We had quite a variety of peddlers that would make their rounds to all the Amish homes in our community.
There was one lady that loved going to yard sales and would stock up on pretty dishes, toys and games, books, and anything else she thought the Amish would be interested in. Once a month she would travel to all the Amish home displaying all the treasures she had found. I was always so excited to see everything she was selling, and Mom always bought a few things from her.
Next there were several different grocery trucks that made their monthly rounds. It was nice being able to stock up on the basics without having to leave our home.
Another peddler only came around twice a year, but we always eagerly awaited his coming. He sold cases of turkey meat, each case held only one of a kind cut, so we usually got three or four cases to get what we want to can, which was usually enough to last until the next time he came around.
During the winter an apple peddler made his monthly rounds selling apples. The summer months he could be counted on to have what ever fruit was in season and he would make his rounds when ever it ripened. Sometimes every week.
The cheese peddler always had such a tempting assortment and I always wished my parents would try something other than their usual big block of Colby.
There were other peddlers that came selling a wide variety of things: fabrics, housewares, books, and more. Mom always, always bought something. Not always a lot, but she wanted them to come back the next time they were making their rounds.
As a young bride I wasn’t quite so concerned about them coming back, the basket man went his way without making a sale, as well as a number of others. But then a new peddler showed up. He was selling blankets. Brand new sealed in a cellophane package. We had only one blanket, and a scratchy one at that so I was interested. I looked at all the ones he was offering and chose two queen sized ones, a yellow and a blue one. Only ten dollars a piece. I was feeling pleased at the bargain I got and saving my husband money.
I happily carried them to the house, ripped the packaging open and went to put it on the bed. I opened it, and oh horrors! There was a giant hole right in the middle. I quickly opened the other blanket and it and a giant hole in the middle too. My happy thrifty feeling flew right out the window. I had just wasted twenty dollars!
The next Sunday in church this peddler was a topic of conversation. All those that had bought and opened their blankets had been greeted with giant holes. Those that had bought them to be used as future wedding gifts went home and opened them to discover the same thing.
I kept them, thinking that I would someday use them to make some sewing project, but sixteen years have passed and they’re still the same. Except they’re looking a little worn from the children using them as picnic blankets.
Maybe this winter they’ll finally be transformed.
Want to read more? Visit Mary Ann Kinsinger’s blog A Joyful Chaos.
Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.