Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 11-2-09
In this mobile society I’m sure many of the Fence Post readers are living in the country for the first time. Another group is those of us who were born, raised and plan to stay country folks until we turn our toes up. I’d like to enlist the assistance of both groups and anyone in between.
I’m writing a book about what city people need to know before they move to the country. When I say “city” that is a relative term and doesn’t mean you lived in Seattle, Los Angeles or Chicago; it just means that when you moved to the country you had some major adjustments and often they were for things about which you had never thought.
Especially because a ranch wife is writing this book, it is difficult to turn the tables and try to imagine what a newly-minted rural resident would want to know. Surprises may include the fact that we don’t have a paid, on duty at all times fire department. Rather rural fire departments are run by volunteers, our neighbors. There is no public transportation. Part of a rural mail carrier’s job when she delivers to your mailbox is to pick up any letters/packages as well as the money to mail them. She will take them to the post office, get them into the mail system, and leave your change in the mailbox on the following day.
I would like to hear from those who have moved to the country and their tales of unforeseen events that impacted their relocation. What has been new to you, or even shocked you? If you knew then what you know now, would you stay in the city? Do you consider yourself to be more self-reliant and independent? Even moving from a city to a small town can have its problems and it would be great to learn about those too.
If you are an “old-timer” to country living, let me hear what you’ve learned from city people or what you’ve taught them. Did they ask you why you “salt” cows when they are still on the hoof? Did they leave a gate open and get a hard lesson in putting things back like they found them?
Kids are in the middle of all of this and it would be helpful to hear from them too. Maybe a seldom-played athlete in the city became the outstanding player in the rural school. Or the smaller classes and teacher influence impacted a student’s grades. The age at which the move was accomplished would likely have the most bearing on the transition.
Make no mistake, small school can turn out big scholars. When I was in grade school, there were 100 kids in our rural school, grades one through eight. One of our neighbors had such a grand beginning that he got a full-ride scholarship to Harvard after his high school graduation. How much the small classes helped we’ll never know.