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Creative Nonfiction Funny Kids

Having lived in the country most of my life, I always loved waking up to the birds singing in the morning, the rooster crowing, and the smell of bacon and eggs mama was cooking. The eggs were always the freshest, typically harvested from the chicken coop when the sun came up. At night I would fall asleep to the chirping crickets and bullfrogs croaking.

We had one doctor in the county. He had birthed most of the people that lived in the county and now routinely sees the children and grandchildren of the early days. We could get an appointment on the spot if needed, and sometimes doc would drive out to the farm to visit.

Growing up, I could lay on the ground and see all the stars and constellations. I knew them by heart. We always knew when someone was coming to visit as the dirt and gravel left a trail of dust as the visitors approached our house, which sat in the middle of three fields. Unless you had a house phone and the visitors called ahead of time, I usually couldn’t tell who it was until the dust settled. It was exciting to have visitors because the houses could be so far apart from all the farm fields. Dad had harvested corn for years. As the corn stalks grew high, I could barely see down the road.

Driving to the country store, which was right down the road, made it easy to do the little bit of grocery shopping needed. Mom was always busy canning tomatoes, beans, corn. Our pantry was still full of our homegrown vegetables in mason jars. Everyone knew your name as well as must of your ‘business.’ They would always ask how everyone was or if we were planning to come to the local harvest festival. They always wanted to know if mama would be entering her pies and jams. Our property was big with apple and pear trees that lined our country farm and the grapevines from which the best jelly. Mama had received blue ribbons for years, so if mama wasn’t going to enter, perhaps they stood a chance. Even more beautiful were the quilts mama made. Each of us had our quilt, handmade by mama with love. They had either our favorite colors or favorite flowers and even our favorite garments of earlier years.

Our school was grades kindergarten to middle school; our classes were small, and the teachers never seemed to change. I’d have to walk down the road to catch the bus, and it was mighty cold in the winter with snow on the ground and wind blowing hard while I waited for the bus. We only had one bus for the whole school, and everyone was always picked up on time and home at the same time every day.

Now that I am married, my husband and I moved to a more suburban lifestyle. While I love my house, one can practically spit at the home next door because they are so close. While our backyard is beautiful, I miss the apple and pear trees that lined our country farm and the grapevines from which mom made the best jelly. The privacy fence is fantastic, but if the neighbor is upstairs in their house, they can see our cookout, our family play, and even our entertaining guests. I find that to be very little privacy. The walls of these houses are so thin one can almost hear a conversation from the homes next door with the windows open. Should there be a marital disagreement and the voices were louder, it was effortless to know what troubles they were experiencing.

Here in the city, the bright lights make the stars mostly invisible. I face so much traffic and congestion. There are so many unhappy workers in the grocery stores that seem to be on every corner. No one calls me by name in the store or the bank unless they ask for my ID. The lines are long, and some of the customers are just downright rude.

The schools have areas that define which students go where. It makes little sense that one school is only a mile away, yet children are bused to a school more than three miles away. There are preschools, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, etc. and most of the schools only provide for three to four grades, then moving to middle-school, then high school.

Now, with no landline, my husband usually calls on the way home on the cell phone, estimating his return based on the traffic congestion that afternoon. My goodness, cell phone reception is terrible at my old country home. The internet isn’t even available to this day, despite all the advancements and towers.

Having to find a doctor that takes the right insurance was quite a task. There are large groups of physicians within one large group, covering almost every ailment every discovered. There is a Children’s Hospital that provides wonderful care for premature babies and children with disabilities. Try to get an appointment with what they call your Primary Provider, and you may have to wait more than a week. So instead, we will typically go to what my husband calls a Doc in the Box, which is one of the many urgent care centers located within the city.

I talk of my childhood and the differences between this whole new life, but this new life has brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined. I married the man of my dreams. We dated less than a year before he proposed and married the following June. Within two years, we had our first child. Two years later, we had twins. We were now a family of five in four years. But, this wonderful house he provides for us is now our ‘home.’ Instead of falling asleep to the sound of crickets, I now fall asleep watching the twins and listening to their mobiles playing sweet lullabies. With a video monitor, I watch their every moment until I drift off. This beautiful home allowed me to plant an annual vegetable garden. I now can our vegetables just like my mama did. We enjoy family cookouts with friends and neighbors. The neighbors watch out for one another and greet each new neighbor with a goodie basket and open invitation to join our neighborly get-togethers.

While there isn’t a county fair, there are farms within the city that still exist and offer such wonderful holiday treats for the families. Hayrides and pumpkin patches, petting zoos, and the cities have the most wonderful craft fairs that remind me of the old country harvest days. Vendors display and sell soaps, quilts, hair ties, and yes, you might even be lucky enough to get some homemade fudge or soaps. While I once thought I would never conform to this type of living, the good Lord has provided for us well. I can now tell my children of my childhood and relive it over and over again.

September 11, 2020 17:27

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4 comments

Cathy Dalton
18:12 Sep 24, 2020

Thank you so much S.n. Beale. I appreciate your kind words.

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S.N. Beale
15:41 Sep 24, 2020

Simply warms my being and makes my heart smile. It's true: a home is where you make it - because it is always within you. Your story made me feel like a neighbor and welcomed guest in that home. I look forward to hearing the crickets outside my city window tonight, with the open fields and constellations behind my eyes. Thank you for that. :-) Great write!

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Cathy Dalton
14:29 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you MP. Actually, it was the wife...but then she realized that despite how much she missed the country, she was actually blessed with more since moving.

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Mustang Patty
10:58 Sep 19, 2020

Hi, Cathy, Thank you for sharing this story. I did struggle with one thing. Which partner is the one that doesn't like the new place? Your prose flows well and other than that issue, I enjoyed the story. ~MP~

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