The Amish; Part III

Here is a collection of Question & Answers sent in by the curious public.

Q: Does the term “Rumspringa” have anything to do with the hip-hop song “rumpshaker”?
To the best of my knowledge, the term (discusssed previously in "Part II") has nothing to do with the 2003 album “Rump Shaker” by Suburban Legends, or the 1992 rap single by Wrecjx-n-Effect.

Q: Have the Amish ever produced championship cyclists?
I do not believe that the Amish have ever produced any championship cyclists, but there was at least one from a Mennonite background. America Floyd Landis grew up in a devout Mennonite family in Pennsylvania before he got into cycling (true story: Landis showed up at his first bike race wearing sweat pants, since shorts were frowned upon by Mennonites). Landis went on to success as a professional bike racer, and gained more fame when his 2006 Tour de France victory was revoked upon testing positive for enhanced testosterone levels. I suspect he might also be one of the few Mennonites to ever be banned from international sports due to performance enhancing drugs.

Floyd Landis, in happier times.

Q: Why did the Amish name the town Intercourse?
Intercourse, Pennsylvania was founded in 1754, and was originally named Cross Keys, after a local tavern. The name was changed to “Intercourse” in 1814.
According to the town’s website, several theories are given for the origin of the name, “Another theory concerns two famous roads that crossed here. The Old King's Highway from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh (now the Old Philadelphia Pike) ran east and west through the center of the town and intersected the road from Wilmington to Erie. The joining of these two roads is claimed by some to be the basis for the town 'Cross Keys' or eventually 'Intercourse'. A final idea comes from the use of language during the early days of the Village. The word 'intercourse' was commonly used to describe the 'fellowship' and 'social interaction and support' shared in the community of faith, which was much a part of a rural village like this one.”
According to my mother, who clearly explained the meaning of Intercourse to me at the tender age of 39: It’s a farming community and the roads lead into town to the market. The more direct route was called the Inter-course ( or Business route) the other being the long way around, or Outer-course.

Q: Is Weird Al Yanovic Amish?
No. Weird Al (famous for such parody songs as “Eat It” and “I Love Rocky Road") was born in California of Yugoslavian descent. He did record a single in 1996 entitled “Amish Paradise”, but he is not Amish.

Weird Al (no more glasses--he got LASIK!

Q: Why don’t they have curtains?
Actually, they do use curtains. As mentioned previously, some of the lifestyle choices chosen by the Amish vary from community to community. While some communities choose not to use curtains (my guess is they perceive is as being too “fancy”—remember that the simple, unadorned life is highly sought after), others use curtains and all are the same color, shape, etc. This would be in keeping with their desire not to draw attention to themselves.

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