The town I live in is nothing special. It’s got about 3,000 people. For northern Illinois, this is tiny. For rural midwest, this is a middle-of-the-road size. When my family finally moves, we’ll be living in a town of 400 people. That’s a whole new brand of small.
To some of my city slicker friends (two of which went on vacation with Farmboy and I this last weekend), my hometown seems like some enchanted, down-home, straight-out-of-a-book quaint rural town. In some ways it is, but there are plenty of things that keep it pretty far away from that stereotype. However, the novelty they found in driving through my native area and being surrounded by woods, fields, hills, and open skies made me smile.
We met at my house and left the car their brought sitting safely in my driveway while we swept off across the eastern Midwest to a theme park in Ohio. The amazement they showed at the seven-foot-tall corn, the rusty barrels where we burn our garbage, the fact that my dog could run loose in the yard without breaking city laws…it was amusing.
If you ever want to refresh your love of the country and the outdoors, take some well-meaning city slickers to a corn field. Show them hawks circling overhead and cardinals perched right outside your very window. The pair of city kids (actually suburban kids, but to me those are fairly synonymous) were amused at the way Farmboy and I commented on fields we passed. (“Was that a strip-tilled wheat field with 30-inch rows?! I don’t understand!” and “Look at the heat stress on that corn. Sure hope that’s silage corn…”)
Overall, it was just a nice experience. After my friends packed their car and left for the suburbs, I was left with the warm and fuzzy feeling that I had given them something new and interesting. Now, they’re asking when they can come back for a bonfire, or to go fishing on the river, or go out to the farm. This is such a different world to them, a world they never knew. A world they never thought they’d be interested in.
And that is why my city friends make me smile.