Question: Having grown up in Lancaster County, PA, "home of the Amish," I remember watching with great amusement the '80s drama (?) Aaron's Way with Merlin Olsen as an Amish father who leads his brood to the very un-Amish land of California. Unfortunately, none of my friends remember it and are questioning my sanity. Please help. Stuck in PA Dutch
Televisionary: For all I know, Dutch, you may be utterly certifiable, but you can tell your friends that it ain't due to imagining non-existent TV shows.
Former L.A. Ram and Hall-of-Famer Olsen did indeed portray Amish dad Aaron Miller on the CBS drama, the cast of which also boasted such notable names as Belinda Montgomery (wife Sarah), Samantha Mathis (daughter Roseanne) and veteran actress Jessica Walter. As you remember, Olsen dragged his clan from their familiar Pennsylvania Dutch territory and out west to Cali after his eldest son, who'd turned his back on his Amish heritage, got his girlfriend pregnant and then promptly perished in a surfing mishap (it being California and all).
Girlfriend Susannah (Kathleen York) was faced with running a vineyard alone and Olsen thought he and the whole famiglia would show up uninvited and help out. That, of course, led to all sorts of complications since Aaron and company's strict moral and dress codes were a bit out of step with those found in their new home. In particular, Aaron butted heads with Susannah and her wayward mom (Walter). Think of it as 7th Heaven with a much bigger dad and uncomfortable clothes.
The reason no one remembers it but you is that the show didn't exactly have a memorable run. After playing out his beefily pious appeal on Little House on the Prairie and Father Murphy, it seems Olsen went to the decency well one times too many. The show debuted in March 1988 and vanished three short months later.