I am a city boy, a suburbanite. B is a country girl. Sometimes we clash, but most of the time we don’t. I met her 30 years ago this past summer. It seems like the other day and I suppose it was.
It sounds sort of harsh – suburbanite conjures up visions of “Real Housewives of ……” or some other recent popular television show. Several years ago, I read a book, Death By Suburb: How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul, a writer’s view of living in the suburbs and the author poked fun at suburban culture and offered advice. Regardless, I am a suburbanite.
I’ve always lived in a city or near a city – in the suburbs. The jobs I had out of college meant I had to live in or near a city. When I went back to school to learn how to teach, I dreamt of moving to the country, we dreamed together. Nevertheless, we never did. Instead, we became more firmly entrenched in the suburban life. We had kids, our kids grew, went to school, played sports, joined clubs, and the dream of moving to the country faded. But, I still dream of moving to a place where a five-mile commute includes driving through fields of corn, soybeans, wheat and pastures. Where a drive to the grocery store is a once a week adventure to the city or a snowstorm means we stay home inside and I plow the driveway with my truck or better, a tractor.
Dreams are what keeps us moving. So, I still dream of country life. This past summer we spent a lot of time in the country near B’s home. We drove past barns, we watched the corn grow, we saw cows, and pigs, and chicken. We smelled manure and how the rain made the earth smell after a rainstorm. I don’t remember a single traffic jam or congested drive. It was wonderful. I even asked her about moving back to the country. Her eyes lit up.
Yesterday, we drove to the country. B drove, I was a passenger and W and O climbed into the backseat and she pointed the car west. With each mile, I could feel the tension in my neck and shoulders ease. Each breath brought a deeper sense of calm. The kids stopped bickering and we all felt a little lighter. It was wonderful.
We ventured west to the Sandwich County Fair – the 127th Sandwich County Fair.
Last week on the way home from school, I noticed a billboard for the Fair and I when I mentioned it to B, O overheard me and became excited at the mention of it. We’d been to the Fair before, but in recent years, life had gotten in the way. Busy schedules and other activities simply kept us from going. Suburbs. We came close to staying home, but we went.
I am glad we did. It was a wonderful adventure. We drove past outlet malls, strip centers, and corner gas stations and entered the world of barns, silos, cornfields, pastures, and the sweet smells of hay and manure.
I could sense a difference in all of us when stepped out of the car. It was the smell in the air, the blue sky above, and the openness of the country.
Our first stop were the barns – cattle. Then swine, dairy cattle, goats, sheep, poultry barns followed. Then there was the Midway with the rides, games, and of course, the tractor-pulling contest. Fair food – corn dogs, lemon shakes, fried onions, pork chop sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, and flies. Flies, everywhere.
We even ran into one of my students. It was a surprise to see her. She was with her family, she introduced me to her mom, and her brother and I introduced her to W, O, and B. It was nice to meet them. They had been to the tractor pull, were on their way home, and passed on their tractor pull wristbands to us. A thank you note is in order.
W, O, and I got in and watched the last tractor three pulls. It was loud. VERY LOUD. B went to the horticulture hall and we met up later.
Afterwards, O and I played the numbers and mouse game – she won a hat and I won a stuffed tiger. We ate BBQ ribs and bought taffy. We rode the Ferris wheel and a couple of other rides. We said good night to the sheep. Then we drove home to suburbia taking a little bit of the country with us.
It was a wonderful adventure.
It was late when we got home, almost midnight. Ivy was excited to see us and excitedly sniffed out hands. We climbed into bed and dreamed the dreams of the country. Maybe one day.
It’s Sunday morning and I have chores and errands to do, it’s life. Life in the suburbs, life in the country, life in the city. No matter where you are – there is always something to do, something to get done, something to repair, something to wash, clean or simply put away, because if you don’t put it back where you got it, you won’t be able to find it when you need it again. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, one trip to the countryside, one trip to a fair, one adventure at a time.
When was the last time you went to the country? How did it feel?
Today’s post is in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – prompt – at Word Press. The week’s prompt is “Adventure.” This week, share a photo that says “adventure.” It could be an image of someone setting off on an epic journey, a photo you took on an adventure of your own, or something more metaphoric that represents a personal or psychological adventure. We’re excited to see where you’ll take us!