I heard this story from my uncle last week. It made me laugh so I thought I’d share it.
My uncle is a farmer in rural Ohio and has a lot of Amish neighbours. Earlier this year, one of them purchased an old farm house not far from my uncle’s house. They got into a conversation about what his plans for the property were. The Amishman said the house was in pretty bad shape but came with a few dozen acres of surrounding land, and he was planning on just removing the house and using the property as farmland. He figured that the cheapest and quickest solution was just to burn the house down.
Uncle: “Whoa there, I’m not sure that’s legal.”
Amishman: “Why not? I own the house. There’s no other houses nearby that could be damaged. It won’t hurt anyone.”
Uncle: “I don’t disagree, but the county has regulations about how buildings can be demolished. I’m pretty sure that burning down a building is not allowed, even if you own it. You should check with the County Sheriff’s office first.”
So the Amishman borrowed my uncle’s phone to call the sheriff’s office, and it turns out my uncle was right. The sheriff told him that if he set the house on fire he would have to pay a hefty fine. The Amishman was not very pleased but thanked my uncle for letting him know.
A few weeks passed and nothing happened. Then my uncle was driving home one day and saw that the house had been demolished. It looked to him like someone had just pushed it over with a bulldozer because what was left was a large pile of lumber and roofing and vinyl siding. My uncle assumed they would be paying someone else to haul the wreckage away. And yes, before you say so, I know the Amish can’t use bulldozers, but they really have a lot of loopholes in that system of theirs. They can’t own modern technology but there seems to be no prohibition against borrowing or hiring modern technology.
Anyway, during work the next day, my uncle sees an enormous column of black smoke rising into the sky. Alarmed, he hops in to his truck and follows the smoke cloud and discovers a large crowd of Amish watching a giant greasy bonfire that was the remains of the house. My uncle finds his neighbour in the crowd and walks over.
Uncle: “So you decided to burn it after all.”
Uncle: “What are you going to do when the sheriff comes?”
Amishman: “He already came and went.”
Amishman: “Well he told me that he’d have to fine me for burning down my house. And I said, but it’s not a house. It’s just a pile of garbage.” Burning your garbage is legal in their county, my uncle routinely does it himself.
Uncle: “What’d the sheriff say?”
The Amishman smiled slowly. “There wasn’t anything he could say. He got into his car and drove away.”