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Of Wagon Wheels And Armenian Store Clerks.

Posted Jun 24 2010 10:33am
Let me just begin by saying that though I was born and raised in Nashville, I am far from a "city slicker". I enjoyed living in the suburbs of the city, while still being right smack dab in the middle of everything I could ever need. I was not out at clubs and bars and hailing taxis to go grocery shopping, and I was not at art gallery openings and doing other fabulous things you think of when you think of city living. But we still lived in the city, a five minute drive to be right downtown in the middle of everything. Every restaurant you could ever want, right there. I can parallel park, I can navigate one-way streets and ten story parking garages, I grew up on the streets of the city. That makes it sound like I was a homeless teenage prostitute, but it's true. Instead of hanging out at the Sonic drive-in or the nearest corn field, we went club-hopping after football games in high school, fake id in hand. All of this to say...yeah. I live in the country now. And it's been an interesting two weeks. Here are just a few things that are making my head spin, and also a few that are making me surprisingly happy that we are living across the street from a wheat field (I think it's wheat. I know it's not corn, but that's about all I can tell you about the field. So lets just call it a Not Corn Field. Sorghum? Is sorghum grown in Tennessee? What is sorghum? It sounds countryish.).

~On our road, a house is not complete without the perfect finishing touch...half-visible wagon wheels adorning either side of the driveway, right at the very end where everyone can see them. They flank the driveway like two guard rails, halfway buried underground. This look may work on a charming cottage that is fabulously "country-chic", and might lend just a touch of irony to the whole decorative scheme, but when you live in an ACTUAL FARMHOUSE WITH CHICKENS IN THE FRONT YARD, it says (to me, at least), "Hey, Elmer, that there wagon wheel fell off the wagon last month and done got sunk in the mud out there by the road. Wull, I reckon I'd just leave it, then." I do not understand buried wagon wheels as lawn ornaments.

~A few people have looked at me in wonder when I told them where we live, and then followed it up with something like, "Yeah, it's going to take me a little while to get used to living in the country." As if to say "Girl, you do NOT live in the country. I'll SHOW you country." Well, guess what, People Who Are Accustomed To Living In A House With Goats In The Backyard? If you see a tractor driving four miles an hour down your street every morning, or a large farm-equipment-like machine hauling seventy bales of hay greets you every morning with the sunrise, or you can hear a rooster crow somewhere in a one mile radius from your house,or you LIVE ACROSS THE STREET from a massive Not-Corn/sorghum field, then yes, you live in the country.

~It is a little bit odd to me that in this town (CITY! CITY, it is a city, oh GOD I have been corrected so many times), the general consensus from it's more normal (read: people who have teeth) residents seems to be this: They want to be taken seriously, they don't want to be known ONLY as a small farming community, they are proud of their city's modern development in the last couple of decades and want to be known more as a smallish city rather than a largeish farm town. I get it! I get it, Clarksville, I really do. But for God's sake, if you want to be a CITY, then get more than one of the major chain stores and/or really important things that people use every day. Like, oh, LIBRARIES. There is one library. There is one YMCA. There is but one Target and one Chik-fil-a. The latest population info suggests that as of two years ago this town had a population of more than 120,000. All cramming themselves into one library, one YMCA...you get the idea.

~Dear Creepy Armenian Gas Station Attendant: You do not fit into my idyllic picture of country living that I see all around me on a daily basis. When I enter the corner store that is situated directly across from both horses galloping in a field and a gorgeous 100-year-old barn in all its authentic, rustic-y glory, the last thing I expect to find is a middle aged wind-breaker wearing man with Jheri curl dripping on the counter tops. Stop it. You should either be a sixty year old pleasantly plump grandmother wearing an apron, or a really old farmer guy wearing overalls and a John Deere cap and calling me Darlin'. You should not be wearing gold rings on every finger and staring at my boobs like you've never seen a woman under the age of eighty. Stop it.

~But, oh! It is beautiful out here, y'all. I kind of get the best of both worlds here in this house. Out the front windows I get to watch the sun rise over the Not Corn/sorghum field, while listening to birds sing and roosters crow. It is peaceful and serene and from the rocking-chair front porch, there is not another house or building anywhere in sight. From the back porch we see our neighbors' houses and can sit and watch golfers golfing all day long, the soundtrack is one of lawnmowers and golf clubs pinging sharply against golf balls. On the front porch I feel like I should be sipping a mint julep or iced tea and my name should be Mabel. On the back porch my name is Bitsy and I am wearing palm tree patterned Bermuda shorts while drinking a bloody mary at 9am. I like this about our house, that it's a little bipolar.

~I love that my kids will grow up with a strong sense of family history here. We live either ON or across from (I can't remember) land that was once owned by the husband's family, years and years and years ago. Every country road we drive down holds a story from the husband's childhood or a house still occupied by a great uncle or third cousin. I swear to GOD that the first night we lived here, these actual words came out of the husband's mouth: "I remember when I was a kid and we used to walk across that field to *Uncle Johnny's watering hole....". For real, y'all, a watering hole.


*Not sure his name was actually Johnny. I can't remember what the husband said. It may have been any one of the following names suitable for a really old farmer: Herbert, Lewis, Billy, Willy, or Hank.
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