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Interesting People Meeting different people on Amtrak

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On our recent trip across country on Amtrak, from Michigan to Seattle, WA, we met a lot of interesting people. Among them were several groups of Amish folk from different parts of the USA. An elder couple was from Lancaster County, PA; one family with 2 young boys was from near Bowling Green, KY; and another family was from Wisconsin. They all offered up information about their beliefs and practices very willingly, much to our surprise. We had lively informative conversations with all of them. Most interesting to us was the fact that they do take converts. We were not aware of this as most groups seem to be a more closed community. They did clear up the myth about why they don't want their pictures taken. We were told some time ago that they believed that a picture took away or captured some of their soul. This is not true. We were corrected to understand that the objection is taken from the bible in regards to not creating man-made images. Another interesting bit of information, is that the Mennonites are a fracture group from the Baptist Religion. The Amish are another splinter group from the Mennonites that happened when the Mennonites began to relax some of their tenets. The Amish chose to keep the strict or more traditional tenets. Children are brought up in the tradition of community and home schooled in most cases. Some Mennonites do attend public schools, however. When the children reach maturity, they go away from the community, for approximately one year, to see the outside world. This helps them decide for sure if they truely wish to remain as a member. They are not forced to stay within the community.


A rather humorous event occured when we first spoke to the family from Kentucky. One, as a rule, would expect to hear a Pennsylvania Dutch or German accent coming from an Amish person. Well, when the gentleman spoke, much to our surprise, out came this thick Kentucky accent. We learned his home state when we asked about the accent. Further on in our conversation he said he guesses he is an Amish redneck. Unusual to say the least. He really had a sense of humor.


We also encountered some Hutterites or Hooterites, not sure of how they spell it. They were very timid and kept to themselves, especially the females. When the elder Amish gentleman approached them, they were even closed-mouth to him, so we didn't learn anything about their tenets. They were on their way to Spokane, WA to pick potatoes. The Amish were all traveling on vacations seeing the sights of interest such as big cities, National Parks and etc.


Our train attendant was from Tibet. He too was an interesting fellow. He was very slight built and non-assertive, which made his job hard for him when a slightly under-the-weather guy stumbled into the wrong seat on our car. He tried very hard to make the guy understand that he was in the wrong car and needed to find his own seat, but he just couldn't handle the situation very effectively. They guy did finally find his way to the right car and seat on his own.

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