I'VE SAID IT BEFORE and I'll say it again: The sticky buns made by the Amish at Reading Terminal Market are sinfully delicious.
They're so good, I once considered running away with an Amish woman. I figured we could make a life for ourselves in Lancaster County, as long as she kept the sticky buns coming. But the more I thought about it, I knew it could never work.
How would I check the latest celebrity fashion snafu without my computer? How would I communicate with the text generation without access to my iPhone? How would I pay my bills if I couldn't do it online? Would I have to - gasp - write out checks and mail them? That would never do.
Besides, I love LaVeta, Eve and Little Solomon way more than sticky buns. So I put the idea out of my mind and went on with my life.
For years, I didn't even think of my sticky-bun weakness. But this past Saturday, things changed. I took the family to Reading Terminal Market's Pennsylvania Dutch Festival. Sticky-bun memories came flooding back. Only this time, it was worse.
Not only did the Amish women have sticky buns. They had chocolate-covered bacon, homemade ice cream and hand-rolled pretzels. They had a candy store, a petting zoo and carriage rides. But, beyond those wholesome attractions, they had the mother of all temptations: doughnuts.
I'm not talking doughnuts in a tray with flies hovering over them. I'm talking about fresh doughnuts made before your very eyes by women in little white hats. I actually saw them cut the dough, heat the oil, fry the doughnuts and apply the toppings. It was the kind of doughnut operation cops dream about.
There were doughnuts in so many varieties it looked like some kind of scientific doughnut study. And judging by the line of people wrapped around this public doughnut lab, there were plenty of participants for a clinical trial.
At LaVeta's insistence, we joined the queue. When we finally made it to the front of the line, LaVeta ordered three apple fritters and three glazed doughnuts. She was told she'd have to wait five minutes for the fried dough to emerge from the grease.
"No problem," LaVeta said with a smile.
But later, when LaVeta took the first bite of one of the apple fritters, there clearly was a problem. As the greasy goodness overwhelmed my wife's senses, her eyes dilated. Her face flushed. Her hands began to shake. It was almost as if the fritter's moist deliciousness was changing the chemical makeup of LaVeta's brain.
If I didn't do something, and do it quickly, I was going to lose my wife to an apple fritter. Right then and there, I made a decision. Since I can't leave my wife and move to Amish country for the sticky buns, and she can't leave me to chase her apple-fritter addiction, we're all going to have to move there together.
That's right. The Joneses are moving to Amish country.
The way I figure it, that's the only way for us to survive until the next Pennsylvania Dutch Festival.
I can't feed LaVeta the apple fritters through an intravenous contraption. I'm not qualified for that. But I can drive. So rather than sit by and watch my wife rock back and forth and mumble about the fritter that got away, I will move my family to Lancaster County to satisfy my baby's fritter jones.
If I happen to get a sticky bun or two while we're living there, so much the better.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that we might not fit in. And maybe you're right. I'm not a master craftsman like many Amish men. My beard grows in patches, so that might be a problem, too. But I can get up at 5 in the morning and bang out a column with the best of them.
And while she might balk at the understated fashion, LaVeta would be more than willing to cook tasty treats.
As long as we could eat those apple fritters and sticky buns, we'd work as hard as everyone else, and we'd do it happily, too. So I'm saying it loud and I'm saying it publicly: The Jones family is ready to make the move.
Perhaps we could even make it into a reality show to rival those programs about kids trying to leave the Amish culture. I've got the perfect name for it, too. We could call it, "Kiss Me, I'm Amish: the Family, the Farm and the Fritters."