Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pa Rock and the Mennonites

by Pa Rock

Today marks my 25,203rd day of riding this speeding mud ball through space, or, in a more comprehensible view, my 69th birthday - and through it all, the world goes on.  Tomorrow I am heading out to Kansas City, and on Saturday I will fly to Oregon for a brief visit with my most remote grandchildren.  When I return home next Thursday, the first order of business will be getting the mowers out of the packed garage and starting on the mowing, an activity that will last up into November.

The grass just keeps growing, and Pa Rock just keeps getting older.

This past week I bought myself a birthday present - two presents, actually.  I have been in dire need of a big storage building ever since relocating to Missouri three years ago, and I recently found a prototype of one that I really liked.  The model storage unit was on display here in West Plains, but the manufacturer was eighty miles away in Salem, Missouri.  Last Friday I called the manufacturer and got more information, enough to entice me to drive to Salem earlier this week to look at their full line of buildings.

People in this area know that when it comes to on-site construction, nobody does it better than the Amish and Mennonites who are located in pockets of small communities throughout southern Missouri.  With that knowledge in place, imagine my delight when I pulled onto the grounds of the small factory in Salem and discovered that it was a Mennonite operation.  I knew even before stepping into any of the model metal buildings that I was going to be impressed - and I was!

I told the neatly-attired bearded man at the front desk who I was and who I had talked to last week.  He asked me to wait while he went into the factory and brought out the young man who had given me the initial sales information over the phone.  The salesman, a lad of no more than twenty,  had a square beard and was modestly dressed in blue jeans and a work shirt.  He was obviously more at home constructing storage buildings than he was with selling them.

But he overcame what appeared to be discomfort in sales and proceeded to show me several models and answer all of my questions.  When I learned all that I needed to know about the storage units, I changed tack and asked him about his religion.  In response to my query about whether he was Amish or a Mennonite (Hey, I wanted to know!), he told me that he and his family, the owners of the establishment, were Mennonites, and added, "but we prefer to be called Christians."

We walked back into the office where I ended up buying two units.  They are being constructed to my specifications and will be delivered in early April.  As the young man struggled to enter my order into the computer - using two fingers - I perused the office.  The counter that I was leaning on had two stacks of religious tracts that appeared to be free-for-the-taking.  One had a title dealing with "Radical Islam" and the other purported to be teachings of Jesus that people might not know about.  I resisted the temptation to leaf through either of them. 

In a few weeks the new buildings will be here and set up on the old basketball court.  It will be so nice to finally be able to unpack and get my life back in order.

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