Sunday, February 07, 2010

Can I get a witness?

I was watching the 1985 movie "Witness" starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. Ford plays a Philadelphia detective who must protect an Amish boy who witnessed a murder, apparently carried out by corrupt policemen, at a train station. His efforts require him to sneak the boy and his widowed mother out of town, back to the farm country west of the city from which they came.

My favorite scene is the barn raising, one in which everyone has a part. When a young couple marries and acquires a new property, they need a new barn. The men do the heavy work, the women provide for the lunch break as well as refreshment as they work, and even the children have a part to play. Eventually the couple will take their place helping another neighbor.

Many people think most of the Amish are in Pennsylvania. That may have been true at one time, but there are actually more in Ohio, mostly south of Akron and Canton. I used to see them when I visited Lehman's, a hardware store in Kidron, Wayne County, specializing in the hardware and houseware needs of the "plain folks," as well as others devoted to a "low-tech" lifestyle. It's quite a large facility, and it attracts a great number of tourists, which is why the Amish tend to shop more at their smaller branch in Mount Hope, Holmes County. According to Wikipedia, "Lehman's claims they are the world's largest supplier of Non-Electric goods. The items offered range from traditional or historical items, such as a selection of 30 different axes or the Victorio strainer, which is used to make apple sauce and tomato juice, to more contemporary emergency items such as crank powered radios and flashlights."

(I don't know what the big deal is. You just gotta remember three things; be polite, don't stare, and don't take their picture.)

Once I saw one of those old wringer washers (Mom used to have one when I was very young), that was fitted with a sausage grinder, of all things. It was a way of using the motor (probably gas driven, as most of them don't use electricity) for more than one purpose. I thought that was pretty awesome. But not as awesome as this barn raising.

Well, enjoy. I still have a car to dig out from under.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My wife taught a film music class and sometimes used the barn-raising scene with Maurice Jarre's score. Few people notice the irony of depicting a people choosing limited technology while underneath is a sythesized score. It guess that means it works. :)

Scott W.