Wednesday, April 27, 2016
DRIVER FOR THE AMISH AND OLD ORDER MENNONITE. - PART 1
It looked for a while, the place we worked was going to close, at least in Rochester. Rather than transfer, Dot and I took early retirement. We also decided that seeing our children had moved, we were going to move where we wanted - out in the country. So we sold out house and rented one in Gorham, right into the Old Order Mennonite area. We weren't planning on moving into Old Order Mennonite area, it just happened where the house we rented was.
We met both Englishers and Old Order Mennonite in our area. Our neighbors were Old Order Mennonite and we got to know them. They were very nice people. We enjoyed sitting on our porch in the morning, drinking coffee and watching the buggies go by.
Dot and I were looking for part time jobs. But, out in the country, jobs are hard to find. Also, being in our 50's, people would rather hire younger people than us. It's either they think we would want to much pay or we are to old to do the job. We never thought of becoming a driver for Old Order Mennonites or for the Amish, who later moved into our area.
The first Old Order Mennonites we drove were our neighbors. They had come to use our phone, on occasion to call their driver, but never asked us to drive. This day, the ladies Mother came to call the driver and they weren't home. She called another and another. None home. Dot asked her where she wanted to go and she said her daughter had to go to the hospital. We said, we would take them. So we drove to their house - took Mother and daughter to the hospital. Once we made it to the hospital, the Mother asked if we could go get her son, the ladies husband. He was at another Old Order Mennonite Farm. So off we went and got him. We had to break the news that his child was coming - NOW.
Instead of just dropping him off, we went up to the delivery section - we wanted to know if it was boy or girl, too. We found when we arrived, their baby girl had been born. We took Grandmother home on the way to our home. The next day the babies Father came and offered us money. We told him, we were neighbors, that's what we did for one another. Still never thought of being drivers.
Once in a while, we would get people that would come to our door asking if we could take them here or take them there. If we could, we would. They knew we would not accept payment, so we found money in our car after we left them off - sometimes stuck in the seat.
One day, their Bishop, came to our house - it was the Bishop before Bishop Joseph and said he heard we wanted to make some extra money. Would we consider being drivers for the Old Order Mennonite? We thought about it for a minute and said sure. He said if we had our plans when someone asked, that was understanding - but they would appreciate it we would when we could. Also, he said, we were to take money. He understood we are neighbors, but we had to pay for gas, our time, etc. We agreed we would take money.
Dot and I were trying to figure out how to set up rates to charge people, but we never had to. They paid us what they paid their other drivers and we took it. When gas went up, the other drivers went up, our passengers started paying us more. So we really never set a rate - they pay us what they pay the others.
We started with just our car. Old Order Mennonites and the Amish have large families. They don't fit into a four door sedan. Finally, we bought a van and kept our car. So we have two vehicles.
Someone asked if we make a living doing this? Not really, but it is a nice addition to our retirement. It allows us to have some of the extras in life like eating out once or twice a week. going on a weekend vacation a couple times a year, etc. It also helps cushion the money in the bank a little bit.
Some of the people we are close to them and their families - we have built a relationship. I know Elmer has told you that people are different and different groups of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites are more open than others. Some of them are very close friends of ours. Some of them, we are just their drivers and our customers. I would say most of them are our friends and we are theirs.
I was going to tell about driving the Amish and the Old Order Mennonite, but I guess maybe I getting long. So I will do another post. Feel free to ask questions.
How Elmer bribed me to do this is that our landlords want to sell the house we are renting and offered it to us. After praying, looking around, we decided we wanted to build a new one. We also decided the best place to build it is the farm area next to Elmer. Dot and I wanted to ask him, as he is particular who buys that property. We didn't know if he would want Englishers next to him. So, we decided to ask except Anna broke her leg, they went to Pinecraft, and were busy when they came back. Finally we asked. We told them we WOULD have electric. We would have phone. Still Elmer and Anna agreed. He said they would sign the papers, if we would put a post on here. So here is the post, so we can own the property and start building our new house.
I told Elmer, the only reason he wants us next door, is so he wouldn't have to go so far for his driver when he needed us. With a grin on his face he replied : "Darn right."
John and Dot
On my calendar today is: Sorry looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.