Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FERHOODLE (confuse or mix-up) (03/03/16)
- TITLE: The Choice
By M. C. Syben
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“Hermann, for Katherine, use English words.”
“Ok…English for the English woman.”
“What do you mean by ferhoodled?” Katherine asked.
“Hermann means I’ve chosen to do something different than him.”
“No, Katherine, it means he is mixed up, all a jumbled mess. His choice means consequences that effect the family and community. So much for rumspringa.” I sighed, not completely surprised by Jacob’s decision.
“What is rumspringa?” Our Pennsylvania Dutch vords baffled the New Jersey girl.
“It’s the time when grown Amish teens experience the outside vorld before choosing…”
“Jacob means he decides between, you, or home and community. He can’t have both.”
“What happens because he chooses me?”
“The family, the community will shun Jacob. Ve von’t speak of him or see him.”
“How awful. I’ll be responsible for Jacob losing everyone who loves him?”
“No, Katherine,” Jacob comforted. “I have, for a long time, thought about leaving Amish life. I’ve always questioned the Ordong—our rule book.”
“Grex, already?” Jacob’s complaining tested me.
“Most Bishops forbid cars. A few allow plain ones—no shiny chrome, but not our bishop. Vhat do man-made rules have to do with the creator who gave us the brains to invent such things?”
“You run away for cars?” I asked accusingly.
“Animals, too, Hermann. They’re considered beasts of burden. But, I respect them deeply; they are God’s creatures and deserve respect. Maybe, I’ll become a veterinarian one day.”
“Always been a schnickelfritz,” I mumbled. “Er is weenich ad.”
Katherine questioned Jacob.
“He said I’m trouble and a bit off in the head.”
“You’re not,” Katherine retorted. You are smart and deep. That’s why I fell in love with you so quickly.”
“Not for his puny muscles?” Hermann managed an awkward joke. “Ya, he looks like me but I, first, was born. So, the best of everything good, I got, doncha know.”
“How many times have I heard that, bruder? Nothing like being a second-place twin.”
His vords shocked me. Had I made Jacob feel inferior? Is his choice my fault?
“Jacob, can you truly leave your brother? And Hermann, could you forget Jacob?”
“Katherine, this is Amish society. Deep inside, Hermann, understands. Since ve began Rumspringa weeks ago, Hermann has vanted only to go home. I am happy in the modern vorld, with you.”
Hearing those vords made my heart pound. Tears, I had fought to stifle, velled up. Could I change my stubborn bruder’s mind?
“Jacob, vat vork will you find in the modern world?”
“Carpentry. I’ve been looking in the paper. Katherine is showing me how to use the computer too.”
“Quickly, catching up you vill have to do,” I cautioned. Our education ended at age sixteen.
Jacob punched me lovingly on the arm. Suddenly, I felt ashamed and selfish. It vas his choice. How could I compare to Katherine, the powdered sugar on his funnel cake. He vould marry her and live as an Englisher.
“Hermann, you could quit too,” Katherine suggested.
That idea made me laugh. “I don’t think like Jacob. I love my life as is. Besides, Momma and Poppa need my help. I vill take study, be baptized, and officially join the community. An Amish girl, I vill marry.”
“We’ll attend your baptism,” Katherine said merrily.
Jacob hung his head. “No ve von’t. Ve can’t.”
I realized Jacob had made his choice, already. My dejection melted into acceptance. “Vill you come home to say goodbye?”
“No. My new life begins here, today, with the English, vith Katherine. It vill only break Momma’s heart to vatch me go. Tell her I love her always and Poppa…tell him, I’m sorry. Our sisters, too….”
I hugged meine bruder as I never had before. “Gott siegen eich, Jacob.”
“God Bless you too, Hermann, meine bruder, always.”
I forced myself to valk away knowing Jacob vould not forget me; understanding, though, I ‘must’ forget him. When I reached the corner, I turned back for one last peek. The love birds had disappeared like a dream upon vakening.
I stood alone on the city street vondering how Jacob could choose this modern life over the farm. He ferhoodled my family’s plans but continue on, ve vill.
“Up to fifteen percent choose modern life,” the bishop disclosed. Their families managed; ours vill, too.
Still, the truth hit hard when I allowed meine bruder's choice to reach my Amish depths. “I am a twin no more.”
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