Thursday 14 April 2011

The "Mennonite Game" Song in 4-Part Harmony!

Sung by "Spare Parts" from the Lancaster PA area -- a modified version of words (and tune) originally written by Andy Shelly of Kansas. He wrote it while a student at Bethel College and his original version was laced with General Conference-related names and places. Of course now it's been "transformed" by Spare Parts.  Regardless, listening to this - especially the exquisite harmony - sort of warms the heart of anyone who grew up Mennonite!  

I'm not caught up in "The Mennonite Game" here in Australia, since most people here know nothing or very little about that culture.  However, I was able to engage in this game once recently after a friend told me about another Hochstetler/Hostetler she had met in the region.  Stephen is a single fellow originally from Ohio who stayed on after finishing his university degree in geology here.  His current work as a water management consultant is based in Canberra but he drives over an hour to get in from Braidwood (in the rural countryside) to get to his office.

When we invited Stephen over to our home for dinner one evening we played this game a lot - and found that he has relatives living in Millersburg, Indiana quite near where we used to live -  one of whom I knew from work, at the Goshen Health System!   And he told us about another Hochstetler he met once who lives close to Sydney.  So that actually makes for three of us in the whole of Australia (and I know this to be true because I've subsequently researched it after phoning the other Hostetler - who also happens to be a geologist, though retired!)  

People here actually do "play" a name game with me - if you can call it that.  It almost invariably occurs while watching someone try to recover from being startled or from stifling a laugh the very moment I first introduce myself or get introduced.   Many people resort to raising some awkward comment or question like wondering 'why on earth would your parents give you a girl's name?'  After living here in Australia almost three years, I have yet to meet the first Australian who has ever heard of my name associated with a male, or seen it spelled without an "e", yet here there are no women named Laurie - only men.  Go figure!


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