Right before James and I had Amelia we decided to hold a garage sale. It’s amazing how much junk we’d collected in our few short years of marriage. We had kept saying that we should get rid of it or sell some of it, but things get in the way and time passes. Well, the beginning of summer is a perfect time to set-up some tables and display for the whole neighbourhood just how cluttered your life is. It seems that once the weather warms-up hoarders start getting that junk-hunting itch, so we decided to give them an opportunity to scratch it.
We were living in Niverville at the time. 217 2nd Street North I believe. Our rental house was a little run-down but it was a good size yard situated on a sleepy street. For the most part the area was quiet and people kept to themselves. In the year that we had lived on 2nd Street North I had only encountered a handful of our neighbours.
We put a few ads in some papers, set-up our tables, carefully arranged our un-wanted items, stock piled change and waited for the customers. It was slow at first but by mid-morning we were getting a steady stream of thrifters. I sat in a chair, carefully positioned in the shade, for the majority of the day while James set-about selling books and vases and teacups. I noticed a lady scoping out a table rather close to where I was sitting. She seemed to be looking at the books. Rather, she seemed to be making herself seem as though she were looking at the books when in actuality she seemed to be looking at me. I thought it was strange but, let’s face it, I’ve worked on Osborne. I’ve seen some pretty strange things. The woman slowly got closer, picking up a book and ‘inspecting’ it every few minutes. My attention became divided when I needed to tend to my toddler and, during my distracted minute, the lady left.
An hour or two went by and I noticed her walking up the street, coming towards our house again. She played the same game for a few moments and then made a b-line for James and I.
James and I.
Being 7 or 8 months pregnant while following around a one-and-a-half year old can take its toll on how much your care about your personal hygiene or, shall we say, grooming. I had been wearing a lot of bandana’s to keep my hair back and slipping on my most comfortable maternity jean skirts. I was a pretty cute pregnant 24 year-old.
James had grown and maintained a full beard for quite some time. I liked the back-woods look on him. It seemed to cover-up his baby-face. He also, almost exclusively, wore pearly button cowboy shirts. I also liked these on him. We made a pretty cute couple.
I spent my days being pregnant, wearing jean skirts and going for walks with my little toddler while James spent his days pastoring, building and driving a big black Chevy Astro van.
“What colony are you from?” the woman barked.
“Pardon me?” James asked. She was a bit hard to understand, her words rumbling around her thick Hutterite accent.
“I said, what colony are you from?”
Pause. James and I look at each other. A more awkward pause.
“Oh, we’re not from a colony” James replied.
“What? Really? I thought for sure you guys had left a colony.” Her brow was furrowed. Everything added-up. The young woman pumping babies out while staying home baking pies and sewing. The young man with a full beard wearing plaid tucked-in shirts working as a pastor and carpenter. The simple family attending church, having a yard sales, driving a big black van. It all added-up!
We had a short chat with her about how she had left the colony and how we hadn’t left a colony and were, in fact, non-mennonite city kids. We made sure she was out of ear-shot before we burst out laughing.
“She thought we were Hutterite! She thought we were Hutterite! That’s AWESOME!”
We relayed the story to all of our friends as soon as we could, all-the-while suppressing bouts of laughter until the punch-line was delivered.
This is by far one of the best stories that has come from our 7 year marriage. How many people can say they’ve been mistaken for Hutterites by a Hutterite!??!