Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living in a Small Community

Because our daughter won in her age division in the Miss Myrtle Yester-daze's contest, we attended the Myrtle, Missouri Yester-daze parade and festivities on Saturday. The tiny town (population 429 ) annually hosts the Myrtle Yester-daze's to build camaraderie among the town's residents as well as financially support the Local Volunteer Fire Department through a pancake breakfast, a barbecue lunch and the sale of homemade ice cream. The festivities begins with a flag raising ceremony followed by the moderately priced pancake breakfast at the community center. (The food quality, quantity, and cost better than compete with McDonald's.) After that is the parade lead by the VFW Color Guard and followed by the reigning Miss Myrtle's of all the divisions riding on hay-bales in the back of a shiny red pickup. The rest of the parade is about what you'd expect in a small midwest town. There was a marching band, floats, horses, antique cars, muscle cars, horses and lots of four wheelers. A firetruck with it's lights flashing completed the parade. Afterwards the other festivities began. There were events for all. There were contests and there were local vendors selling their wares. there was even a community yard sale. One of the things I liked about the celebration was that there was none of the commercialization you see in a lot of the larger fairs. There wasn't a single carny ride or commercial vendor. The favorite event of the day finished the day. It was the chicken and pig scramble. If you don't know what that is, that's where contestants chase the animals around a pen until one of them catches it. Reminds me of a Little House on the Prairie episode where they were chasing a young pig in mud. This event occurred sans the mud but was just as entertaining. For all you animals out there, they were extremely careful that none of the animals were harmed during this event.

Living in a rural community like this gives you a unique perspective that writers in the city don't have. You learn that there isn't a rural stereotype. There is as much diversity of characters in a rural setting as there is in the city the diversity is just a different kind of diversity. A city dweller might think that a farm is a farm but when you live here, you see that isn't so. Here we have a pastured pig farmer, hay farmers, straw and fescue seed growers, sheep farmers, horse ranchers, mother and calf operations, dairy farmers, pastured chicken farmers, fruit growers, farmer's market growers and the guy who just gardens and raises food for his family who's real job is working at a store, factory, or sawmill or in the logging woods.

Most people who live in this rural community are not farmers. Most people live in the small towns and work in nearby larger communities. Some use the computer for their livelihood. The largest employer in Myrtle is the local Couch School. Just about every family who has lived in the area for any length of time has a family member who works at the school and that includes mine. My husband is one of the school bus drivers.

Though I sometimes get an urge to go to a big city to visit. I don't think I'd ever like to live in one for any length of time. I enjoy the simpler, what I would call more genuine lifestyle that we live here. Many people would be bored living but not me because here, life is what you make it and that's true for anywhere you are.

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