Mesopotamia, Ohio (A One-Shot Story)

By Dave Powell

Though I grew up in Ohio, I’d never heard of the town of Mesopotamia. It’s on state routes 87 and 534, near Ohio’s “Mosquito Creek Wilderness” (which I also hadn’t heard of). Nor did I realize that the town is the cultural heart of a thriving Amish community between Cleveland and Pennsylvania. But Kate and I were pleasantly surprised when we stopped there in 2010 on our drive back to Boston after visiting my family.

The above photo– taken with my IR-converted Nikon CoolPix 990– shows what’s billed as the “World’s Largest Amish Horse and Buggy” (which I understand is also called a “Trap”). Installed in 2008 by Chris McConnell– a Cleveland Institute of Art student with other monumental sculptures planted around the state– the work contains 2,300 board-feet of 2-by-4 scraps from nearby sawmills.

All told, it’s more than 30 feet long, the horse stands 13.5 feet (“29.25 hands”) tall, the wheels are 7 feet in diameter, and at around 14 feet high, the buggy totally towered over me.

A Pleasant Surprise

But the rest of this story was walking up behind me, from the direction of the town’s “End of the Commons General Store.” Though not run by the Amish, the store has served the community since 1840, and claims to be the oldest continuously operating general store in the state.

Hardware, agricultural supplies, tools, household necessities, kitchen gadgets, toys, clothes, food, and a great candy store were all inside. And while I was shooting the sculpture, Kate was inside the store– like a kid (literally) in a candy shop.

“Would you like me to take your picture beside it,” a beautiful young Amish woman asked as she approached, pointing at my camera and the sculpture. With what little I knew about the Amish, the offer surprised me. But what floored me more was her clear serenity, warm eyes, and beaming smile. She radiated a true, unforced spirituality.

And I seriously wanted to photograph her… but knew better. Thanking her for the offer, I explained that I was happy with the photo I just took… without my ugly self in the view!  She laughed, wished me a “Good day,” and walked on by. “You too,” I replied to her departing back… and joined Kate in the store to buy some candy.

–Dave Powell is a Westford, Mass., writer and avid amateur photographer.

A little note from Hamish: If any other current contributors to the 35mmc would like to submit a post like this, then feel free. I will share these on Wednesday afternoons to begin with, more if they get popular.

Share this post:

Find more similar content on 35mmc

Use the tags below to search for more posts on related topics:

Contribute to 35mmc for an ad-free experience.

There are two ways to contribute to 35mmc and experience it without the adverts:

Paid Subscription – £2.99 per month and you’ll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).

Subscribe here.

Content contributor – become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.

Sign up here.

About The Author

By Dave Powell
Trained in mathematics, physics, cosmology, computer programming and science journalism. Retired mathematician, award-winning technical and journalistic writer. 1989 winner of the Bruce B. Howat Award-- an international business-journalism equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. (Only one Howat was awarded each year, IF the committee in Geneva found an article they really liked. But I don't think the prize is granted anymore.) Also a past author and editorial advisor for Sesame Street... where I regularly worked with Jim Henson and Kermit!
View Profile


Peter Roberts on Mesopotamia, Ohio (A One-Shot Story)

Comment posted: 02/03/2023

Thanks for posting this, Dave, and starting the ball rolling for One Shot Stories. I really like the idea of that and have already started drafting one in my mind :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Dave Powell on Mesopotamia, Ohio (A One-Shot Story)

Comment posted: 03/03/2023

You're so welcome Peter... Can't wait to read yours! ????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *