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Don’t Move Here

I know that city folks think country life is idyllic. They’re wrong. Don’t move here.City folks can gossip, but you’d be surprised what country neighbors know about you. They know all your opinions and motivations. You didn’t think you had those opinions and motivations, but you do. No use denying it. The neighbors know more about you than you do! When you happily move into your new house you will be resented for having built in “their view.” Never mind they’re in your view, also. They’ve been around longer than you have. You are steerage.Eventually the neighbors’ opinion of you may improve to mild disdain. Then you can graduate to arguing with them at 4-H meetings. 4-H feels like Little League with animals. The kids are trying to have a good time raising and documenting their chosen animal for judging at the county fair. The parents quibble and argue. Pig people snub sheep people. (What IS “the other white meat” anyway?) Beef people reign supreme. Try to be invisible and slip out when you can. If they discover you’re recently from the city, Oh, Ho! Some wag may suggest a new 4-H category for you: “How about 4-H digital pets for our city friends?” Ouch!In school your kids will be shunned because they don’t know how to talk country-like. They may be forced to enroll in the rural bilingual program: “Cowboy Ebonics.” My son works on a ranch nearby. One day he was lugging long metal fence panels and commented; “Man, these panels are cumbersome!”The ranch manager, “Bigg’un”, overheard him. “Don’t use words like that around here boy,” he hissed.”What words?” Tyler asked.Biggun corrected; “Just say these panels are heavier’n snot, n’ long too.”Then there is the wind. Surely you have heard about the wind out here? Fresh air? There’s plenty of it! Building with plywood is a horror. How do you feel about hang gliding? Working outdoors in springtime feels like you’re working in the back of a pickup truck on I-25! On a blustery day chickens can fly like eagles. You’ll find the chickens plastered against their yard fence like Kleenex and shopping bags along the freeway. No “adopt a highway” litter control out here either, friend. You’ll be out in the gale snatching chickens from wire fencing and stuffing them into their hen house!And lightning? A bolt once struck between the house and me, only 40 feet away! The boom! The shaking! And that was just in my pants!I saw weeds and dirt fountain 10 feet into the air where the bolt had struck. That durned ranch wife had warned me not to stay outside, that the weather was changing. I had demurred, chore closure being important to me. Well, I sheltered in the garage until composure was regained, then sauntered into the house.”I thought you were going to keep working outside,” she said.”Oh, thought I’d come in,” said I, sauntering down the hall. (Do you know how hard it is to saunter with loaded pants?)Now I’m thinking lightning rods are a good idea. (Please don’t tell my wife she was right about the weather. Oops, forgot. *The neighbors already know!* I’m doomed.)I’ve acquired books on lightning rods. There are two huge factions; Blunt rods or sharp rods, but which is better? Both factions are so convincing I can’t decide. Guess if I make my lightning rods the size and shape of golf clubs they’ll do okay.City life just has to be better than this. Your cell phone won’t work. The TV reception is bad. The SUV is always dirty and you’ll have to figure out that funny little lever with “4WD” written near it. You might also find yourselves with way more time to interact with one another. Think about THAT!Do think it over. Don’t move here. Besides, you ought to be ashamed of yourself for the thought. We’re country people. You’re sprawl.

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