The journey starts at the funeral for my Grandmother, Arletta. I was a punk kid from Miami not at all used to the damp cold of a Pennsylvania January and all the relatives who drunk junk cars and spoke with a deep accent. Truth be told, as much as I loved my Grandma I was worried about missing the upcoming Superbowl, Dan Marino’s first appearance with the Dolphins. There was a lot going through my mind as I had to sit quietly waiting for the service to start.
My Mom broke the whirl of contemplation in her usual quiet way. “You see those people over there, in the plain dresses and hats and prayer caps?” I nodded, they were damned hard for me to miss. “They’re your second cousins.” What? I have relatives in the 17th Century?
I’d like to say what direction my thoughts went from there, but I can’t tell you. Suddenly, a whole lot of things made sense. This was the first time it sunk in that my Grandfather had left the faith, Santified Bretheren but Amish as a decent shorthand for us Englischers. I was one of … them.