Life in the country is never boring | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | May 15, 2016 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Friends sometimes drive through our little village and ask, “What do you DO here?”
Rural life is deceptively quiet — the truth is, there’s never a dull moment.
There’s always something going on — businesses open and close, tractors break down, horses break out.
Someone’s always in the hospital, leaving the hospital or being urged to check into the hospital… and there are plenty of other comings and goings: People move here to retire or escape the rat race; they leave for a job, college or to live with adult children.
Granted, you learn to make your own fun. There’s no bar, no movie theater, no gym, hair salon, bowling center, craft store or restaurant except a Subway, which does a brisk business.
Most news is exchanged at the post office, the two gas stations, or the Dollar General, aka “the mall.” You’d be amazed what you hear while buying stamps or waiting to pay for kitty litter.
Just last week I learned that Joe-Bob’s boat sank in the Edisto and had to be towed back to the dock. Perry had a sandbar party that lasted until 2 a.m. A neighbor hasn’t seen his best bird dog in a week, and a friend of a friend won $100,000 on a scratch-off ticket.
The main source of entertainment is the drive-by, which involves golf carts, not guns. Folks drive by, see you in the yard and stop for a visit. We share gardening tips and news about whose daughter got into what college.  We talk about good dogs, past and present. We take a break to go buy lottery tickets, come back and talk some more.
We drop off home-grown vegetables and plant clippings. When friends go on vacation, we watch their houses and feed any pets too old or cranky to be boarded. We turn off each other’s burglar alarms and investigate (and by “investigate” I mean call the po-po) when we see something hinky happening around someone’s house or barn.
A lot of people ride horses around town; a group of ladies stroll the sidewalks if it’s not too hot, too cold, too windy or raining.
The local churches are busy, too, with aerobic classes, skeet shooting, rotating dinner parties, lock-ins, vacation Bible school, ski trips and pool parties.
There’s also animal action. Either our roosters are waging World War III in the backyard, or a cow is ambling down the sidewalk. My husband has a running feud with one particular possum that I suspect isn’t going to end well.
When I first moved here I thought it was the ends of the earth. The thought of driving 15 miles to eat a bad burrito, or 22 miles to eat a good one, sent me to bed with the covers over my head.
Slowly, I began to know our neighbors, many who grew up here, traveled widely and then came home to retire. After a career that took him all over the globe, one man came back to buy the house he grew up in.
Another lifelong resident, an insurance exec, loves nothing better than a week in New York. A retired librarian has visited every state in America; her daughter, two streets over, is a sophisticated event planner.
I found kindred spirits who appreciate high-spirited conversations about politics, the economy and “Modern Family.”
It takes all kinds, they say, and our village has them all. It’s a sleepy little town, but don’t be fooled: There’s more here than meets the eye.
And for us, it’s home.

(Julie R. Smith, a converted country gal, can be reached at

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