Editorial – Oct. 1, 2012


A Fatal Journey

Jamestown Gazette Editor Walt Pickut

Some things should die, but we feed them anyway. Take prejudice, for instance. Sometimes it masquerades as what we call “taste.” We say we don’t hate some things …they’re just not to our taste. So we stay where we are and never challenge a point of view we’ve grown comfortable with. But a little travel to a different place can be an eye opener and, sometimes, surprisingly pleasant.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness,” Mark Twain said. “Broad, wholesome, charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth.”

This week The Jamestown Gazette invites you to just such a wholesome place, a place not very far away, a place you’ve heard of, and maybe even seen, but probably never experienced up close and personal. Maybe it’s just not to your taste…but it is just up the road a piece. Come and see.

Take a trip with us on the New York Amish Trail. Are you willing to meet folks who seem happy without iPods, iTunes, texting and X-Boxes? Are you willing to discover the joys of a life where you can fix anything you own with your own two hands? Where your greatest pleasures at the end of a work day come from your family, not a big, flat screen.

An old song, from another, but not too different, tradition of spiritual simplicity says:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

The Amish Trail was developed by a group of volunteers and the Tourism Board in Cattaraugus County just a few years ago to help people re-discover an older, honorable and gentler way of life. Tourists have journeyed from as far away as California, Italy and Australia just because they wanted to experience it for themselves.

And it is all right next door, waiting for us. Walt Disney said, “We’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths…so we keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things.” Staying home may be just an old prejudice that says “things are fine the way they are.” But really?

Our Amish friends believe living closer to Creation is also living closer to the Creator. For those of us who take pride in possessions we can neither make nor fix for ourselves, or even understand the workings of, it may be time to realize that such a pride is a prejudice we need no longer feed. A journey down the Amish Trail on one of these gorgeous Autumn afternoons just might be a life changing experience you can find for yourself…just up the road a piece.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.