Plates clatter. Spoons and forks clink. And Mike’s eyes twinkle.
The wedding supper is over here in this spruced-up shop building north of Shipshewana. Raging appetites have been utterly satiated by the huge variety of food. The plates have been cleared, glasses refilled and the singing has begun.
Customarily at our weddings, the youth keep their seats after finishing their meal to serenade the bride and groom with a selection of wedding songs. Many times we simple folk just sing soprano, though some enjoy singing in four-part harmony and do this occasionally too.
A van load is here from another community of Amish in Vevay. They are seated across the table from Mike and are harmonizing nicely.
Now Mike. Michael Lambright is an exceptionally gifted lad. God gave him intelligence, athleticism, charisma and quick wit. One of his favorite amusements is to act ignorant and see if other people assume he really is. That ignorant, I mean.
Hence the twinkle in his eye. In the pause that follows the second song, Mike flashes a disarming smile at the out-of-towner across the table.
“Wow, Phillip, nice job. You have a really nice bass voice.” Mike pronounces the word bass just like the fish — with a short a.
Mike keeps his expression deadpan as he watches Philip’s eyes widen slightly. The really amusing thing is being able to watch Philip choose a nice way to correct him.
“Thanks, Mike, uh, you mean bass?” Philip pronounces it correctly.
“Oh, is that how you say it?” Mike is the picture of I-stand-correctedness.
“Well, that’s how we usually say it, anyway,” Philip lets Mike down easily.
Mike does not bother to correct Philip’s impression, instead chuckling on his way home at the thought of the van load heading for Vevay.