Sunday, May 27, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Summers in the country offer long list of delights

Considering moving out of the city and into the country, the quieter rural zones?

If the many large new homes that have been added to the back roads landscape are any indication, more and more families are moving in that direction. I say good for them, especially for three of the four seasons. Winter in Ohio and Michigan in the country is a challenge.

But now through October, country living is a glorious lifestyle. Two or three days spent in heavy city traffic is enough to make country folks appreciate their quiet. When three pickups are at the same intersection, we think it s a traffic jam.

On mornings when the mist hovers over the lake, the sounds of birds in perfect harmony is an invitation to hurry to the front porch to have coffee in the high-backed rocker. But evenings, when the sun drops a golden curtain over the same scene, are equally stunning.

Right now some long blue wildflower blooms mixed with Queen Anne s lace make a smashing arrangement in a green vase on the dining room table. Tall grasses and peony leaves add different colors and textures. A three-foot-high thistle in a rustic ceramic vase on the cedar table on the porch is a commanding centerpiece. When the wheat is ripe I will bring in a few stalks from a nearby field.

Now let s see, what else is wonderful about life in the country?

It s hanging the clothes out to dry, knowing the reward is to crawl between sheets scented with a fragrance that no air freshener can duplicate.

It s an early-morning check to see why Digby, the aging dog, is barking so ferociously and running faster than I had seen him run in years. It s a young deer, so young it still had spots, wandering through the side yard, heading first toward the lake, then to the road and over to the neighbor s. With Digby indoors, the lost deer was just as frightened. The apple, cracked corn, and candy offered by caring neighbors who had gathered didn t appeal to the little guy that ran out of sight.

An animal control spokesman said that its mother probably had been killed, because mother deer never leave their young. That unexpected sad possibility is not the only bittersweet experience in country living.

It s going to the rural mailbox, opening the flap, and always remembering the bombs in Iowa mailboxes a few years ago.

It s crying when another barn falls further into oblivion after the last windstorm.

It s knowing you pay more for gas than city folks, and wondering if it s worth it to drive to town to save a few pennies.

It s a bout with poison ivy, a penalty of weeding the same garden where you thought it was destroyed last summer. Do ivy blisters itch as much as they did when you were a child and wouldn t listen to your mother s warnings? Absolutely.

Country folks do use expensive gas to go to town for important events. In my neck of the woods that means the Thursday night concerts by the Adrian City Band at Trestle Park in Adrian. A city pride, the park stretches for miles and is noted for the walking and biking paths that in time may be extended all the way to Clinton, Mich., it is said.

But for all the attention the Adrian City Band, directed by Jim Rice, Tecumseh High School band director, gets and deserves, the public focus at the park is the amphitheater. Whether attendees sit on blankets spread on the grass, or on totable chairs perched high on the winding walkways, there isn t a bad seat. It s a comforting slice of Americana. It is also free, except for the gas and maybe an ice cream cone on the way home.

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