Archived Story

10 reasons to live in country

Published 10:07am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

1. Old Gum Tree Road. That is its name. The gum tree is long gone. A hundred years from now it will still be called Old Gum Tree Road.

2. Perpetual Neighborhood Watch. Let a strange car be seen going by your house or your own vehicle seen sitting in a spot not normal, and the neighborhood is, somehow, alerted to the possibility of something abnormal taking place.

3. Directions. They go something like this: “Go down past the Lane Farm and turn left where John Henry used to live — you know, Bud Bailey’s boy — you remember him, don’t you? He went to school with Harriet that taught your mom in the third grade. Anyway, go down that road past where that old white house used to be and take a right soon as you cross Mill Swamp. You can’t miss it.

4. Quiet. No sirens or car horns blowing. No constant factory sounds filling the air or the continuous roar of tires rolling across pavement. Just quiet hour after hour.

5. Artistry. The picture painted as the October sun slips behind the horizon and sends her rays through the clouds. The sculptures formed by new fallen snow. Trees showcasing their colors in the fall; 3-D designs of running water through the forest.

6. Aromas. The whole countryside filled with the sweetness of freshly dug peanuts.

7. Theater. Immersed in a drama produced completely by no man, but directed by an unseen hand, instructing the characters as He sees fit. Geese flying overhead. Seeds sprouting. The wind blowing. Trees stretching their arms upward. A deer running across a field. Fog rolling out across the land.

8. Rhythm. Spring turns to summer, summer turns to fall, fall turns to winter, winter turns to spring. Morning to noon to evening to night to morning. Over and over again.

9. Planetariums. Away from lights, the heavens come alive at night. A glance upwards on a moonless night can be breathtaking.

10. Sparky Jenkins. You don’t meet characters like him anywhere but the country.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is

  • Liberty With Responsibility

    As to the quiet (#4), that WAS true until you get a new neighbor who bought a few acres a few hundred yards away, and set up a dog kennel business in the yard next to the pre-fab, where they breed and sell dogs, which raise a non-stop racket everytime someone walks out the door, anytime day or night, disturbing the peace for everyone around. Don’t understand how that is allowed, without public input, after all the bureaucracy they put the Walters dog business through awhile back.

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  • happycamper

    There are lots of reasons to love country living. I live in “town” now, and miss much of what you describe. I still have the old homeplace available to visit, and I love it when I go.

    Many of my favorite memories have to do with the local hunt club. I always got a kick out of the directions to a deer stand:

    “Go down about a hundred yards past Miss Mattie’s Bottom.”

    “Get up on the ditch bank just before you get to the Holly Tree.” (Which is long gone!)

    “Stand just off the road at the Yellow Schoolhouse.” (Which hasn’t existed for 50 years!)

    And the country words and expressions:
    Ah Ite; as in “How you doin’, Bob?” “Ah ite.”

    Lighterd; as in “Fetch me some lighterd so I kin git this farr started.”

    So many reasons to love the simple country life. Wish I could go back!

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