Everything's Not Always as it Seems

When we moved up by Cooperstown, we were surprised to learn that there is a large community of Amish people here. Over the years we have befriended several of them. A wonderful simple lifestyled group of people, they have worked for us doing construction with George and housekeeping at the inn. A couple years back when we had one of the girls work for us, she was barraged with questions from the other housekeepers and myself. George also finds himself asking his workers many questions. It's such a different lifestyle that it's hard to believe people live like that in this day and age.

Well maybe not so different really. The other day while working on the new rooms, George had a couple of Amish working with him. He walked into the room and noticed a particularly familiar stance. The 16 year old Amish boy had his back to him, elbows out, head bowed. For a second you would almost think he was praying. But having a 16 year old ourselves, George immediately recognized this position! He was praying to the texting Gods! Something was quickly shoved into this 16 year old's pocket. George noticed a distinct outline. "Jeremiah, do you have a cell phone??," George asked. "Wah, wah, what?" "Come on, you heard me, do you have a cell phone?" Then just a slight smile came across these two Amish faces. The older one even asked to borrow our boat that evening. He said he had driven a boat before and George really likes him, so he gave him the keys. What? Isn't that like driving a car? That's allowed in the Amish handbook? I have a feeling that handbook gets rewritten every year.

We are familiar with many of the last names of the Amish here. So a while back when we received an online reservation under one of these familiar names, I thought, Oh they must have relatives coming to visit. Would I have to turn the electricity off in that room? How would it work? But that seemed wrong. They would most likely stay at the Amish home. I was so curious to see if they were Amish when they checked in.

I was downstairs at the front desk and George was upstairs when they arrived. In walked a young husband and wife and their three children. All dressed in very fashionable summer clothes. Other than their clothes everything else screamed Amish. They had the accent and a very distinct Amish look to them. It took everything I could to hold in my, "Oh my God, are you Amish? Why are you dressed like that?" No, I know, that would be wrong. So I pretended not to notice.

The mom and dad looked around the lobby while the three little boys sat on the couch in perfect formation. I excused myself for a second and ran up the stairs to get George. "You have to come down. There are Amish in our lobby dressed in really cool clothes!" We ran down the stairs and walked casually back into the lobby. George introduced himself and talked to the couple about the Baseball Hall of Fame and other attractions. Then, never being one to mince words, George said, "You know, your last name is a very popular Amish last name." WHAT?? WHAT did you just say? I thought we were pretending not to notice!!!

It was then that they explained that they were raised Amish and left their community when they were adults. They seemed to enjoy talking about their Amish upbringing, so I was glad George brought up the elephant in the room. I don't think I would have had the nerve to. Between this couple and all the Amish people we have come in contact with, we realize they are not so different than us. They like a lot of the same things that we do, and as the Amish handbook keeps being rewritten, it won't be long before we see them, out and proud, holding their cell phones in public and texting each other, instead of actually talking to one other, like the rest of us.

A Trip to Cooperstown with "Mom"

Baseball isn't just for men, women like it too. A while back this was evident when three sisters and their mother checked in for a "Ladie's Weekend." These four women loved baseball. The sisters, aged 60-70, decided to take "Mom," aged 92, to the Hall of Fame. "She just loves baseball." Well that wasn't the only thing she loved as I was soon to find out.

That night, after the lobby closed, we got a knock on the door. I opened it and one of the sisters said, "Mom is sick and we are going to need you to come to the room and clean up a bit." Oh man, really?? Can't I just give you a roll of paper towels and call it a night! I thought. Then she said, "Probably are going to need a bucket and a mop. It's pretty messy." This wasn't going to be good!

I got my cleaning supplies and off I went. I knocked on the door and when the sister opened the door, there was "Mom," tucked in the bed with the covers up around her nose. An almost unrecognizable "Sorry" came out of her mouth. As I walked in I couldn't help but notice the extraordinary amount of liquor bottles lined up on the bureau. OMG, Mom's drunk! Really? Isn't she like really, really old. Couldn't the Hall of Fame trip have been enough? Did they really need to party with mom too??

"It's in there." They pointed to the bathroom. It? Oh this was going to be bad. As I opened the bathroom door and walked in, I wanted to die! It's as if a 90 year old Linda Blair had been in there. Someones head had to have been spinning for this mess to happen. I closed the door and before I did anything, I cried. Yes, cried. Maybe this was a dream. Maybe I would wake up from this nightmare. But no. This wasn't going away until I made it go away.

Many times our guests have said to us, "We too have always wanted to run an inn. It seems like fun."  It's times like this I think of  "Mom" and the darker side of innkeeping.