Stop the World, I want to Get Off!


The title of a musical from the early 1960s called “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off,” referred to a time in life when everything seemed chaotic and going too fast. While I don’t really want to get off the world, I am genuinely concerned over the speed with which things are getting out of control today – especially technology, national politics, climate change and the economy, to name a few.

My late husband was a country boy through and through. I, on the other hand, quickly adapted to city life after my family settled in the Chicago area. It’s amazing that we got along so well. I often told my husband that I would feel much safer walking down the worst street on the south side of Chicago than being lost for one day in the Michigan woods. But we compromised and made our home in Fenton. He thought he was making a sacrifice living in the “big city of Fenton.” I just laughed, but did eventually come around to his way of thinking. There were moments, however …

Last fall, I drove from Fenton, MI to Indianapolis, IN for a weekend visit with my stepson and his family. I used the Waze app on my phone for directions. Once in Ohio, it was time to find a restroom.

As I approached the first exit, there were no signs indicating the names of gas stations or restaurants, just a four-way stop. “That was weird” I thought, and decided to keep going … I could wait. Along the way, I did notice there was nothing dotting the flat landscape except an occasional farm. And, there were no utility poles anywhere – just a few rows of wind turbines spinning slowly.

At the second and third highway exits, I found the same thing: nothing. Now, I really need to stop. Thank goodness the “Welcome to Indiana” sign popped up and just over the state line was a huge Love’s Travel Stop.

Since then, I have thought about that brief trek through Ohio and decided it had to have been either Amish or Mennonite country. I looked into both lifestyles to refresh what I already knew of them. While Mennonite rules are a bit more relaxed, the Amish use no modern conveniences. No motorized vehicles, no electricity, no phones or cell phones, no computers or internet.

If my husband were still living and our boys were still children today, I would have loved for us to take an “Amish Vacation” (it is possible, I’ve learned) when we would “unplug” everything for a week or so. I would love to learn how to make a beautiful patchwork quilt, to can homegrown fruits and vegetables, bake peach cobbler and apple strudel from scratch, and simply visit one-on-one with the ladies of the community. Speaking for my husband and sons, they would have been over the moon to actively participate in a barn-raising with the men and then enjoy an incredible feast prepared by the Amish ladies. There’s so much more.

Yes, stop the world! I want to get off – for a couple of weeks, anyway.


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