Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 12, 2014


Tall tales told by Amish folk


        Gene Moore is the author of a book I chuckled my way through recently. The book is titled Amish Folk Tales and Other Stories of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Amazon, which sells everything, shipped it to me “next day.”

        I bought it because Gene is an old friend. We were students at Auburn University together. We met in the office of The Plainsman, the weekly student newspaper, he an upperclassman and I a frightened freshman. Gene took an interest in me. He was welcoming before that word was popularized.

        Gene wrote a column for the paper. I admired him. He had a gift for writing. Gene could sit down and knock out a column while ten fellow students were jabbering around him. When I sat down at a typewriter my brain froze, the keyboard froze and it took me 30 minutes to get beyond the first sentence. But I was determined to learn how to write so I persevered. Gene was one of the guys who encouraged me to keep trying.

        One night last year the phone rang. The voice on the other end belonged to Gene. He was calling from his home in Lancaster, PA, to chat awhile. Retired now, he and Jan live in Homestead Village, a retirement community. Gene worked in public relations for almost 40 years with Armstrong Cork Company, now known as Armstrong World Industries.

        I was not surprised to learn that Gene had written a couple of books, the latest being the one about Amish tales. I wanted to read this book because I knew it would be packed with humorous stories. Gene’s columns in The Plainsman were seldom serious but riotously amusing. He had a gift for humorous writing.

        Gene’s Amish stories are quite entertaining as I expected. I will share one or two of his delightful Amish tales: 

        “A visiting Texan and a Pennsylvania Dutchman were bragging about their respective states, and they got on the subject of which had the largest rattlesnakes. The Dutchman said, “I recall one time when I was driving out on a country road, and I had a flat tire. A big ol’ rattler came along, and he struck that flat tire. Do you know that that tire swelled up so much that I was able to drive home on it? I never did fix that flat.

        “Well, that is something, right enough,” the Texan said. “But I think I can match your story. My grandpa had a wooden leg. One of our Texas rattlesnakes bit it, and that wooden leg swelled up so big that it took a week to cut up all the kindling it made.”

        Here is the other story: “At a church picnic near Hinkletown, a man met a woman for the first time. As they conversed, she mentioned that she was thrice widowed. “Oh, I’m sorry,” the man remarked.

“Yes, my first husband died from eating poison mushrooms.”

“What a shame. And your second husband?”

“Poison mushrooms.”

“And your third husband?  Did he die from eating poison mushrooms?”

“Oh no. He died of a broken neck.”

“A broken neck?”

“Yes, he refused to eat the mushrooms.”

        Well, that is a taste of C. Eugene Moore’s Amish stories. I hope it will  whet your appetite for more. + + +