So, here’s what really happened.
Actually the 4th of July in Amish Country is pretty much the same as it is everyplace else.
I lived in Strasburg Pa. for a few years and my final 4th of July in that fine community I spent working a second job at one of the local hotels; a place called the Amish Lanterns Motel.
They weren’t actually run by the Amish; the family that ran the place was actually Saudi Arabian but it had that sort of motif that was supposed to remind the tourists of the Amish.
I worked there at night so that the family could go to dinner and they had someone on site to take care of the customers’ requests, which wasn’t exactly their strong suit.
And…for me it gave me a chance to talk to travelers and I really enjoyed that.
This particular night started interestingly enough with one of the main buildings in town catching fire; while the flames went high into the sky I watched this mix of fire and fireworks; and then Shawna walked up.
Shawna, I would guess, was in her early 50s. An extremely petite woman who very unassumingly walked right up the front lawn to the hotel.
She had just been dropped off by a bus nearby; it wasn’t unheard of to have “walkup” business at the hotel but Shawna didn’t have a possession with her as she came up the walkway.
She asked if there were any rooms available; it being a Holiday there weren’t any and after I explained this she sat down on one of the benches out front to watch the festivities.
This was Clue #1.
After noticing that she wasn’t going anywhere, I started asking some questions. All of I could get out of her was that she had come in from Ohio by bus.
As it turned out, she had absolutely nowhere to go.
Shawna was mentally ill.
It quickly became apparent that I needed to find out if any of the other hotels had any rooms available. No one did, which is not at all unusual for Pennsylvania Amish Country in the summertime.
It really wasn’t a problem as it turned out; Shawna had no money anyways.
To be continued…