Ten reasons we love rural livin’
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009 8:01 pm
We don’t always “find ourselves” until we cross the 40-year threshold of our lives.
That happened to me five years ago. It was the exact same time that our family moved from Central Texas to the countryside of northwest Tennessee.
God knew the timing would be perfect … that a life of moving from place to place could be nearing an end for our family. We put down roots.
We bought a lawn mower. We ordered those little address labels with our address printed on them. It felt good to tell friends and family that we would no longer be contacting them every few years to give them our new address … that perhaps they could write our address in ink this time.
We put up a new mailbox and planted azalea bushes in front of the porch. This year, we even planted an apple tree, some tomatoes and hot peppers. But we forever etched our names into the “Country Dwellers Hall of Fame” with the acquisition of five small chickens. Ten years ago I would have never believed that one of my greatest joys in life would be to wake up every morning knowing that five chickens were still breathing.
Country living is no longer just the name of a magazine. It is our chosen life.
Some might wonder what we so love about our life in northwest Tennessee. Here are just 10 of the many reasons we are proud to be a part of this community.
No. 10. People pull to the side of the road and stop for a funeral procession. When my boys asked why, we explained that it’s out of respect for the grieving family. It doesn’t matter whether we know the person who died or the family who is grieving. It’s our small way of saying we care and we’re sorry.
No. 9. No traffic jams. An occasional tractor on the highway might slow things a bit, but we’re never stuck standing still.
No. 8. People I don’t even know come up to me at the grocery store and give me advice about raising chickens. That just doesn’t happen in L.A.
No. 7. Our boys run through the woods and get really dirty every day. They’re building up valuable immunities which will improve their health.
No. 6. We saw a deer in our yard yesterday. One of our family projects is taking pictures of the raccoon when he comes to steal the cat food every night.
No. 5. It’s relaxing to walk up to the garden at dusk and see blooms on the tomato plants.
No. 4. When I’m in an airport far away, I close my eyes and pretend I’m sitting on our front porch.
No. 3. I’ve learned that “fast paced” living isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just a faster pace to nowhere in particular.
No. 2. Our boys are learning that education isn’t limited to a classroom. It happens while planting a tree or watching chickens grow or delivering a mole from the untimely death of a cat’s jaws. Education is learning about real life.
No. 1. Even though we live on a country road, we never feel alone. We are part of a community … a community that cares for us and embraces us with all our frailties and inabilities. It feels good to lie down at night knowing that even if we kill all our tomato plants, our northwest Tennessee neighbors will be glad to share theirs. Thank you.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. Mrs. Smartt is the wife of Philip Smartt, the University of Tennessee at Martin parks and recreation and forestry professor, and is mother to two boys, Stephen and Jonathan. She is a freelance writer and speaker. Her book “The Smartt View: Life, Love, and Cluttered Closets” is available at The Messenger, The University of Tennessee at Martin bookstore or by mail for $10, plus $2 shipping. Send checks to Lisa Smartt, 300 Parrott Road, Dresden TN 38225. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 5.20.09