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Another Day in the Country

Bringing out the best

© Another Day in the Country

During this time while all good citizens are limiting their exposure to the wider world, I took up one of my favorite pastimes, making picture albums online. 

“Why don’t we start on that book we always wanted to do,” my sister prompted last Sunday at breakfast. “The one we wanted to call ‘Two Parked Cars and a Dog in the Road.’ ”

It is the story of us buying this little rundown, defunct house in Ramona and the ripple effect it had in our family. It changed the trajectory of our lives.

That was 1990. And here we are, 2020, and living in Ramona.

Getting it into an online book was such a good idea! 

We’d already written part of the story and now we had to find the photographs. What a lot of memories we stirred up, remembering how it took several years before we had electricity and plumbing in the house; but each year, we took two weeks of vacation to come back to Ramona and do some improvements.

We always had a Schubert family reunion during our stay.

The second year, when the family came back for reunion, one of my cousins who’d grown up in Ramona asked, “Didn’t there used to be a picket fence in front of this place?”

I told him that, yes, there had been, but before I bought the house the fence was sold to someone else in town for their yard.

“We should put one back up,” he said.

“I’ve been wanting to,” I assured my cousin. “But we don’t have the money right now.”

Long story short, the cousins took up a collection, bought some wood, and during reunion weekend started building a picket fence.

It went up pretty fast.

We thanked them, thrilled at this new addition, and they all went home. 

We still had a few days of vacation left. 

That night, a humongous wind storm came through town, blew down a tree, limbs everywhere, and our brand new fence was shattered.

We were staying at Aunt Naomi’s house and when we came down the street to check for damage on our newly acquired property, we were devastated.

What a mess!

Within an hour, Ramona was stirring, and guys we didn’t even know gathered on our corner.

“We’re here to help,” a guy named John said, and he started sawing up limbs, loading them on his truck.

Others pitched in.  These weren’t relatives.  We didn’t really know these people.  Some we’d heard about, wondered about, some we’d been warned to steer clear of; but here they were to help.

That was when I learned an important lesson about Ramona.  When the chips are down, when trouble comes, everyone pitches in to do their part. Crisis brings out the best in the best people!

Many is the time, since I’ve lived in Ramona now for 20 years, that I’ve seen this phenomena play out. When trouble strikes in any form — be it sickness, death, or a tree falling on your fence — they’re here to help you.

You may find them difficult to deal with in every day circumstances, cantankerous or aloof, but trouble comes knocking and they appear.

They didn’t rebuild the fence, but they cleared up the mess and gave us advice: stronger boards.

Uncle Hank came over, we assessed the damage, got out our meager tools, bought more 2-by-4s and started rebuilding the fence, stronger.

Through the years, living in a small town, we’ve searched for ways to bring people together. We’ve had town clean-ups, town picnics, 4th of July parades, Memorial Day picnics, Christmas parties, and Easter egg hunts. 

It tends to be the same crew doing the work of it and joining in. Often more people from out of town came than people who live in town. 

“What does it take,” I wondered. “Do we have to have a catastrophe for people to work together?”

I hoped not, but at least I knew for sure that my neighbors would rally round if something bad happened. 

We are living with the prospect of something bad right now. It’s like a bomb dropped in our midst, an alien invasion. A wake-up call.

It isn’t like we haven’t had viruses before, or diseases causing death, which we’ve tended to ignore. Perhaps this particular virus challenge can do something positive for all of us.

I’ve already read that the Earth has been given a reprieve as manufacturing around the world slowed to a halt, which slowed air pollution.

Perhaps as we slow down, stay at home, sit with our families, and quiet ourselves, we will learn something vital.

As I read in my library book just this morning, “Necessity is often the best teacher.”

I’m so thankful to be in a rural area, so glad to be in the company of self-sufficient people, and not stuck in a crowded environment, so grateful to be spending another day in the country.

Be safe!

Last modified April 8, 2020

 

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