Tuesday, January 08, 2013

East vs. West:Flying, Dresses, Sermon Illustrations

I am safe at home and happy to be here.

The East is different from the West in many many ways and one of them is this: In the East, you can pretty much drive wherever you need to go.  You know how Mennonites are always going to visit Mom, attend reunions and weddings, and get together for the holidays?  Well, you can do all that by driving.

If you can find your way on those beastly roads, that is, which they all seem very capable at.

Well, theoretically we could drive from Oregon, too.  Only we don't like to think of driving 1800 miles to Minnesota three times a year to see Mom and Dad.

The ladies at my table at the retreat were talking about flying, something they very seldom did.  One woman about my age had flown exactly once in her life.  Wow.

[These ladies were also unfamiliar with the Izze drinks we were served with our snack.  That surprised me, and made me feel sophisticated, as I am good friends with Izzes, thanks to the girls working at Grocery Depot.]

I should have kept track of how many people on this trip, in both Virginia and Pennsylvania, when we told them our itinerary, said to me, with disbelief, "Are you flying back ALONE?"

 Well, yes I am.

As it turned out, I could also have said, "And my flight to Denver will be delayed so I'll be positive I'll miss my flight and spend the night in Denver, but then the flight to Portland will be delayed also, so I'll catch it in plenty of time, and get in at 11:20pm.

"Then I'll take the shuttle to the Ramada Inn, since our car is parked there, and I'll pick up the car key at the front desk and then go hunt around for the car in the parking lot.  When I start driving, the car will act all stubborn like the emergency brake is on even though it's not, and I'll spend half an hour pulling forward and back, shining my cell phone into the back of the wheel well to see if something is rubbing on the wheel, and hoping I find something so obviously wrong that I have to spend the night in the Ramada.

"Then suddenly things will loosen up and the car will run fine and I'll drive home which is two hours down Interstate 5, and I'll stay awake because someone is praying for me, I'm sure.  And then I'll hit the ground running and get ready for another airplane trip in 17 days, to a wedding in Toronto followed by most of a week in Minnesota with my folks."

Trust me, I would give a lot to be inexperienced at flying and have my parents and sisters within a day's driving distance.

There are things that eastern ladies are good at that I am not, like decorating for an event and navigating those roads and persuading their children to live close to home, so maybe it's ok if I am more comfortable with flying than they are.

Odd how you think everyone else lives like you do, until you find out differently.

Like: dresses.

I was so impressed with the cute but very modest dresses the SMBI girls were wearing.  I had sewed 8 dresses for Amy last summer, but I remembered sewing all my own before I went to CBS way back when.  I was curious if the other girls at SMBI sewed their own dresses or had their moms make them.

So I asked.

"My mom."
"My mom."
"My mom."

Oh dear.  These were girls from all over.  Is our generation failing to pass on the skill?  Amy and I had decided it was more efficient if I sewed and she cooked and cleaned, but maybe next time I should insist she sews for herself.

I talked to Emily about this.  She said, "Well!  When I went to SMBI I asked a few girls where they got their dresses and they said, 'I went to Goodwill and got a bunch!'"

Imagine how handy that would be.  And that has to be distinctly eastern--to find nice Mennonite dresses at Goodwill.  Wow.

I went to a little church with Amy on Sunday.  The minister used the following as sermon illustrations: Pickett's Charge, Papa Bear in the Berenstain Bears, and the Battle of Gettysburg.  I had never heard a Mennonite minister do that.

Don't worry, he also talked extensively about other things, like Ahab and redeeming the time.

I think Oregon ministers are more likely to extrapolate illustrations from grass seed.

Quote of the Day:
"Mom's giving you that 'I can't believe I raised you this way' look."
--Jenny, to Steven


  1. Don't lump all people in the East into a group like that. :) We are from the East. Our daughters have flown by themselves, do road trips, etc. One daughter flew when she was 17 , got bumped, overnighted in a motel and came home the next day. We sell Izze in our store and it is one of our favorites. Also, all of our 4 daughters sew their own cute dresses. Just thought you might like to know this. : )

  2. I'm from the East and "proud" to be one of those that you're talking about...

    Although, I do agree with you. It amazes me how many younger gals - including one of my sisters - still get MOM to sew up all their cute dresses.

    What is Izze? never heard of it?

  3. This is one of the reason's it is so tough to move from east to west. The women out here are so strong and independent, sometimes you feel like you will never be able to be one of them. Other times you wonder if you want to because than you feel like you are losing apart of who you are..I'm sure it's a struggle the other way too. I want to learn from these wonderful people out here while not losing my own personality...am I making any sense? Either way it's always encouraging to me when I see someone else recognize those differences in the culture. I'm relieved that it's not just me.
    As far as sewing goes, I sew more than my mom. I think a lot has to do with interest. Also, it is cheaper these days to buy from thrift stores than to sew...that's why I so often buy from thrift stores.

  4. I wonder if flying is somewhat generational, with the younger generation, in both east and west, flying a lot more, especially overseas.
    Dresses: I met girls from both east and west (including my daughter) who get their moms to sew for them. What is distinctly Eastern is buying Mennonite dresses for Bible school at Goodwill!
    Bevy--Izze is carbonated fruit juice in pretty slender cans. yum.
    Anon.--I hope the people around you appreciate the eastern "gifts" you have to offer.

  5. I loved hearing your thoughts on the east - as one who lives in easy driving distance from SMBI that we could go over for a volleyball game - back when I was 18!

    But I happened to be a crazy one who because of some life circumstances, spend a year or two doing a lot of flying - alone. And yes, it was unusual!

  6. Not to mention the Fabric stores in the East....... :)