Our visit back to the mid-west for Mom's birthday was a success! There is nothing quite like a trip to Berne, Indiana where the reason tourists arrive is to watch the Amish drive their horse drawn buggies down the road. I grew up around it and still take pleasure in catching the sight when I return to the area. Mom and Dad grew up Amish, but for some reason (probably because I moved away 18 years ago!) I continue to find it comforting to see. My brother-in-law Mike even owns the Berne Trading Post that markets products specifically for the Amish. A walk through the store discovers shoes, hats, bonnets, stainless steel buckets, etc and etc all waiting for Amish to purchase and take home.
Strolling through Berne is fascinating with its Swiss style buildings and Swiss music playing over loud speakers as you saunter down the sidewalk. The new little coffee house featuring its name stitched into a quilt offers the length the people of Berne will go to intertwine their business with their tradition. The folks in Berne are proud of their Swiss heritage! There is a Swiss Heritage Village ( a collection of homes, barns, church and etc) that have been moved to a spot near Berne to give the tourists a place to see inside buildings in which the Amish lived and worked. It's apparently a great location to host various related festivals as well. They have even commenced work on a Swiss clock tower for the town! Interestingly enough though excavation is in process of an old cemetery from the 18th century where the tower will sit. The graves are being carefully unearthed and the bones removed to a new location before actually building the tower.
Anyway, back to Mom's birthday . . . Many of the family made it in for the occasion (roughly fifty or so) but several were not able to make it for one reason or another. November 4 was Mom's 80th birthday - but don't tell anyone, she's telling her friends that she was born in 1937. So wish her a happy 72nd birthday please !!! She doesn't have the internet yet, so no, she will not see this post - and she won't know about it either if you keep your mouth shut!
Family reunions like this tend to be a series of meals, both at homes and various restaurants. If you want to keep your weight down, you have to plan ahead and try to lose a few pounds directly before or after one of these gatherings or you will just keep piling it on. It is not uncommon for one of the Schwartz boys to sport a little bit of a gut. I guess we haven't found the right ratio of exercise to food eaten. Mom had a great time with everyone fawning over her and visiting with all the relatives. There were about two dozen little ones running around so it was a very active scene that reminded me of a riot, a very loud one at that.
A highlight was unveiling the birthday cake with candles shooting flames two feet into the air. No matter what everyone else thought, I still think it was a good idea. The family reunion, Mom's birthday, the visit back to Berne - they were all memorable. But I'm worn out and ready for some rest.
Until next time - I love you family and Happy Birthday to Mom!Kevin