Louise Swartzwalder column: Sometimes it’s hard to be humble


One of the things you learn early about the Amish community is that they are protective of their ways.

I live in Ashland County, which is being encroached upon by the growing numbers of Amish moving from Holmes County.

Each work day, two sets of guys in buggies go by the farm, off to work.

You get to know them, wave, sometimes exchange more than a quick greeting.

Dad used to sell to the Amish, taking loads of hay down into Holmes County for customers.

You learned to never take a photo of Amish folks. Those are never allowed in the Amish community. You never see a mirror in an Amish home. Their ways are things you learn to respect.

Sometimes, these unassuming folks provide more than you’ve come to expect.

As a person of the “English” persuasion (you are termed that if you are not Amish), I have been allowed to revere the sorts of things not allowed in an Amish world.

In my family, vehicles — tractors, nice cars, pick-up trucks — were always treasured.

Dad would religiously trade his Oldsmobiles every two years.

This was big.

When I was old enough to get a car — in our German family you didn’t do that until you graduated college — dad helped.

I got this boat … a giant white Pontiac.

It was used, but sturdy. This would have been dad’s pronouncement.

I liked things a bit more racy.

A Volkswagen would have suited me.

Not to be.

I became interested in sports cars when I rallied with spouse Kent Mosher in Des Moines. He was an engineer, and meticulous about keeping time as I drove.

We got trophies.

He had the great idea that I move to a Porsche, the real German sports car.

I got a 914 2.0 liter. It was remarkable, a mid-engine five-speed job.

After that, loyal Kent decided I should move up.

So I got a Targa. Metallic brown with a removable top, another five-speed.

I wrote about acquiring that car when I was a reporter for the Des Moines Register.

It was printed in the Sunday magazine section, complete with photos of me, petting my car.

I kept the Targa until I decided it was silly to garage it, not drive it.

I moved to another Porsche.

This year, the Porsche itch got strong once again and I found about a phenomenally colored Macan.

(To clarify, this is a lower version in the sports car family. Not as expensive or upscale).

This Macan comes in Momba green, a color available only on cars built in Leipzig.

My buddy at the Porsche dealership put in for a car like that after I told him I had seen information on that green machine in a magazine.

The car arrived. It became decision time.

I already had decided I needed to cut back (rationalizing that a less expensive car would be good).

In the car dealership, buyer and staff go through the usual haggling.

We (buddy Andy Krause, Porsche consultant, and dealership manager Chris Studor) had fun, debating numbers.

In the end, no rationalization needed.

How could a sane person say no to a Momba green Macan?

We did the deed.

I drove it home.

Of course, like clockwork my Amish buddies were going up the road as I was going down the road.

We waved.

I looked back.

In an oh, so slight move, one of my Amish friends turned around.

He had a very large “Oh” look in his eyes.

You can say over and over how conservative and not yearning Amish people are.

The truth is even the Amish have amazing good taste.

Momba green – incomparable.

In my Des Moines Register article, I traced the history of getting into sports cars.

I put in a lot of rationalization, too.

I’ve told friends about this purchase, and a few folks in Bellville and Butler have clearly taken notice.

The last lines in my Des Moines Register article, published in 1977: “it means a lift every day when I get behind the wheel.

It’s hard to be humble about owning a Porsche.”

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Louise Swartzwalder

Galion Inquirer