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Technology and the Old World

by Mary Haynes about a year ago in Love
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Merging Ideology

Technology and the Old World
Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Sam and Rachel waited out the rain in their special spot, the old barn. Sam was moving to Toronto for a few months. He'd worked with people in the construction industry while on Rumspringa. His carpentry skills quickly made him a sought-after expert in the hand-hewn wood trade. He was hired by the designers of the urban cabin lofts at Parliament and Wellesley.

Rachel's family didn't believe in Rumspringa. When she turned 16 and asked for freedom to discover whether she wished to commit herself to the Amish religion, they refused. Sam's family had encouraged him to go and experience life. Sam decided he wanted freedom, but he'd fallen in love with Rachel, so he returned to the village and his family's furniture business.

Sam hugged her and asked once again, "Come with me. I'm making enough money to support us."

Rachel pulled away, "You know I can't leave my mother. Her cancer is making it impossible for her to keep up with cooking and cleaning. If I don't help, she will literally die taking care of Dad and the three boys."

He pleaded, "Rachel, please, this isn't right. We deserve to be happy. Your mother needs to be where she can get medical treatment. Come with me, and we'll bring your mother too!"

Rachel looked hopeful, then her brow wrinkled. "My Dad isn't a bad man; he's following his beliefs. My brothers haven't experienced life like you have. Luke wasn't allowed to do Rumspringa, and the twins, John, and Matthew are only fifteen.

Sam groaned, "Rachel, I'm trying to help! If I thought I could kidnap all three of your brothers, I would. But they need to stand up for themselves. I’ll respect your decision! If you need to stay here, I’ll live with it."

Rachel snuggled deep in Sam's shoulder. She mumbled, "I love you, but I have a responsibility to my family and to my mother. My happiness is secondary."

Sam stroked her hair. "I understand, Rachel. I grew up here too. I'm giving you this cell phone. You'll need to change this portable battery about once a week at the corner store. The manager, Hans, will have a charged one to switch out. You can also call me on Hans’ phone". Sam put the cell phone into a canvas bag and tucked it behind some boards.

"Thanks," Rachel said. "I will call you as often as I can. You'll probably move on with your life. I hope we remain friends. I can't imagine life without you in it."

Sam took her face in his hands. "Look at me!" He raised her chin. "Look at me! I'm not giving up. You will always be part of my life. I will wait for you!"

After Sam left the following day, Rachel forced herself to focus on her mother and the housework. In the barn, the cell phone rang, unanswered.

Sam eventually stopped calling. From his balcony, he watched the traffic and people on the street below. A woman with long auburn hair made his heart skip, but it wasn't Rachel. He resigned himself to the fact that he would finish his contract and return to the village to be with her. He couldn't imagine life without her.

Rachel devoted all her energy to making sure her mother was comfortable, and all the chores were done on time. She needed to pretend life was normal, and everyone was happy. She didn't go to the barn; it was too painful.

Rachel's mother had difficulty coping with the heat of mid-summer. She was pale and sweaty. She cried out when the spasms in her abdomen increased daily. Rachel had to cajole her into trying some broth or mashed potatoes.

"Mom, it's time that you let the doctor examine you again. Rachel dabbed a cool cloth on her mother's forehead and neck.

Her mom responded, "I don't like to complain, Rachel. It's not our way."

"Mother, stop being a martyr!" Rachel stated firmly. "Even Dad accepts medical intervention when it's necessary. And he sends for the vet if one of the horses gets sick."

Her mother reached for her hand, "Okay, Rachel, call the doctor. It's hard, though; I've always left my life in God's hands."

Rachel patted her hand. "And God made humans, and some became scientists and doctors. You need to trust that part of God's plan.

Her mother's eyes widened, and she pointed. Rachel turned to see her father in the doorway.

He spoke softly, "Elizabeth, she's right. It's time. I sent Jake for the doctor. Rachel will go with you; I'm sure she can find a place to stay there." He shuffled his feet awkwardly.

Elizabeth protested. "If Rachel goes with me, who will look after you and the boys?"

Jacob crossed the room. "Just because we've never had to look after ourselves doesn't mean we can't. Have a little faith in us, Elizabeth. We all just want you to get better." Frustration faded from his face, and he bent to embrace his wife.

The doctor knocked on the doorframe. After a quick assessment, he concurred that it was time for medical intervention and called an ambulance.

Rachel quickly packed for her mother and herself. She wanted to go to the barn for the cell phone, but there wasn't time. Her father saw the panic in her eyes. "Rachel, it's okay; I'll have Hans let Sam know you're coming. He'll meet you at Princess Margaret Hospital.” Rachel cried as her father hugged her. He patted her on the back and then gently pushed away. "Okay, my girl, it's time to go. Take care of your mother and yourself."

Sam was at the hospital when the ambulance arrived. He handed her a cell phone and a wall charger. "Please use this one! I want you to be able to reach me for anything."

Rachel hugged him. "I'm sorry. Thank you for understanding and being here for me. I promise I will keep in touch."

The next few days were a blur of tests and listening to the medical team. The tumor in Elizabeth's stomach had grown. They were optimistic that part of her stomach could safely be removed. The recovery would be long, with repeat visits for chemotherapy and radiation.

The operation was a success, and Elizabeth was scheduled to be released in a few days. Sam and Elizabeth convinced Rachel to get some sleep at Sam's apartment in the new loft.

"Wow! This is gorgeous!" Rachel looked up at the wooden beams in the vaulted ceiling. "Is this your work?"

Sam nodded. "Yup, we finished this one first, and they let me move in, so I would be on site. The project is coming along nicely. It should be finished before Christmas."

"Then what?" Rachel was exhausted. The thought of discussing their future was not something she looked forward to, but it needed to be done.

Sam grinned. "Well, that depends a lot on you! But I have some interesting ideas that I've had help with."

She started to inquire about his plans when Sam's cell phone rang. After he chatted a few minutes, he handed Rachel the phone.

Puzzled, she said, "Hello?"

"Hello, my girl!" It's good to hear your voice!"

"Dad? How on earth are you on the phone? Where did you get it?"

Her father replied, "The barn, of course. I went to check on the old barn, and I heard it ring. I left it there for you, but after your mother went to the hospital, I took it to Hans to get it working. I've been getting daily updates from Sam. I'm thrilled you and your mother are coming home to us."

Rachel responded, "I never thought the day would come when you would use a phone. What else have you two been keeping from me?"

Her father chuckled. "As a matter of fact, we do have some plans to discuss with you. Of course, it will be up to you if you think it's something you want. I'm going to hang up now and let Sam fill you in."

After she hung up, Sam grabbed her hand and led her to his drafting table. He rolled out some plans and proudly pointed to his work.

Rachel scanned the plans in front of her. "What am I looking at? Is this your next project here?"

"Nope! I'm setting up my own design shop. If people want my work, they can drive to my studio or check me out online." He stood back and watched as she stared at the plans.

"It looks familiar somehow. That window in the very top looks like the one in our old barn." Rachel looked up and saw the confirmation in his eyes. "It is our barn, isn't it? How and why?"

Sam took both of her hands. "Yes, it is our old barn. Your father gifted it to me. He knows I have no interest in farming, but he understands my carpentry skills. I think he also hopes, as I do, that you will consider marrying me!"

Rachel looked at the floor. "No! I'm sorry, I can't do this!"

Sam dropped her hands and stepped back. "No? No, you don't want to marry me? Or no, you don't want to live in the barn?"

Rachel looked up. "Of course, I want to marry you. But I will have to look after my mother until she gets strong enough to do things independently. And even then, she will need help keeping up with my dad and the three boys. Maybe someday the timing will be right."

"Screw someday!" Sam pounded his fist on his drafting table. "I'm tired of waiting. Your father and the boys have been doing fine without someone waiting on them. In fact, your brother Luke thinks he wants to become a chef. You accused your father of old-fashioned thinking, but it's you! He and I have worked out a perfect plan for you to be with me and still look after your mom. Stop being difficult!"

Rachel glared at him, fetched her suitcase, opened the door, and walked out.

Sam ran after her. "Wait, I realize I've been an ass! We didn't mean to make decisions for you. I'm sorry. We were trying to help." He ran in front of her and dropped to one knee. "God, my timing is terrible, but will you marry me?" He pulled a ring out of his pocket. "Everything else we can figure out together."

Rachel sighed. "Yes, I will marry you." She held out her hand. Sam slipped the ring on her finger, and they kissed. Rachel sighed again.

Sam was concerned. "What's with all the sighing. It's not exactly what a guy expects when he proposes to the woman he loves."

She stood facing him, her eyes searching for the truth. "If it weren't for me and the situation with my mother, where would you want to live?"

Sam grabbed his draft from the table. He pointed to the barn. "This! This is where I want to live. With you, in the place where we fell in love. It's our special place, and I will make it a beautiful home. It's true, I don't want to farm, and I don't want to build simple tables and chairs. But now I can have my own studio. It's perfect! Are you with me?"

Rachel put her arms around him and replied. "Absolutely! It sounds like a dream come true. But it will be a massive project. I guess it will take a long time to complete."

Sam laughed. "Girl, have a little faith. You've been away from Amish country for a month, and you've already forgotten our ways. We're going to have us an old-fashioned barn-raising party! Well, I guess a barn renovation party is more accurate, but it will be a community project. It's what we do. It's the best of us!"


About the author

Mary Haynes

Mary Haynes splits her time between a romantic old sailboat in tropical waters and a beach home in Ontario. A wanderer, by fate, she embraces wherever she roams! Mary recently completed her first children’s book, “Who Ate My Peppers?”

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