What Rural People Have in Common

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When I was growing up, I felt deprived of so much, but now when I look back on my childhood, I see that not everybody had everything. Even though some families had a few more conveniences than our family, still, there were some things they didn’t (and couldn’t have).

Some middle-class families could afford their own private well … actually, I think it’s safe to say that all homesteads had a well – if not, they had a lifetime of toting water from the well, the spring, or collecting it from their rooftop or getting it from some other source. To this day, people in the rural area where I grew up still don’t have “city” water. I understand that’s in the works though.

So, all of us country folks had to depend on an outside source for water, be it a well, a pump, a pond, a spring, or water caught in some kind of container straight from heaven.

Photo: Fotolia/Voyagerix

Back then, country people did a lot of walking. Unless we were going to church, to work, to visit our grandparents, to the school uptown or anywhere else other than right around our community, we walked. Most country people had some kind of vehicle, even if it was and old rattle trap that ran as though it was on its last leg. If they didn’t have a car, they had to depend on the kindness of neighbors and even strangers for transportation.

Some households had indoor plumbing, such as running water into their kitchen. Some had bathrooms too, but the majority didn’t have such conveniences. For those of us who didn’t have indoor toilets, we had a trail that led straight to the outhouse. On the other hand, though, most homes had electricity … some, like ours, didn’t.

None of us could just walk up to the mall or to the grocery store or to the post office or to the doctor’s or dentist’s office. Those places were way out of any of our reach. So, whatever had to be done or purchased while uptown couldn’t be forgotten, because there was no such thing as, “Ann, can you run up to the store and get me a stick of butter?”

These commonalities kept country people pretty much on an even footing. Of course, there were some privileges, but on the other hand, we all had our disadvantages. One thing most country people never had (until the early 1970s) was a telephone, and for the most part, most of us never even thought about one. There wasn’t a need to call anyone. We’d see them whenever. If Mother wanted to send a message to her friend down in the lane, she either walked there herself or sent one of us. For the most part, humans were telephones, and that was good enough for us.

And last but not least, I believe all country people are independent and resourceful. We like to breathe clean, fresh air. We are simple and make do with what we have. We work long and hard and usually are not too envious of what others have. We take life as it comes. Some of us are God-fearing and just take whatever comes, meaning, we simply take it one day at a time. We’re usually not in a hurry. We patiently plant our harvest seeds, take time to smell the roses and then chill out until the cucumbers are ready.