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You Know You Live in the Country (Reno County, KS) when . . .
Living in the country isn’t for everybody. If dirt roads and lack of sidewalks bother you, and if you get scared when it’s actually dark at night, and you can hear natural sounds, the country’s not for you.
You know you live in the country when . . .
- you cut the grass growing in the middle of the road.
- your neighbors know that the “No Trespassing“ signs don’t apply to them. They’re welcome.
- the “Welcome Wagon” includes a father and son who resemble the Mountain Men from the movie Deliverance. Before long, you discover they’re the nicest people you’ve ever met.
- your spouse—taught by her Mississippi-born mother—meets people she doesn’t know at the door with a shotgun. That includes the unannounced, uninvited Reno County tax appraiser wandering around the property peering in windows.
- all your neighbors laugh when a newcomer to the area thinks his Reno County property tax assessment appeal will be considered fairly, without prejudice! Hahaha!
- your neighbors share dark humor about government assistance. The jokes all begin with: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” And the truisms all end with the bureaucrat taking, not giving; hurting, not helping.
- city folk visitors see a snake and swear it’s a rattler when obviously it’s a bull snake.
- the neighbor who lives across from the meth house has a daughter who wants to set up a lemonade stand (and sell munchies) whenever the road traffic gets backed up in the drug dealer’s driveway.
- you receive a postcard advertising fast Internet. When you call them, they tell you it doesn’t include your area.
- your neighbors all gather on the road whenever a lost semi-truck gets stuck trying to turn around in the sandy soil. It’s like a picnic without food: plenty of catching up between friends and useless advice for the driver.
- your directions to your house include, “Turn off the main road.”
- first-time visitors to your house think they can find it because they have GPS, then spend 45 minutes driving around the county—lost—before calling you for help.
- loud 4-wheelers, firecrackers, gunfire, and big dogs are never considered disturbing the peace.
- everyone drives a pickup truck and it’s for need, not looks.
- you wash your car and after one trip to town it’s all dusty again.
- the neighborhood hears that Reno County has scheduled a “controlled” burn; this causes your friends to place bets on whether they will be told to evacuate again once the fire jumps the nearby road.
- you lose electricity due to a weather crisis and you know you’re at the bottom of the priority list for repair.
- you live too far away from town to hear tornado sirens.
- you check on the weather by stepping outside instead of checking your phone.
- you hear heavy sounds on the roof and recognize it’s not Santa Clause or Rudolph; it’s a flock of turkeys passing through the area who just found a temporary roost.
- you walk down to the township road to pick up your daily newspaper, the Hutchinson News, but you get delayed by picking and eating ripe mulberries on the way.
- you observe birds, squirrels, turkeys, turtles, and deer also eating mulberries.
- flowering catalpa trees bloom in June and catalpa worms devour the leaves in July and August.
- you can see and hear Canada geese fly over. You are also under the flyway for pelicans, snow geese, and monarch butterflies!
- you can see majestic cloud patterns in the open sky.
- you’re in the middle of thunder and lightning storms.
- you can hear the snap of tree limbs all around your property as a result of the most recent ice storm.
- you can hear the bullfrogs, owls, and coyotes at night.
- your privacy is respected so you can enjoy the beauty of nature.
Until next time, happy writing and reading!