There are a number of Amish stores in our area. We don't visit them often, but occasionally my Mom needs something not available in normal stores. When that happens she will drive to the store and then stay in the van while either my brother Eldon or I go in to buy what ever it is she needed. (It's all part of growing up in a family where the parents are being shunned by the Amish.)
The following is the account of the first time I was the one responsible for doing the purchasing:
Last summer we made frequent visits to a little Amish store where we would proceed to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. One particular time I was sent to go do the buying of a broom, peaches, and corn. I took a deep breath, straightened my skirt, and stepped right out into the unknown depths of awkwardness.
I looked around searching for someone to help with my purchasing. My eyes found nothing and quietness almost deafened me. A movement caught my eye and I found a woman in a produce shed arranging boxes. "I would like a broom" I said, awkwardly approaching her. She eyed me strangely and then started walking to a tiny trailer. I followed her, just happy to have something to do. Inside, the trailer smelled like dust and old jello. She led me towards a bin of brooms and asked "Which one." I smiled and went for a purple broom. This was easy. Gaining confidence with every step I told her I would like half a peck of peaches. Once again I was inclined to follow her as she silently the way.
Once inside of her produce shed I was left to hold my broom and inspect their ceiling as she quietly counted peach after peach into a bag. My eyes grew bigger and bigger as one after another peach filled a bulging paper bag. She straightened up and handed the heavy bag to me. Grimacing I took the bag thinking it was going to burst any minute spewing peaches all over the floor and my pride. "And 2 dozen corn" I said concentrating on carrying my awkward load.
This time she led me outdoors towards where my Mom's minivan was parked. I ignored my family's snickering faces and followed her to a massive bin of corn where she proceeded to fill bag after bag of corn. I shifted my broom, shoving it under my arm and hoisted my bag of peaches to try and make room for all those bags of corn. She eyed my load uncertainly then heaped the bags of corn into my hands too. Then she stood there looking at her feet while she waited for me to pay her. Obviously I wasn't in any position to get my wallet and pay her at the moment so I struggled and dragged, clanged, huffed, and stumbled my way over to the trunk of my Mom's minivan where I disposed of my load.
Drawing up the last scraps of what was left of my dignity I took my wallet and sheepishly paid her. She counted the money and nodded towards me and we both went our separate ways.
Finally I was free to collapse into the minivan where I was bombarded with supportive snickers and outright laughter. My only comfort was that she had been every bit as uncomfortable as I had been.