Episode Two recap:
I remember exactly where I was when my cell phone screen lit up with a ‘private number’. I held my breath as the voice on the other end asked for a “Mose Gingerich.,” followed by introducing himself as a highway patrol. When I get a call like that, my heart drops right out of my bottom. Someone is in serious trouble, or dead. But, instead of panicking, I remember, in a clear voice, asking the dreaded question: “Is he alive?” I listened as the patrol recounted the events that led to Jonas’s car accident. Jonas had been thrown out through the moonroof of his car, landed on the shoulder of the road, and his car had sailed over the top of him and landed in the field beyond. Jonas was responsive when the paramedics arrived, but now, on his way to the hospital, he had become unresponsive.
As I had suspected, I was in the air, on my way to Anderson Cooper, when episode two aired. While I was unable to tweet, I did watch the episode. Obviously, one of the most talked about topics was the slaying of a chicken, by a seemingly quiet Amish girl from Kansas. I was neither for, nor against airing the bloody scene. Mainly, I grew up on a farm where beheading chickens was as normal a thing as milking a cow by hand, or, if you need a bloodier scene for comparison, delivering calves from a birthing cow. In short, if the chicken beheading scene was in some way educational to Michaela, or to the viewers, then do the thing already.
Speaking of Michaela… When she contacted me through Facebook in early 2011, her story about wanting to join the Amish garnered much blunt criticism from me. Michaela however, refused to leave me alone, messaging me several times a day, stating her case in different and more determined terms with each message. After a month of back and forth communication, I agreed to meet with her in person. I think the reason I was drawn to Michaela and wanted to help her is because something about her reminded me of myself, from about ten years ago. Back then, I was the kid who needed help, needed change, and I was the one reaching out for understanding. After talking to Michaela, it became clear. If she was miserable in the outside world, and if she could be happier among the Amish, then I would help her, even if it contradicted how I felt about the matter. Never mind that I spent half of my life trying to get away from exactly what she now wished to join. I would set aside my biased opinion and give her the shot she was looking for.
Many, many viewers have emailed and asked whether Michaela joined the Amish. I suppose the end to episode two made it seem like Michaela’s story is over, but, her story continues. Making a transition that important is one that shouldn’t be made overnight. But tsk, tsk, let’s not go and blast spoilers all over the place…
Cephas and I have had long, heated, debates on things like credit, or a college education, and do you need it to get anywhere in life. All in good fun of course. (The note he showed to the camera, the one I still have a copy of, a perfect example of our sort of friendship). Cephas is a very opinionated kid with huge aspirations, and I’ve pushed him the entire way. He was so elated when he got the ‘good faith’ loan to buy his house, that he promptly called me to ‘rub it in’ that he succeeded without established credit.
My birthday party came after a very long and stressful day at the dealership. My wife asked me out on a dinner date, after which she wanted to go dance at Whiskey Wild, the largest country bar in Columbia. I halfway suspected that she was up to something, and wasn't sure I had the energy required if she had a surprise planned. However, my fifth wind kicked in as soon as I walked through that door and saw a roomful of close friends.
Episode Three preview:
Jonas Stutzman's accident, and the difficulty when, already struggling mightily, he finds doors in his past closer even harder.
We see people from all over the country coming into Columbia and trying to convince the Ex-Amish kids to join their various churches and faiths. I have had thousands of people contact me, asking for these kids’ cell numbers or emails because “they seem so innocent and vulnerable.” Allow me to state for the record, that I have never, and never will, given out any of their personal contact information to strangers. While they agreed to be on a TV show, they deserve privacy, and I will help them keep that.
In episode three I will be LIVE tweeting once again. You can follow me at @AmishNCity.