Alabama Women

My friend, Betsy, and I drove to Ethridge, Tennessee, to spend a day with the Amish. We paid our $10 to ride in a horse-drawn wagon along with eight other women, all of who happened to be from Alabama.

Alabama women. Interesting.

They were in two separate groups; one, a group of three that seemed to be related and the other, a group of five that confirmed they were related. Sisters, sisters-in-law, or such.

The group of three was a little back-woodsy, what with their missing teeth and all. The other group, though, put on a show of keeping up with the times. All five shouted, “Roll Tide!” as they climbed aboard the wagon. The one who sat beside me repeated the sentiment right in my face, so close I couldn’t help but breathe in her words. She noticed that I drew back.

“Oh, are you not from Alabama?” she asked.

Why would she assume people in Ethridge, Tennessee, were from Alabama?

“No,” I said. “I’m from Tennessee.”

“Ah! A Tennessee fan! Boo!”

Another wrong assumption. Living in Tennessee does not automatically make a person a UT supporter.

Our wagon driver, Jimmy, started us on our journey amidst all the flirtatious comments the women made to him. He was old, gray, and slow-moving, hardly the type to strike up an affair with.

We made our first stop a short way down the road, where the Amish family had baskets, molasses, preserves, breads, cookies and candies for sale. Betsy and I held back while the Alabamians converged on the small road stand.

“I bet not a single one of them went to the University of Alabama,” Betsy confided. And I guess she would know Alabama habits, having lived there a number of years. “Most of the people who make a big deal of saying Roll Tide didn’t even attend the school.”

We joined the crowd looking at the merchandise and Betsy bought a nice basket. Neither of us bought any food, but the Alabama women loaded up.

“They’ll eat their way through the morning,” Betsy whispered.

Sure enough, they did.

The women seem to have made an effort on their appearances. They had obviously spent time on hair, perhaps hearkening to the saying, the bigger the hair, the closer to God.   They had also taken pains with makeup, though it was a bit much for a day in the country. And they really tried with their clothes as well, with lots, I mean lots, of matching accessories, necklaces, scarves, earrings, and fancy shoes—stylish in an Alabama sort of way. But it was too much for a setting more suited to jeans, hiking boots or sneakers. We were on an open wagon, after all, one that was none too clean, and was actually pretty smelly with horses pooping up in front.

The women talked nonstop. Betsy and I sat right behind the driver and had to strain to hear his explanations of Amish ways with all the chatter going on behind us. There was lots of talk about DG, their favorite store, (Betsy finally understood that to stand for Dollar General), probably the only one available in the small communities from which they hailed.

We stopped at several other farms to look at items for sale and to watch a man weave baskets. The Amish had little to say, being focused on their work, providing for their families. I liked that; admired it, to tell the truth.

So with whom would I rather spend my time? The Amish or the Alabama women? I have to go with the Amish.

I might just scream if I have to hear–or breathe–Roll Tide again.

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