoulder and into my hood. She reminded me of all the kittens I grew up with; I always trained them to perch on my shoulder like birds.

 I got Naomi to bring the kittens home! I wanted to keep mine (I named her Travina, for a traveling kitty) but knew that I could not carry her on my road trip and then to Yellowstone. Naomi decided to keep the dark calico--pictured here in the background--and she gave Travina to her friend, who has only ever had wild cats.

This is Naomi's mother, Naomi, and her 8-pound dog. Her mother is very plain, with no television or computer (although her husband does have one for work). She wears the pony-tail white netting piece that many plain women wear. Naomi just puts her hair in a bun and covers it with a black cloth. She does a few other things, too, that some plain people might not agree with, but she's okay with that.

Her mother makes mint iced tea from the mint growing by the house, and she can make grape juice from grapes. It is just sweet enough and doesn't taste like chemicals the way so many juices do, especially those 20% real juice products. A family member made apple cobbler and pumpkin cake, and we got to have a bunch. I thought the cake was carrot at first, and the frosting cream cheese, but she said, "I've got you fooled!" and told me that it was not cream cheese frosting at all, but it was made from butter and a bunch of other things. It was delicious.

If I had to come up with some kind of moral to this visit, it might be something like this: Just because people are different, doesn't mean they aren't similar, and just because they live without some things doesn't make them boring. I don't think I'll ever be plain, but why not live in a house without cable?

Of course, there's no way I'm giving up internet any time soon.

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