By KEVIN WILLIAMS
Amish Cook Editor
I penned the following note more than 20 years ago.
“I want to ask you that if things were different, if we had met in another place, another time, would I be the type of young man that you would perhaps want to date? You have so many qualities that I find attractive and appealing… “
I’ve been asked innumerable times how the Amish Cook began and in media interviews I’ve dutifully told the story. But never all of it. It took years before I sheepishly told my wife and even Lovina about what happened. At the time I was embarrassed by the episode and wanted to bury it, but now I’d like to share the story in a book called “Not So Simple.” While I have been busy writing novels over the past year, I’ve come to the conclusion that my true tales rival those found in fiction.
In creating this column I was, probably in part, trying to soothe my sorrow from the wreckage of an unrequited romance with a young Amish woman
“I know that I’ve just asked you an awkward question, and I don’t mean to put you on the spot… but I think I would have always wondered otherwise. In many ways, I think you have something the rest of us don’t with the way you live your life and I’d like to try to carry some of those qualities in my own.”
Not So Simple chronicles this unexpected encounter with Katie when I was 18, along with the chance meeting with the original Amish Cook, and a parade of colorful characters from an Old Order Mennonite buggy maker, to an Amish convert, to a German Baptist bishop and the parallel journeys of myself and Katie.
“In closing, I just want to say how much I enjoyed the time spent with you and your family this summer. Maybe someday our paths will cross again? “
I didn’t want to leave, but I had to. I left her behind in her world of buggies and bonnets and went back to mine. The Amish Cook column allowed me to continue that connection to the Amish though, at least in a small way
Not So Simple is ultimately a full-circle story of redemption and the power of simplicity. The full title of the tale is Not So Simple: My journey among Amish, Mennonites, and Other Plain People, and the story of the most popular newspaper column you’ve probably never read.
If you’re reading this you’ve heard of The Amish Cook. The vast majority of America, however, hasn’t and the future of this column will be a lot more secure if we could change that.
I’ve always lacked the resources to compete and readers and editors have been the army that has kept the Amish Cook afloat in what is a daily battle. But I believe telling the whole tale behind the column could finally give it the wider audience its never had. And there is no time like now. Telling the story will take some time and resources to pull together, but I think doing so could create a book capable of drawing a larger audience, which is the ultimate key to The Amish Cook’s future.
Kickstarter.com specializes in launching art projects (books, film, sculpture) and they have approved Not So Simple for funding. But it’s “winner take all.” We have until 9:46 a.m. on Friday, December 9 to secure enough reader pledges to raise the funds that will make the production of Not So Simple possible. If we hit the goal, the funds are released. If we don’t hit goal, we get nothing and The Amish Cook continues to languish in relative anonymity. This is an amazing opportunity to change that. 200 reader pledges would secure the goal.
So if you would like to help us secure the goal, visit www.oasisnewsfeatures.com/update for full details. Pledges can also be made by phone, or information obtained, by calling 1-800-224-3032. Kickstarter provides rewards at various pledge levels.
Editor’s note: Lovina Eicher’s normal column will return next week.