I think I need to write this story down.
See, it’s just so perfect. So very wonderfully orchestrated, that you’d think it was set up. Or written down. It sounds like something that would happen to a character in an L. M. Montgomery book–and Ann-with-an-’E’ would write it down in her journal, of course.
Last week, I brought TJ home for a very short visit to my parents’ home in Pennsylvania. TJ, being a huge fan of locally grown produce, was, my parents decided, just the right candidate to bring to a nearby Amish farm.
Yeah, so my parents aren’t exactly city folk.
Though, my mom would want me to point out that she was raised by a father who worked at 30 Rock in Manhattan and very regularly went into the city with him. So maybe she is sort of a city folk.
That said, they live in the country and I love it.
TJ does, too; he just has an underlying concern about bugs when visiting. He doesn’t even specify. Just “bugs,” in general. I get it, in a way–they can be disconcerting. I mean something that can bite and fly? I repeat: disconcerting.
So we go to the Amish Farm.
“Oh man, guys,” I say as we get out of the car and walk towards the shop where they sell their produce, “They’re closed—the lights are off.”
“THEY’RE AMISH,” all three of them say to me through gritted teeth (God forbid the Amish overhear that they are, in fact, Amish!), “Of course they have no lights!”
We walk in and peruse.
It’s a fabulous assortment of the usual end of the summer garden offerings, but see, with probably the same amount of passion TJ vehemently avoids bugs, he seeks out figs. So it is only a matter of time before TJ asks the Amish girl behind the counter if they have any.
“Yes,” she says.
“Where are they?” he asks.
“In the barn.”
TJ gives it another beat before finally asking, “Could I see them?”
“Yes,” she answers, and then communicates to a guy in the back–Isaac, we find out later–that we want to see the figs.
Isaac comes out and motions TJ to follow him as he leaves the shop.
My mom says aloud, “Well, I like figs, too,” and joins them. My pop and I round out the group–me holding Luna–and soon we are all outside, following Isaac the Amish Man as he resolutely walks towards the barn.
“Do you want to butcher them?” Isaac asks TJ, momentarily pausing for his question.
“No–just eat them,” TJ answers, sounding a little baffled, “Whatever Jess wants to do with them, I guess,” he adds.
Whatever Jess wants to do with them?” I think.
First of all, why is TJ referring to my name like the Amish man actually KNOWS me? Second of all, when does anyone ever butcher a fig?
The whole thing is starting to feel weird, but it all happens so fast, that nobody has time to think much about it.
Now let me paint you a picture. That morning, there was a tornado in the area. Which means there was also tons of rain. The small nearby creek is now swollen and has swallowed the banks on either side. Everywhere is muddy–especially around the barn where the animals graze.
TJ is wearing his nice adidas sneakers and favorite jeans. He is starting to walk through the mud slower and slower, gingerly picking through it with a high step that would impress the Royal Army. By the time Isaac is all the way up to the gate, TJ is walking on the balls of his feet, unable to avoid the muddy patches because the whole darn thing is one swampy, muddy patch.
We notice that Isaac is walking towards a large gate with even larger pigs behind it. My parents and I have stopped following them now, as we realize what has happened. My pop starts laughing, leans over and says, “I think TJ may have gotten more than he bargained for here.”
In a flash, Isaac swings wide the gate and out stampedes five humungous pigs.
NOT FIGS, MIND YOU.
OH MY GOSH, PIGS!
TJ starts running backwards, not caring nearly so much about the mud now, as he does about the pigs that are charging towards him. He yells to Isaac, “I think there was a misunderstanding–FIGS! I said FIGS! NOT PIGS!” as he runs, and barely manages to hop out of the pasture and close the gate in the snouts of the noisy pigs.
My parents and I can hardly contain ourselves.
I mean, Oh my goodness, you just can’t even make this kind of thing up.
Isaac realizes what has transpired, and starts laughing, too.
TJ joins in and we are all just staring at the pigs, cracking up while standing on the rain soaked Pennsylvania ground.
“My son grows figs, actually,” Isaac finally says, once he manages to control his laughter.
“Do you have them here?” TJ asks whistfully.
“No,” he answers, and that is that.
But man, what a day at the Amish Farm!