GROWING UP URBAN, LIVING RURAL — IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!
I grew up in an urban setting, not quite city but not the country. We had close neighbors, a lot of traffic and street lights that came on at dusk every evening.
My parents provided a good life for us but as I grew up, I always thought about living the country life.
When my corporate job was eliminated, I was able to fulfill that dream of country living. I had just built a new home on five acres south of Bellville and it was time to enjoy a slower lifestyle with my partner-in-life, John, and my old Golden Retriever, Millie.
I was Editor of our local paper for a while but then really retired to country life. I planted a big garden, much like my grandfather always had, and quickly eased into a much less stressful type of living.
After the barn was built a few years ago, I purchased two miniature donkey babies, Samson and Delilah. They were three and four months old when they arrived on the homestead, so small they were delivered in the back of a van! They are extremely affectionate and continue to provide joy and laughter with their daily antics.
Samson and Delilah as babies — Scott says goodbye.
I’m living a modern life but at the same time, I feel very close to the early settlers who came to this area and built a life for themselves, living off the land.
I’m trying to do the same in a modified version. My maternal grandparents came to this country in the early 1920’s, my mom was all of four years old, leaving almost everything behind on their small farm in a small village in Austria-Hungary.
My grandmother always canned and preserved the harvest from grandpa’s large garden, with jars of freshly canned bright red tomatoes gleaming on the shelf in the “fruit cellar” in the basement. Next in line would be jars of applesauce, beans, pears, peaches and whatever Grandma could preserve.
She had a weekly routine and on Mondays, she would make enough homemade bread for a couple of days. She’d call my mother when the bread came out of the oven and I’d jump on my bike and ride as fast as I could before the bread could cool off. I’d open the door and the aroma of freshly baked bread would great me and grandma, in her usual apron, would be waiting. She’d have a slice of bread ready with butter melting into the nooks and crannies.
While Grandma did the baking, canning and preserving, my grandfather and his brothers would butcher several hogs each year. When I close my eyes, I can still see the lengths of sausages hanging in the attic to cure and I can smell the wonderful aroma of spices and garlic.
I love to read the history of this country and life in an earlier time. In my own way, I’m recreating some of that for myself here in the Clear Fork Valley by trying to keep things less hectic and more simple. I admire the tenacity of our forefathers for forging this great country out of a wilderness and creating a Constitution that keeps us free.
When I complain about the harshness of the past winter, I’m thankful that I have a warm home and plenty to eat without having to go out and hunt.
I am thankful every day for the life I have and feel extremely fortunate to be living in this wonderful United States of America.