Tag Archives: country

Nosey Neighbors

One reason that people move out to the country is for the open spaces. Acreage. Maybe to plant a garden or raise some crops. Or to raise a few cows or chickens. And to put some distance between themselves and their neighbors.

Not that country folks aren’t friendly. In fact quite the opposite is true. Neighbors come together to help each other. They just don’t want people breathing down their neck.

While I was out on the lower forty clearing some brush, I was a little surprised to see these neighbors staring at me over the fence. The fence marks the property line. It also keeps some tings in, and others out.

Silently they had all come to look at me. Who was I and what was I doing? I went over to introduce myself calling out, “Hello!” There was no reply, but I could tell that they were eyeing me, and seemed quite satisfied that I was friendly.

Until I got right to the fence and made a move to climb the small embankment that stands between my driveway and the fence. I made a quick movement, accompanied by a medium loud grunting sound as I leapt toward the fence. That sent the neighbors running.

Trying to regain their confidence I called out again. “It’s ok, come back.” They stopped, and turned. One by one the bravest moved toward me. And as they did, others followed.

Big family. I counted twenty seven of them. We chatted over the fence for a while. Or at least I chatted. They seemed more interested in staring than talking. And finally I decided to head on down the driveway to recover my newspaper.

As I walked down the driveway they began to follow me.  Still watching me.  I wasn’t sure what they were expecting from me. Just curious I guess. When I got to the top of the driveway and bent down to pick up the paper they all ran off again. Skittish bunch I thought. But eventually several began to follow along as I walked back down the driveway.

They didn’t say anything this time, but I have heard them many times before. Loud voices. Day and night. But not distressing or disturbing.

Not the kind of neighbors you’d have in the city. Or in a subdivision. Only in the country. They need a lot of space like the rest of us out here.

And it’s neighbors like these that brings many of us out to the country. And a way to get back to nature just a little bit.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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Sprawl

The sign waving in the breeze said open. Last time I looked, the place was still under construction. Oh boy, a new fast food joint.

It was just another example of more and more growth sprawling out across the county. A year ago I had moved out of the subdivision and further out into the country to escape just such growth. Now, here it comes. My way!

When I moved to this area twenty years ago it was very different. A sleepy bedroom community for the nearby city and its hustle and bustle.

This particular intersection had been the meeting of a pair of two lane roads. With very little between this intersection and the next. On one corner stood the school complex. Across the way was a convenience store. The third corner contained a small shopping center with a family owned grocery store. And on the fourth corner stood a small cottage with a white picket fence.

The school complex is still there, but two new high schools have been built further out to accommodate the growing population. The small convenience store has been replaced by a gas station, a big convenience store and a drugstore. The family grocery store is still there, but has been joined on its corner by two banks, a hardware store, several restaurants, a gym and a few other things. And the cottage with the picket fence? Gone and forgotten. Replaced by a drug store, gas station, two pizza places, a chain grocery store with pharmacy, another gym, and half a dozen other retail places. Not to mention a second small strip mall. That includes, on its far end, the new fast food place.

Yes, it’s growing out here. And to manage the demand, the roads are expanding. They’ve been torn up and under construction for years. Some genius thinks all of this is a good idea. It’s a mess.

I know, you can’t stop progress. I’m situated now where it can’t get to me any time soon. It’s like everything else, some folks like it, others don’t. It’s ok.

I don’t like the sprawl, but I do like Burger King. So, yeah, yeah, as I say, not as I do. I stopped in there for lunch. And it was pretty good.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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Stressless Moving Series

Certain events in life cause great levels of stress. Some of the biggest stressors include loss of a loved one, major health issues, becoming an empty nester, loss of a job, retirement and moving. There are many others, and by no means am I downplaying their importance. In the past year, I have experienced each of those I listed above. At least once.

Some of these I’ve talked about a little I think. And some I don’t care to talk about at all. But moving, now that’s a subject I will gladly talk about. So, just to give all my readers a heads up, I am going to be putting together a series of posts regarding my adventure in moving. From nineteen years in the suburbs to a mini farm in the county.

Stay tuned for chapter one soon!

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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Unexpected History Lesson

The back roads on a Sunday afternoon might offer a better chance of an antique store than the four lane.  That was my thinking anyway.  So we set out on what became a real journey through time.

On Friday we’d driven the highways down to Statesboro.  My daughter goes to school there and we were off to visit for the weekend.  Family weekend, all of us together.  Not much to see on this route.  Fields, forests, truck stops.  The road takes you around all of the towns, or what’s left of them. 

The weekend was great, visiting, with each other, and visiting the town.  But then it was time to go home.  Rather than return the same way, I thought we’d try another route.  Back roads.  Small towns.

We found small towns.  A cluster of houses centered on, well, I don’t know what.  Each other I guess.  With folks sitting on the porch just waving at the car as we passed by.  And some of the back roads turned into dirt roads.  This far south it’s not really dirt, but more of a sandy mixture.  The car’s tires turned white after rolling though it.

Along the way the conversation turned to the old relatives and we decided that my wife had family buried in a church cemetery somewhere near where we were.  The hunt was on for Mount Moriah.

The GPS we were using had a dirt road as a major landmark.  We got lost.  A young man standing in his front yard seemed likely to know where we were headed.  We pulled into the driveway to ask.  No he didn’t know, but if we rode down the road a bit, way out in the country he said, the lady at the store would know.  I could only wonder where he thought he was living if down the road, away from his home in what seemed to me like the middle of nowhere, was the country.  Off the dirt road?  After asking two more local people where the place was, with none of them knowing, we tried another dirt road.  Never did see the store with the knowing lady.

We did find another store.   The one that my mother in law remembered.  An old wooden structure, long since abandoned and now dilapidated, that had been her grandfather’s place of business.  It was he and his wife who were buried at the church, not more than a quarter mile distant.

We pulled into the church cemetery and started wandering and looking.  There they were.  Two tombstones, grandmother and grandfather.  My daughter’s great-greats.  Another car pulled up to the church and after a few minutes a woman came out of the church and across the street to ask us if we were looking for something in particular.

My mother in law explained what we were doing and the woman’s eyes lit up and she said “let me go get Joe, you’re kin to him!”  Joe turned out to be my mother in law’s cousin’s nephew.  We were family and just like that, we were taken in and treated like we’d known each other all our lives.

Rachel, Joe’s wife, was so nice to us.  She wanted to show us all around the church and show us pictures of all the old relatives.  The family was big in the church.  There was a stained glass window dedicated to my wife’s great grandparents.  There was a spot on the wall in the sanctuary where someone had unloaded a double barrel full of birdshot in the middle of the night.  We heard the story of how the church was built in 1867, and remodeled in 2009.  We saw the old outdoor baptismal font, across the street and in the woods.  She told us the story of how the road had been moved to get it away from the church’s front door. And how the last thing her father in law had made sure of was that the road in front of the church got paved.

There was a map of the cemetery plots.  And we heard about how this aunt and that cousin were buried down the road in another church cemetery.

I’m sure they would have invited us to stay for dinner, or even to spend the night, but they were starting their youth group bible class and we were now of a need to hit the road. Heading toward the car we all hugged each other, even us in-laws.  And of course they told us to come back, and we told them to come visit.  A southern nicety.

I’d hoped for an antique shop.  An old cemetery is always an interesting adventure.  But meeting these people, relatives, and experiencing their hospitality, that was all way beyond expectation.  And the best part of the day.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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