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Column: Appreciating a simpler way of life

Last week I was looking forward to watching the Twins-Yankee game when I heard it would not be televised due to conflicts between cable companies.

I channel surfed and all that was on was the earthquake in Japan, talk of a government shutdown, the budgets on state and national levels and the political unrest in the Middle East. I knew the same news would be on all evening.

Comfortable in the recliner, I turned on the radio and picked up a magazine. Leafing through, I started reading an article about the Amish who settled in Ohio in the early 1800s. I thought of the time we stopped at the Amana Colony in Iowa several years ago.

Follow those black buggies back in time for an authentic life experience that offers divergent trails to a simple, rural lifestyle.

The residents are well known for cooking healthy, wholesome food and we found a meal of tender roast beef, hand mashed potatoes with a delicious gravy made from recipes passed down in families topped off with a piece of fruit pie. Not one person was overweight or on the hefty side from these big meals.

They are also known for their home carved furniture, hand made quilts, delicious wines, jellies, jams, baked goods and candles served in their restaurants or sold at their stores. They are happy to stop and visit. They are happy and relaxed doing what they do best while they enjoy doing it.

As the Monday sunrise looms over the horizon, the aroma of fresh baked goods fills the kitchen, followed by sounds of the rolling pin flattening what will soon be a pie filled with fresh fruit from their garden or orchard.

The fields are still tilled with horse drawn equipment, the cows are milked by hand, the fruits, vegetables and animals are all organic.

The men's trousers are held with suspenders, ladies and girls wear dresses. Children are educated through the eighth grade and family life revolves around religion, the good book and their neighbors. Their life is neighbors helping neighbors. They don't have electricity, therefore no television.

Because of their day-to-day activities, they don't care about the economy and current events are not important to them.

If you follow one of those black buggies traveling to buy or sell their wares, going to visit a neighbor or on Sunday going to church held in a member's home followed by a pot luck dinner, you will enjoy a trip to the past.

I finished the article and thought of these people. It's not the life we know or how we live but for an hour of reading or a visit to their colony, you realize just the stress-filled lives we live today.

Creamed chicken

4 tablespoons of flour

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups of milk

Melt butter in pan and add flour, stirring until the mixture becomes foamy but not brown. Add milk and stir until smooth. Add two cups cooked chicken cubed, one can peas and carrots. Heat through and serve on toast, baked or mashed potatoes, rice or egg noodles.