Cultured From the Country

Culture ofCountry

Tonight I heard a great interview on NPR with a chef who was born in Israel and raised in Philadelphia. One of the topics discussed was how his culture was present in his up bringing in America. That got me thinking about how challenging it must be raising kids in our culture, but providing culture today. I began to reflect on my own growing up.

I was raised in a rural community in a small town, population 4,000 and home of the watermelon. It was a town where most everyone knew each other and the staff at the National Bank certainly knew you. My grandmother would pick me up from school and we’d have coffee and cookies in the break room of the bank and chat with other customers and the staff. This was a time when you didn’t need a note or permission if someone other than a parent was picking you up from school. And being in a break room of a bank, well today that is unheard of.

Halloweens would bring costume parties hosted in our garage as we played records and bobbed for apples. We didn’t worry about where we were going trick-or-treating or the candy that we received, we just devoured it. Our costumes were homemade and they didn’t come the party store. Today I spend more on a costume for my puppy than we did on ourselves back then.

In the rural culture we learned to take care of animals. They depended on us. Parents didn’t do the work; it was up to us to get up early to feed the animals, in the dark and in the cold. We learned to be responsible.

The teen-aged kids attended a dance every year at what was called Foundation Farm, an old farmhouse used for the annual gathering where the boys stood on one side and the girls on the other. Boys asked the girls to dance. We wore respectable dresses and there were grown up chaperones in attendance.

Sundays were set aside for church and family. Every Sunday Mimi made lunch for the family, hosting more than a dozen at her house. I looked forward to Willie’s legendary homemade cinnamon rolls. More on that in another post, but those were a staple at every big family meal and that was every Sunday. These were enjoyed with the meal, almost like a dinner roll and that was fine by me.

Summers were spent at the town fair, the annual Watermelon Thump. The parade, the street dance and of course the watermelon seed spitting contest, more on that later too. Let’s just say you’re in the company of a champion! Life in the summer time in the rural culture was easy going, playing with friends, being outdoors, taking swimming lessons at the city pool and playing in the rhythm band (an unofficial group of musical kids).

These were simple times. We didn’t have to worry about safety or violence. What a blessing to have grown up this way. Day 6 #Writing31days

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