Episode Eight recap:
You know a show has become too engrained in your life when you are at a gas station, walk by the men’s' restroom, see a sign hanging on the door that says, OUT OF ORDER, and you have a sudden, overpowering urge to get out your sharpie out and write the word Amish: above it.
In episode eight I was thrilled to see that not only did I not get as much face time as before, but when I was on the screen, at least I shamelessly bawling my eyes out like I had in the last few episodes. Rather, I was co-signing on a vehicle for Albert Y, the father of four Ex-Amish boys who live in and around Columbia, Missouri. I might add that Albert isn't the first Ex-Amish that I've co-signed for, and he probably won't be the last. My rule of thumb is that every Ex-Amish deserves at least one chance. Yes, a few have come back to bite me, but most of them, including Albert, are very responsible. When I first started co-signing for them, I was in construction. But wouldn’t you know it… karma really does come in full circle. Now, many of them with credit fully established, are coming in to the dealership to buy vehicles from me. In fact, Albert and his sons have bought a total of nine vehicles from me in just the last year.
Albert Y and son Chris
Michaela finally gets a fair shot at Amish life in a community where they were lenient enough to allow the cameras to come in. However, Michaela learned that just because one particular community is more liberal as a whole, doesn't necessarily mean that they are more liberal in all aspects of their beliefs. In short, I've learned that often the Mennonites, who are considered to be the liberalist of them all, are much quicker to excommunicate their members than are the Amish.
Side note: Episode eight was filmed right after I came home from my road trip in September of 2011. After having filmed Mose nonstop for over a month, I told the producers that I desperately needed some time off. Which might explain why a story of Michaela disappearing into the confines of the Amish community in Sarasota, Florida suddenly became possible.
One of the misconceptions I had about Amish: out of Order is that once we wrap up the production side of things I can sit back, relax, and spend time with my family, and enjoy watching the show come across the TV. Boy was I wrong! In the months since the show started airing, I have received mail and email from all corners of the world. In fact, I receive an average of over five-thousand emails per week, many of them I will probably never have the time to respond to. I have received so many Facebook requests that my account is maxed out, and I have had to start new sub-accounts. On top of that, almost daily, and at times many times in one day, people just randomly stop by the dealership to meet me. Although I appreciate the support and am thrilled that the show touched so many people’s lives, the sheer volume of people coming at me is totally overwhelming. I realize that I am one of the fortunate ones… I got the opportunity to be on TV. Not many people have such opportunities, and I am definitely not taking it for granted. That being said, forewarning, once episode ten airs, and it’s all over, I will crawl into a hole and rest my brain for a while.
I have added a mailing address at the bottom of my ‘About’ page. I promise that I will make a valiant effort to answer each and every email and letter, but if you haven’t heard back from me by one month after contacting me, you can assume that I simply could not possibly find the time. And for the wonderful and kind folks people who have sent money to help the Ex-Amish, God Bless You! I have formed a non-for-profit organization, and the money you are sending is being spent where needed for the new ones who recently left. I hope to, one day, have enough cash flow that I can start sending some of them through high school and even college.
Episode Nine preview:
It is very difficult to speak about episode nine without giving away much. But I will try. Here goes… For anyone who has ever lost a dear, loved one, or even for those who have not… Brace yourself. When such a travesty occurs, thoughts like, “It's not possible,” or “It must be a mistake,” or, in my case, “Surely God could've given me one last opportunity to say goodbye.”
I cannot tell you, in advance of tonight’s episode, the name of the departed, but if you have followed Amish: out of Order you will recognize the person. If I sound a little calloused about the loss of a friend, I implore you to understand, for you the sad news will be brand new. For me, the loss occurred over six months ago. I have mourned, buried the friend, and have partially healed. Nevertheless, reliving it on TV tonight will, without a doubt, tear me up all over again, as it will the millions who will be watching. There, you have been warned…
In writing about the details of this tragedy, I struggled mightily with what to say. The departed and I weren’t related, and it is not my story to tell. I struggled with televising someone’s death for the world to see, as if the network and I are perhaps exploiting for ratings. But then, at the peak of despair, I had to stop and ask, “What would the departed have wanted?” And in this question I found solitude, for I know, without the slightest morsel of doubt, that the answer would have been to be sent off in a blaze of glory, for the world to see. In fact, we had conversations about this cast member’s aspirations of someday being a television star… so perhaps the best thing one can do is, in death, give the proper sendoff.
Although the Ex-Amish community grieves, Heaven received another angel. That angel is now living the lofty dreams somewhere up above, and much sooner than expected. To the departed… -May you finally achieve all the lofty goals you dreamt about while on earth-
Peace be with you, my friend…