little Amish buggy

Country Living


If you grow up in the country, this life is your normal. It's only when you have a visitor from the city or hear a disparaging remark about rural living, that you realize the stereotypes and misunderstandings held by urbanites. Everything I know about city living comes from movies and television. The notion of living in an apartment holds no appeal.

When the parents of our Fresh Air child visited, they were afraid to be left alone upstairs in my parents' home. Another time my 6'5", 300-lb Philly visitor was afraid to get out of the car on the country roads in Big Valley. The cliche characters in movies and on television make us look like mouth-breathing, inbred ignoramuses. I'd like to straighten out a few matters.

Regarding technology, we may not have cable TV, but we do have satellite dishes and high-speed internet. We know know how to use computers.

We send our children to public and Christian schools, and get regular dental care (though my Dad saved some money by going to the Amish dentist a few times.)

Safety is usually of little concern despite the gun-loving culture. We can leave our keys in the car and front door unlocked, although we feel safer locking up at night. You can walk around freely on back roads, and nobody will try to shoot you or take you prisoner. I can count on 1 hand the number of times a stranger has rung my doorbell in 11 years. We have lots of deer, some bears, and gazillions of ground hogs.  I haven't heard of them attacking anyone yet.

What about intelligence and education? Most of us are not inbred,though I do have some distant relatives who married first-cousins. Also, they say the Amish need to expand the gene pool a little.

Housing is far more affordable than in the city. You do find some crappy houses around here, but they are interspersed with fine homes. Neither party minds.There are no zoning rules. We have quite a few junk yards and used car lots. This is the land of the free. I happen to live next to a junk yard, and the dogs are very nice. If you think it's cheap to build in the country, think again. A sand-mound septic system and well will set you back many thousands of dollars, and you can't subdivide a lot to result in less than an acre of ground for each party in this township.

This is the land of fresh air except when a skunk is nearby or manure is spread behind your house. The latter is a modern concoction that the settlers would not have recognized. It is a condensed,liquefied, pungent, eye-watering substance that is usually spread during a holiday backyard barbecue.