Sunday, March 25, 2007

Living in the Country

I ordered a necklace for Jilda this week. It's not found at Dollar General or Wal-Mart, so I ordered it online. The woman that took my order asked for my credit card information and then she asked for a mailing address. Yes it's 310 Stacks Bottom Road Empire, Alabama..... The line was quite for a moment and then she managed, in a Bostonian accent, "you live in the country don't you?"
You could say that, I said. We live in a community that does not have a red light, a post office, police, a grocery or video store, a doctor, a lawyer, or drug store. She sounded if she were talking to someone from Darfur.
I could have told her about the things that I love about living in the country but I didn't have the time and I don't thing she really wanted to hear it. Most folks from other parts of the world judge Alabama by what they watch on the news, read in the paper and what they see in movies. To be honest, what they see is most often true to some degree, but there is a lot more to the story. Yes, some of our ancestors treated black folks poorly and for that I am truly sorry. I think we are doing a much better job now and it is my opinion that "those who have not mistreated someone can cast the first stone." I think there is enough blame to go around.
What slips by the attention of most people from other parts of the world is that the people from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina have a higher rate of charitable giving than any other part of the country. The poorest section of the country gives the most. How odd is that? It's a story that is rarely told.
While we can't afford to have a full-time paid fire department, we have volunteers that would rush into the fires of hell to save a neighbor, or their pet. If anyone in the community dies, the local chicken processing plants have to go into overtime to deliver enough chicken to be fried for the family of the deceased. When a funeral procession is met, out of respect everyone pulls to the side of the road and stops until the funeral passes.
Most forms of popular music can be traced to the south. Not only Country and Blue Grass, but the Blues, Gospel, Rock and Jazz all have roots here.
There are too many incredible writers from here to name. The south is a strange and wonderful place and I hope it stays that way.
With the price of heating fuel, and the good climate here, there are a lot of folks moving here from other parts of the country. The first thing most of them want to do is to make it like the place they just left. The quickest way to get on a southerner's bad side is to tell them about all the bad stuff.
The best advice I can give for those moving here is to slow down, buy a tiller, grow a garden, learn to fish, and if someone says "You're from the country aren't you?" just say yes and I love it here.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:26 AM

    I disagree with your approach Rick. When I encounter those from another place who have a preconceived notion of how bad it is down here, I do whatever I can to bolster their view. Tornadoes every week, treating any ethnics other than "Suthern" in dispicable ways, and a list that goes on and on of how bad it is here, are the "facts" I'm willing to share with them.
    I tell them how thankful they should be that they don't live here, but I don't tell them how thankful I am (that they don't live here). ;)


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