My Scandalous Mennonite Diary #21

Kelvin Bueckert
3 min readApr 3, 2024


“So, what are you in for?”

The English accent snaps me from my thoughts. I turn to the man sitting beside me. He looks and smells like a pig farmer.

I look up at the clock on the wall of the bank. It has only changed by a few minutes.

How much longer is it going to be?

It seems like I’ve been sitting on this hard wooden bench forever.

“You too good to talk to me, lad?”

“No, no, of course not,” I say.

“Well, then, I asked you a question.”

“Oh, yes, I’m just waiting to see the loan officer.”

“Let me guess, you’re looking to buy some land?”

“Yes, I’m hoping to buy a store.”

“You Mennonites never give up, do you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You didn’t want to fight during the war…but you and your people sure didn’t have any trouble buying up the land of all the boys who served and paid the price for doing so.”

I wipe a sheen of sweat from my forehead. It sure is hot in here.

My eyes turn toward the clock once again. If I could force the hands of time to move faster I would.

“So, lad, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“About what?”

“I just told you. Do you think it was right that you and your kind stayed safe at home while everybody else pitched in and did the hard work?”

“We just don’t believe in fighting,” I start to say before I’m interrupted.

“But you believe that other people should die fighting so that you can be safe?”

“Well, no, I…”

“Tell me, what did you do in the war? Nothing?”

“I did alternative service.”

“What sort of service?”

“I worked on a farm.”

“A farm huh… and how’d an able-bodied young man like yourself get away with a soft job that?”

“I went before a judge, I explained what I believe, and he assigned that to me.”

“That’s the problem with this country these days. These fool judges are far too lenient. If it would’ve been me sitting there that day, I would’ve sent you straight into service.”

The room seems to be closing in on me. I wipe another sheen of sweat from my brow.“That’s not fair, I paid my price like everybody else.”

“Oh, you did?”

“Of course, I had to stay on the farm where I was sent, I couldn’t just go home.”

“Well, well, that’s tough, isn’t it?”

“It wasn’t easy work that’s for sure.”

“Just so you know, my boy paid a price too.”

“What was that?”

“He took a bullet and now there’s a Mennonite colony sitting on the farm he used to own.”

“Abe, Abe Elias.”

It’s about time! I stand to my feet. “Yes.”

“Come in please.”

I don’t need any more prompting to escape that conversation, I’m almost running as I head toward the door of the little office where an overweight man stands waiting for me.

“Bloody cowards, that’s all you and your people are,” I hear the pig farmer grumbling, just before the office door swings shut.

“Go ahead, sit down Abe, my name is Harvey Smith, and I’ve been the one reviewing your loan application.”

“Nice to meet you, Harvey.”

I stare at the overweight man in a business suit sitting across from me. The heat certainly isn’t helping him. Sweat is lining his red face.

“I won’t keep you in suspense. I’ve decided to approve your loan request.”

The answer is yes…yes….I feel strange. That means I can buy the store that I’ve always wanted.

That means we’ll be moving.

I wonder what Mary will think about all this.

She sure wasn’t convinced the last time I talked to her. I guess I’ll have another confrontation waiting for me when I get home.

I wish I knew how to deal with her.

Why can’t she see how important this store is to me?

Harvey slides a pile of papers across the desk. “I’ll just go over the terms of the financing with you and if that is acceptable, you can sign at the bottom.”

“Oh yes, of course,” I say. But, I have a hard time concentrating on what this banker is telling me.

Everything feels overwhelming.

I know that my life is about to change…I just don’t know for sure how.



Kelvin Bueckert

Lives and writes on the plains of Manitoba, Canada…he is an actor, writer, and has also been known to peddle books on his website…