I'm a girl from the suburbs. I grew up with sidewalks, with the option of jumping on my bike to go anywhere I wanted to go, but with an illusion born of desire that the horse pasture across the street was "the country" (anyone else ever fish for crawdads in a sewage ditch?)
Down our dirt road here in Long Hollow, we feel like we're in the country. There's the pond, creek and wildlife surrounding us, all the trees and wildflowers, and very few neighbors. Compared to where I grew up, I guess it is a type of "country", but it's not the Real Country.
I know this because I've spent bits of time in the Real Country... a weekend on a farm in Buffalo, Texas with a friend when I was nine, riding horses and exploring the woods... a week with my grandparents who were house parents at the Boysville farm when I was ten, picking vegetables, riding in the back of my Granddad's truck to the feed store, discovering a robin's nest and its bright blue egg... and this past weekend near Pawelekville with my friend Nancy and her husband Paul to celebrate their daughter Tara's graduation from high school.
To get to their house we drove miles on narrow roads bordered by mowed fields, the weathered rolls of hay looking like scattered spools of silver thread, and fields lined with rows of young corn (or wheat, or something... remember, I'm from the 'burbs!) Just patches of green straight to the horizon, broken only by small stands of trees and farmhouses, some new and some gray and crumbling (Who once lived there? Where did they go?)
Nancy's house is new, sitting back from the road, a long, long walk from any others. She has chickens and ducks and doves, a Mama cat and her baby, and a small patch of garden. The view from her long back porch is pure Texas country - fields, trees, cactus, a pond and cows. Lots of cows!
I had fun taking pictures of all of it, especially the cows, and in between, helped get ready for the party, setting up tables and chairs on the covered driveway, chopping up zucchini... okay, I wasn't a lot of help. There just wasn't much left to do. Nancy and Paul are country people, up early with everything taken care of way ahead of time.
We enjoyed seeing their parents and extended families again (the last time was nine years ago at their wedding!) and meeting their friends... and then seeing many of them again the next morning at Mass and the church picnic.
We didn't get to spend nearly enough time there, but we'll be back soon. Nancy already has an electrical project lined up for Tom. While he works, I'll be spending more time relaxing on that back porch, soaking in the Real Country and taking more cow pictures. (He got his nap in on this trip!)
Greeting great friends...
The party began before sunset and went on well after dark... friends and family, washers and Polish washers (also called Cowboy Golf), barbecue, beer and potato salad... and what's a celebration without cake and presents?
We attended Mass at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, built in 1878 in nearby Cestahowa, then crossed the street to the church picnic, drawn there by a line of colorful tractors and the rumor of more barbecue, before finally heading home.