This past March my family and I decided to make a quick trip up to Jamesport, Missouri, again—which I wrote about in my April Amish Wisdom post. My daughters and husband were all excited – but my sons went under duress, until they discovered we were going to stop at a cheese store in Osceola, Missouri, on the way there. We’d stopped there the first time we went and discovered they had over three hundred different varieties of cheese, so this time we went armed with a cooler and plans to buy several different varieties.
As we neared the store, I noticed bicycle signs on the highway, mixed in with horse and buggy signs. I’d seen them before, but didn’t see any Amish, and I couldn’t find any information on Amish in or around Osceola on the Internet. So, I decided I’d ask in the cheese store.
As we were checking out, armed with cheese varieties such as garden vegetable, blueberry swiss, ghost pepper, smoky cheddar, shoestring cheese, and our travel favorite: cheese curds.
I approached the checkout aisle when it emptied (there is usually a crowd) except for one lady browsing through the selection of stick candy there. “I saw Amish signs by here. Where would I find the Amish in Osceola?” I asked her.
She said, “There are no Amish in Osceola.”
I looked at her. “Then the signs…?”
She rang up my purchases. “They’re all over the back roads round here. Go down behind the cheese store. You’ll see ‘em.”
“Do they ride bikes?” My husband, Steve, came up behind me.
“No, that’s for a bike route that goes through here.”
I asked if they farmed, and the lady who sorted through the candy shook her head. “I live next to them. They don’t do much farmin’.”
It got busy then with a growing line behind us, so I didn’t ask what they did do, but we took a side trip down the dirt road behind the cheese store. And several other dirt roads. We saw two or three Amish men, mostly driving their buggies. No women. I didn’t get a good grasp on the colors they are allowed to wear. Some of the Amish homes were big, and some were run-down shacks.
One Amish man opened his door when we stopped in front of his house to take a picture of his buggy, but promptly closed it again when he saw the camera.
I’m still not sure what they do. This isn’t a tourist-friendly/farming Amish community like Jamesport, and it isn’t farming like Seymour. They did have a few small hand-lettered signs. Candles. And you drive up a muddy hill around a curve, and deep into the woods. But the small shop was closed and no one appeared to be home. It smelled like hot wax around that area. Someone else down another road had a hand-lettered sign labeled “wooden toys.” They too were closed. But they were the only two signs I saw. The land hilly and rocky. There were some small farms.
We didn’t stay long as we wanted to get to Jamesport for more research, then back to Springfield (for the man part of vacation: Bass Pro Shop) but I hope to get back to Osceola someday and do more research.
If you go, visit the cheese store on the highway. And then take the dirt road behind it.
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning author, a pastor’s wife, and a homeschooling mother of three children. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) and The Amish of Webster County series (Healing Love, Surrendered Love and Awakened Love). Her non-Amish book Swept Away will release November 2014.
The Postcard and Snow Globe are her latest releases. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites. She makes her home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.
Purchase Laura’s books here.