Recently, I overheard a conversation during a local civic gathering. The conversation was among several individuals who were new arrivals to the community (most had moved in less than a year ago). They were talking about how much we/they needed paved roads! Instantly, my hackles went up. I mean, I like these people — at least, I want to like them — but they are talking crazy talk.
I should say that my family goes back to 1835 in this community; even if I was born and raised in the big city of Houston, this is my home.
I spent much time during my youth in this community. I roamed my grandparent's property (the same property that's been in the family since 1835) picking stuff up, riding dirt bikes, and building barbed wire fences — fun stuff. I spent lots of time running those gravel roads they were talking about paving. Those gravel roads are near and dear to my heart. I learned to drive on those! You can't and shouldn't pave paradise.
I know, I know, you are probably thinking, change happens, and this guy needs to get over it, but I don't like this change! What's next, a convenience store on the corner and a coffee shop down the road? I mean, really, don't move to the country and then try to make it the city. That defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?
But I'm forced back to reality; I know deep down that this change will take place, and that I'm just being nostalgic for a time that has long passed. So I offer these words of advice for all those planning to move to their little piece of paradise in the country:
1. Remember that there are people whose roots run deep in paradise and who may be happy with paradise just the way it is; this was their paradise before it was yours.
2. Learn how to drive on unpaved roads; slow down, move over, and wave when you meet someone going the other way. Maybe even stop and strike up a conversation. That guy in the monster truck you are frowning at might just be the guy you need to pull your compact car out of the ditch the next time a gully washer comes through.
3. Become part of the community before you start talking about changing the community. Get to know your neighbors (see truck reference above); it’ll help you learn how to convince them that change is good.
I want to like these new neighbors, I really do. Just don't start talking about a convenience store down on the corner ...
Photo by Fotolia/Harris Shiffman
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