Simple Pleasures

Recently I have seen some plays and films that point out how important simple pleasures are. While we often benchmark times in our lives by major events, it is the simple, everyday things that give us continuity and a sense of well-being. These "simple things" are often overlooked, not fully appreciated, or forgotten when problems and other concerns arise. In our busy lives, we often don't even have time to savor or enjoy them. So let me share three of my summer simple pleasures with you...

MEADOW TEA. I have two kinds of mint tea growing in my backyard. One variety came from my mother's yard in the city of Lancaster, the other from my Amish friend's garden near Intercourse. While I am the world's worst gardener, these two teas have grown and thrived with very little help from me. The tea comes up every year, and is excellent for making both hot and cold beverages. (I admit to putting more sugar in my iced mint tea than necessary.) Perhaps I'll even try mixing the two together this year and see what kind of taste I get!

SWEET CORN. While most of those corn fields you see in Lancaster produce corn for the silo and the dairy cows, there is a lot of sweet corn grown for human consumption. I consider it a true Lancaster "delicacy." The sooner it is picked, taken home, and boiled, the better it is. I once was telling a group of visitors who I was taking on a tour about this. I was saying how this is one of the most delicious things one would ever eat...simple, yet unforgettable. Now I had their mouths watering and someone asked, "So what restaurant can we go to get some?" Well, fresh corn on the cob doesn't seem to be on menus around here. All I could do was encourage them to buy some. Maybe they took some home with them, or tried boiling it in their hotel room!

FIREFLIES. Ever since I was a kid, I found fireflies fascinating. We called them lightning bugs. Along with the sound of crickets, it was just a normal part of growing up here, the sights and sounds of summer.

But two things happened to change my prespective. I went to Japan, where city people actually go to temples to listen to crickets, so rare are they to hear, so beautiful the sound considered.

Then, many years later, a business friend was here from Los Angeles. We had just eaten a late meal at a diner on Route 30. We stepped outside, and he stopped dead in his tracks. His mouth dropped open. I asked what was wrong. He simply pointed to a field that was filled with fireflies, their lights twinkling on and off. "I've never seen them before," he explained. So we went to my Amish friend's house, sat on the porch, and watched fireflies. We even ran around until we caught one so that he could see it up close. Several weeks after his return to California, he sent us some keychains in the shape of a big firefly. It may very well have been the highlight of his visit!

Some nights I get to enjoy all three of these favorite summer pleasures. Each one now carries with it memories and associations of other times and events, family and friends. Every summer I think that I probably didn't really enjoy each of these simple pleasures as much as I could, or should have. Whatever your simple pleasures may be, enjoy them and share them with someone else!


Amish Country News Publisher's Message by Brad Igou


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