“Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.” – Oscar Wilde

Please, put your horse whip away. I’m just repeating that – without commenting on it. Snicker.

That saying was one of a few handfuls posted on the wall at the 2011 Single Boys’ Gathering held a few weeks ago in Nappanee. Invited to this unique gathering were “all single men and boys aged 21 to 101 who are Amish church members…”

An Amish man's straw hat.A total of 160-plus men registered from 19 Amish settlements in 10 states. Had you been able to harness the cumulative energy and brainpower, I imagine the “get it done” force would have been quite high. This was perhaps evidenced by the auction held Saturday evening. That was amazing.

The flavor of the gathering was distinctly Christian. A topic on Christian living was given on Friday evening by Allen Schwartz, a local minister. Then, after the additional visiting and bonfire on Friday evening and the community tours, softball game and hog roast on Saturday, an evening program was held. This included a few songs and a few poems including Mother Teresa’s “Do it Anyway” recited by Aaron Troyer.

Then it was auction time – almost. First, the final voting was held to select the winner of the slogan contest for this year’s gathering. Attendees had been asked to create slogans for the logo, which was a picture of a young man camping in the wilderness and appearing to be deep in thought while staring into a campfire. The winner? Amzie Lehman of Shipshewana topped the voting with his entry of “I think, therefore I’m single.”

Again, I’m just repeating these. Don’t kill the messenger.

Then we had the auction, which was marked by high spirits and high bidding.

More than $12,000 was raised to offset expenses of the gathering. These bachelors were quite generous, with many paying between $50 and $100 on the few boxes of mugs available with the Single Boys’ Gathering logo and text on them — $50 to $100 per mug, that is. Not per box.

The gathering continued Sunday with visitors joining their hosts at church. A few activities and refreshments followed before the visitors all said farewell.

Doing a fine job of coordinating the whole affair were Joni Kuhns, Lavern Hochstetler, Aaron Troyer, DeWayne Hochstetler, John Chupp, Gary Hochstetler and John C. Hochstetler.

One more quote… “Bachelors have consciences; married men have wives.” – H.L. Mencken