Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who Let The Cat Out?

Some weeks ago my wife and I spent a long weekend in Berlin, Ohio. Berlin is the hub of the largest community of Amish in the USA. Their life is heavily influenced by their fundamentalist religious beliefs which leads them to shun modern ways for the most part, preferring life as it existed a century or more ago. We've shopped furniture in Shipshewanna, Indiana and visited Pennsylvania Dutch country near Lancaster, Pennsylvania--two other Amish enclaves. But this was our first time in Berlin.

As you can see from the photograph( though you have to either enlarge or look hard), the folks in Berlin decorated the streets for our arrival. Not! Who knows what motives lurked behind the toilet paper streamers. But I thought I would try to find out.

Somwhere among the storefronts above is the Boyd & Wurthmann Restaurant. "Where the locals eat." We stopped there for breakfast. Hopefully, it would not be as adventurous eating as the restaurant where we stopped the previous night when I was enticed to try a "mustard egg." It sounded intriguing, but all it turned out to be was a hard-boiled egg pickled in mustard. And it tasted pretty much as the name would indicate.

Anyway, Wendy and I took a table among the locals for breakfast. The young Amish waitresses all wore their customary plain long dresses and bonnets. They were friendly but kept up a busy pace.

"So what's the big event?" I asked our waitress as she stopped by to refill our coffee. "Why is the street all decorated?"

She laughed. "I don't know. It was like that when I came to work this morning. Somebody got excited and let the cat out I guess," she said, then moved on before I could ask a follow-up.

Somebody got excited and let the cat out? Did I hear that right? Is this an Amish idiom that I'm not familiar with? I wondered why somebody excited and out of control would decide the prank of all pranks to pull would be to let the cat out. Or maybe she meant that toilet papering the downtown was just the kind of mayhem a bunch of cats in Berlin would commit if their collective owners let them out on a Friday night.

I do remember that our cat would sometimes partially unravel a roll of toilet paper in my boyhood home. But we never woke up to find streams of toilet paper hanging from the light fixtures in the morning.

Maybe there's an Amish blogger I could ask. Not likely. Since the Amish ride buggies to work, light their homes by lantern and candlelight, and often plow their fields with the old-fashioned horse-drawn plow, the chances of there being an Amish blogger is slim at best.

Oh, well. Never mind. But I will tell you one thing. The peanut butter at that restaurant was the most delicious I've ever had. Wendy suspects they mixed marshmallow cream in with the peanut butter, but there was no label to tell us.

Guess I should have asked about that instead.


Blogger Kacey said...

My daughter and I are heading for The Inn at Honey Run for the 22nd and 23rd...I'll stop at that restaurant and ask if they have any bloggers who let cats out. But,...I ain't eatin me no musterd egg, no how! Maybe, I'll bring you home some peanut butter.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

The mustard egg reminds me of when I was in France and ordered pizza with egg on it. I thought it would be the standard version with small pieces of egg scattered about.

Instead, it was a pizza with a raw egg in the center. I guess my French wasn't as good as I thought. (Maybe I ordered it that way?)

I guess we're all learning not to order anything having to do with eggs.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I don't know what to say Dave, I have never heard of that phrase.... I have a friend that lives near the Amish in Ohio, maybe I could ask her.....

Glad you and Wendy had a good trip.

1:05 PM  
Blogger jan said...

It looks like my four dogs and one cat have been practicing Toilet Paper Olympics, an event that may someday be sanctioned by the AKC.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

well, I love spicy mustard-and I love pickles so I might enjoy the egg myself Dave.
right now, if someone "let the cat out" in our house-oh dear-both and the dog have run us into the poor house at the vet's this week.
Or, maybe that is how the street got that way?

6:13 PM  
Blogger amarkonmywall said...

Maybe just that, when the cat gets out, things get sort of wild? I don't think they spay their cats as consistently as we do. Or whatever.

So tomorrow is Saturday Shopping Challenge. You can either drag over to the market at the corner of Island Lake and Dexter-Pinckney or do your chip/hotdog thing. But let's see what 20.00 gets you in today's market.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Hmmm. Toilet paper, mustard eggs, escaped cats, and Amish marshmallow peanut butter. Wait, maybe I'm too tired to absorb this. I'll be back tomorrow.


8:06 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

I'm gonna join the rest of the gang Dave, and say I have no clue as to what the cat being let out has to do with the TP decorations.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the cat out: To prepare an anchor, after raising it by lifting it with a tackle to the Cat Head, prior to securing (fishing) it alongside for sea.

No mustard eggs or peanut butter for me, please. We're having fresh Dungeness crab for dinner!

7:15 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

The crabby post was mine, of course. Speaking of cats, our sailboat and our motorboat are catamarans. Our crabs were caught by my hubby and sons in the Puget Sound today.

I'll just melt some butter and toss some GREENS and voila, dinner fit for a SPARTAN!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

KACEY--Hope you enjoy the Inn as much as we did. Make sure you take one of the nature trails there; the uphill ones sure are good exercise.

FRED--Interesting story about the egg on the pizza. While in French-speaking Quebec, we ordered a chicken sandwich and a hamburger at a restaurant, only to be served our sandwiches in a plate covered with gravy and peas. I'm starting to suspect that the French just like to pick on unsuspecting American tourists.

LUCY--Ya know, that phrase could have been, "Somebody got excited and left the cap off." But that didn't seem to make any sense either.

JAN--Four dogs and a cat? If they didn't get along, I would imagine things could get pretty messy at home.

CARINE--We had two visits with the vet ourselves this week. And are poorer for it. Thankfully our dog got better before the next visit, which would have included x-rays, as a precursor for surgery. Ouch!

VICKIE--I'll have to try the farmer's market in Saline, which is closer. But can be pricy too, I think. I might be able to buy enough there for a fancy fruit cup.

LYNILU--The mustard egg is a lot to digest in itself, trust me.

PETER--Nothing like that down in the land of Oz, eh. Wonder if they have Amish over there though. Supposedly the Amish travel world-wide to do barn-raisings and such.

BONNIE--Yeah, good thing you re-posted with your name. Since you didn't have a Spartan aside in your first comment, I never would have known it was you.

Being a softie at heart, I prefer soft-shelled crab. I don't think Dungeness is served that way.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really odd, wasn't it? Sounds like a teenage prank with an Amish sense of humor.
Ooooh, their peanut butter? We have an Amish community in Sarasota....and the restaurants there serve THEE best peanut butter pie I've ever had!

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use to deliver beer to Gladwin, MI, which has a large Amish population.

I always got a kick out of it when I would drive by their fields with the Miller Lite truck and the Amish children would make the gesture of pulling my horn to get me to beep, and of course I never let them down.

Blog, how is the war wound from the family reunion? Those youngins' will do anything for revenge, huh?

I was proud to be the differnce maker on the geezer's squad, but the truth is what ever side I would have been on, that team would have won.

4:13 PM  
OpenID caroldee said...

Yep they do put things in the peanut butter and call it a "spread" oh boy does it taste good and spreads good .. eat too much and your rear will "spread" too.. LOL glad you had a nice trip. they sell that PB at SHIPS too. take care.. : )

10:08 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TERRI--They had about 40 different types of pies at the restaurant we went to. But none of them when we went for breakfast because the delivery person was late. Maybe the horse threw a shoe or something.

I saw your comment on Simon's brogue. I figured it was more New York than Boston too. Maybe his parents were from New York.

VIC--I didn't even think the Amish drank beer. Wondered about that.

If I recall correctly, I was named the MVP of the geezer squad. Maybe you should worry about the upcoming fantasy football season instead of your volleyball play. I'd hate to see you miss out on the play-offs two years in a row. (I'm already studying for the upcoming draft)

CAROLDEE--We did buy an Amish peanut butter spread at a local store, but it just wasn't the same.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave - the unusual ingredient is: Amaretto (almond liqueur) Most people don't have it in their pantry.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Speaking of mustard eggs, there is a place in MS that serves kool-ade pickles. They are bright red and they keep them in a jar on the counter. They seem to be popular but I think I will pass them both up. I do like pickled eggs though.
I have not thought at all about the toilet tissue, very strange!

9:45 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

*laughing* I've never heard that term either Big Dave T.

I might have pressed her on it.. must be a good story behind it at least!

7:12 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LUCY--Amaretto. OK. I used to have some of that myself too. Amaretto and Coca Cola makes a tasty drink.

EVE--Interesting foods down south. Reminds me of our visit to The Whistlestop Cafe in Georgia. But I think it was inspired by cafes in Mississippi.

DAVE--I WOULD have pressed her on it if I had to do it over. I just figured I could use Google to figure out what she meant. Didn't work.

5:59 AM  
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