“How do Amish people tell their buggies apart?” a tourist asked one day. What a great question! Many Sunday mornings, I see a yard full of buggies at an Amish person’s house where they are gathered for church. The buggies all look identical. I asked Amish and ex-Amish people how one can identify a buggy.


Here are some of the answers I got:

• The reflectors on buggies are often different from each other.

• The lights can be different as well.

• A buggy owner tries to remember the general area where he parked his buggy.

• One woman says she used to look inside the buggy to make sure it was theirs. Each buggy has different carpet and different trinkets which can help them identify their buggy.

• One owner recognizes his buggy by his bumper sticker: “Powered by Oats. Do Not Step in Exhaust.”


Sometimes people do get confused which buggy is theirs. One evening when my grandma was dating my grandpa, they drove in the long lane to Grandma’s friend Rebecca’s house. Through the dusk, they saw Rebecca walking out to meet them. “I bet she thinks I am her boyfriend coming to take her to the singing,” my grandpa said mischievously.


Rebecca’s boyfriend often brought his sister Rachel along with him, so hopefully Rebecca would think the extra girl was Rachel. Sure enough, in the darkness Rebecca did not seem to notice that the guy in the buggy was not her boyfriend and that a different girl was in the buggy.


Because it was an open buggy, my grandpa got out politely and Rebecca climbed in around him without saying a word. An open buggy has room for only two people on the seat, so Rebecca and my grandma sat on the seat, and my grandpa sat in the center on top of them to drive the horse.


Rebecca and her boyfriend must have been a very quiet couple, because neither of them said a word as they drove out the lane. Suddenly my grandma started giggling uncontrollably. When Rebecca realized it was not Rachel’s voice, she twirled around in shock. My grandpa started chuckling, too.


“Dihr grossi dinger,” (You big things) Rebecca said when she realized she had been tricked. My grandma and grandpa dutifully turned around and took Rebecca back to her house so that she could go with her proper boyfriend to the singing.