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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Country Living


I love the commercials for Blue Bell ice cream. They make every day living in the country look like an east Texas family reunion. Old people find joy in the work of their hands and children romp in lakes and play on old tire swings. And of course someone is always churning ice cream. This is how I thought life would be fifteen years ago when we moved to the country. Now all I can say is, I did my time and I'm glad I'm out.

First of all, in our part of Texas, if there is a lake or pond near by, you should stay away from it. It's probably not supposed to be there and anything could be in it. You could get a nasty infection. Also we grow unusually large mosquitoes in west Texas and they love to hang around dirty, murky water.

I had a garden when we lived in town and thought I could have a much bigger and better one when we moved to the country. The rabbits and coyotes loved my big garden. They ate very well and grew in numbers. It didn't really matter. After the first giant, prehistoric grasshopper monster flew in my face, I gave the garden to the rabbits and coyotes and never went out there again.

We had a little wasp problem. Early in the Fall, when it didn't get warm until late day, I used to come home from work and find my front door covered in wasp. I had to walk around to the back just to go in the house, but sometimes there were wasp in there also. Sarah found an old wasp nest and wanted to take it to school for her science class. She left it on the kitchen counter for days so I put it in a baggie and threw it in a drawer. One day I was looking for something in that drawer and found a baggie full of baby wasp.

I'm more afraid of snakes than anything. I never finished painting my back door because a snake crawled across my foot. It was a small grass snake and Jon said it scared him worse than it scared me. He obviously doesn't know how scared I was. I walked out to my car one day, and right there on the driveway was a big ugly bull snake. I know it was a bull snake because I didn't see a rattler, but then again I didn't stay around that long. I turned and ran under a tree and found myself in the biggest spider web you ever saw. It was the work of a huge green and yellow spider, I have since learned, was there to eat mosquitoes and not me. All of this, before 8:00 am.

My sister never had a problem with bull snakes. She said they eat mice. I said I'd rather have mice. Jon said there was a bull snake living in our well house that ate mice. I said I would never go into that well house. And I didn't, until I had to. Jon was out of town and we were expecting the temperature to drop below freezing. He said I would have to go out to the well house and light the heater. Lighting that heater was terrifying enough, but it was dark and I knew there was a snake out there. Sarah was home from college for the weekend and said she would do it. Well, she was my child, if anyone was going to be killed by a gas heater or ravenous bull snake it should be me, right. We walked out there together. She was holding the flashlight, but I had her stay at a distance. As I tried to step through the door, I was gripped by fear. I stopped and turned back several times until finally, I was in. Sarah was laughing the whole time. It took several tries to light the fire. It was very dark, or maybe my eyes were closed, I don't know, but I finally got it lit and ran out the door. Sarah had the most horrified look on her face, then she started to laugh. She said while I was lighting the heater, with my eyes closed, there was something looking at me. She didn't know what, she just saw eyes. We screamed and ran in the house and I took a very long, very hot shower.

We moved to town almost four years ago and people still ask me if I miss the country. I'd like to be sentimental about it, but I cant. I love it here. We don't have a well house yet we still have water. A big truck comes by weekly and picks up our trash. I never get stuck in the mud and I haven't seen a snake in ages. I love hearing children play in my neighborhood and the sound of church bells telling me the time every 30 minutes. I am enjoying all the comforts of suburbia.

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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