February 20, 2004

Ruth and Samuel Take Me Out to Dinner

Last night we went to the Plain & Fancy Farm Restaurant! I couldn’t believe it. It’s a tourist joint. All the New York City tourists go there to get “real Amish (they pronounce it with a long A) cooking.

“I’m going off my diet and I want salad with hot bacon dressing, 3 bean salad, chow chow, corn pudding, heaps of mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, red beet eggs, and shoofly pie for desert.”

“She’s been talking about this for days,” said Samuel.

“Couldn’t we go to the Red Lobster,” I asked.

“Daddy, that place is so crowded, and it’s just a mass production, slop the hogs restaurant.”

“They’ve got better slop than Sweet and Sour does,” I said.

“Well, I’m just not interested in sea food tonight.”

Samuel began to sing softly, “ Whatever Ruthie wants, Ruthie gets...”

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s just head out of THE BIG NEEDLE.

True to her word, Ruth ate everything Sweet and Sour had to offer. She’d been dieting for about a month and had lost 10 pounds, but probably gained it all back last night. During the course of the meal I was told that The Professor is getting to the bottom of the debris in Sanctuary, and that he is almost finished cataloging all my things.

“Good,” I said. “Once he’s finished perhaps he’ll return to Pittsburgh and let us alone.”

“I think he wants to talk to you about one of the journals, Isaac,” said Samuel. “There are pages missing, or damaged, or maybe both.”

“I just don’t understand what happened. Who would damage, or take my things? It’s not like my studio was open to the public. And, what’s The Professor need to catalogue my work for?”

“Daddy, you know the attic leaks, and there was a fire too. And, The Professor isn’t just cataloguing your work. He’s filing and saving every scrap of paper that has anything to do with your entire life.”

“I repaired the leaks remember, and how does a fire start in he attic and put itself out without damaging the rest of that old house?”

“We’re incredibly fortunate, Isaac. All your work would have been lost, and all of our antiques destroyed, not to mention the risk to our own persons.

“Daddy, why professor has saved Sanctuary and everything in it.”

“No, I think he’s appropriated Sanctuary along with everything in it, and I wish he’d go away.”

* “The Pennsylvania Dutch Country Welcome Center,” PaDutch.com, http://www.padutch.com/hexsigns.shtml (Viewed Friday, February 20, 2004 at 5:38 A.M. EST)

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