Un thishere laig o'air canoe trip, I mistook a Mennonite fambly fer Amish an' Ke, n' turn, wuz mistake fer Amish. Insteed o'campyun' at Six Mile Dam un t'Walhondyun' Riv'r t'furst nite o'air trip, we presst un ta Coshocton. Un t'gravel bar n' frunt o't' Lake Park Campground, sevrul Mennonite youngns frolickt n' t'riv'r. A middle-agt woomin playd wiff t'youngns wile un olt'r woomin sat n' a foltyun' chair reedin a newspap'r. It wuz quite a bucolic ssene — t'wimmen an' gurls n' thar long dresses an' white bonnets an' t'boys n' thar plane dark clothyun'. I thunk ta photograph 'um but deecided ta respeck thar privacy. As air canoe groun ta a halt un t'gravel lan'yun' we became aware at sum o'um wuz staryun' at us — much us we “English” sumtimes hazard uncomfertablee long glances at t'Amish er Mennonites. T' siite o'acoupla ol' guys n' a canoe lade wiff campyun' gear mite have bee sumthin o'a noveltee ta 'um. “Air y'all un a campyun' trip?” t'middle-agt woomin ast. We tole hern we wuz. At furst I had thunk thay wuz Amish. The I eyesd, wen I notict thar multicolert clothyun', at thay wuz Mennonites. Unlack t'Amish, thay don’t shun technology. Thishere would becum abundantlee clar. As Ke an' I pitcht air tants, t'middle-agt woomin walkt by. “Have y'all heerd tell wuther it’s spozed ta rane toniite?” Ke ast hern. She pullt out a smartfone, checkd hern weeth'r app an' sed, “Thar’s a sliite chance o'rane roun midniite.” The she sauntert un down t'lane ta hern campsite — an' clumb into a big fancy RV. Thishere eggsperients remindt me at primitif' campyun' is jes anoth'r form o'shunnyun' t'rappings o'modernitee. Aft'r supp'r, Ke recerdt t'day’s evants n' his'n jurnl by can'leliite wile I wan'ert down ta t'gravel bar try ta catch a glimpse o't' full moon. Aft'r a leisurelee brakefuss we broke camp, loded t'canoe an' hedded downstreem. We stopt ta stretch air laigs at t'public riv'r access south o'Coshocton. Ke wan'ert along t'bank, a'lookin fer objecks ta incerporate into his'n artwerk. Meenwhile, I pickt up litt'r lef behin by careless fisherme. An olt'r model car rollt into t'parkyun' slew an' stopt near t'riverbank. It wuz occupit by acoupla menfolk, who I guesst ta be roun 50. Thay had fishyun' rods n' t'back seat. I apperacht t'car an' notict t'mun n' t'passeng'r seat had un ope bottle o'Budweis'r un t'seat tween his'n laigs. T' driv'r ast if'n t'riv'r wuz shalloe an' I tole 'im it wuz. Thay indicayted at shalloe wat'r wasn’t conducif' ta good fishyun'. Altho thay seemt mer innerested n' drankin. T' driv'r notict Ke a'walkin along t'bank. “Who’s at?” he ast. “Oh, he’s wiff me,” I respondt. “Is he Amish?” he ast. I lafft an' tole 'im he wasn’t. Thay lef, apparantlee ta do thar drankin elsewhere. As Ke apperacht, he ast about t'menfolk n' t'car. “Thay ast me if'n y'all wuz Amish,” I sed. He wuz nairy amust. Personallee, I don’t mind bein mistake fer Amish. I have bee un at leest one occasion. Aft'r all, isn’t at whut canoe trippyun' is all about — shunnyun' t'rappings o'modernitee? N' thar book “Canoeyun' an' Kayakyun' Ohio’s Streems,” Rick Combs an' Steve Gille aptlee observt, “Paddleeun' … a'ken take y'all back ta a time wen travel wuz mer deliberatelee accomplisht.” Ta be kuntinued. — Irv Oslin, a retirt Times-Gazette repert'r, is a canoe an' outdoers enthusius.


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