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February 23, 2013

Josh Drespling: Really? It’s the greatest thing since ... aw, nevermind

NEW CASTLE — Last weekend, we had a few out-of-town family members over for dinner. In an effort to make the dinner a little more special, I made the drive out to New Wilmington to get some Amish bread and the Amish roll of butter that my family and I have fallen in love with.

To us, the quality is much better and it’s worth the extra half hour or 45 minutes of driving. It also is considerably more expensive than the standard grocery store fare, but we feel it’s worth it.

On my way back I had to stop at our “English” grocery store to pick up some other items for the house and our dinner. As stood in line, I noticed the Amish gentleman in front of me. After exchanging quick smiles with the small child in the seat of the shopping cart, I happened to glance down at the items he had placed on the checkout conveyer belt.

To my dismay, he had two loaves of Nickles’ white bread and a pack of Imperial margarine quarters.

I was aghast. Did he know something I didn’t? Was I being bamboozled by the Amish and their scrumptious bread? Why would a man with a clear and obvious hook-up to such delectable foods choose to purchase such pedestrian versions of these same items?

Had he simply settled for the homogenized, mass-produced filler and preservative-laden versions of these items or where these “better” to him?

Had I just witnessed a pure example of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence? From this man's perspective, had he just purchased something that was outside the norm for him and his family? Had he just gotten something exotic and, dare I say, special in something that we consider mundane and frankly, boring?

I grew up with a grandfather who raised a handful of beef cattle. We always seemed to be having steak for dinner. While growing up, that was awful. Another night eating steak was a hideous thought. I would hear friends talk about going out for a big steak dinner. To me, it was inconceivable and a waste to eat steak for a special occasion.

Because of this, I grew fond of seafood. It was different and something we never had at home. Over the years I have kept that taste, and steak needs to be exquisitely prepared for me to become a fan.

I guess my contempt for steak and my taste for seafood is my own little “grass is greener” situation. I am much like the Amish man I encountered in the store. We both wanted something that was not inherent in our cultures.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. The want and desire for something we don’t have is part of human nature. To pursue things that are out of the ordinary is typically desirable and often rewarded, but I believe I could find hundreds of things I would choose over margarine and white bread.

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