Country Living

Walking down the sloped driveway, newspaper in hand, I strain to see the house, which is shrouded in fog. As I pass the truck parked in the drive, the mist has frosted the glass and offers the illusion of being covered in ice. The quiet is broken by a single crow, announcing his presence as he pierces the fog near the chimney and flies to my left, on the way to the rest of his day. The cat greets me near the front door and escorts me inside.

It is a typical Saturday in the country. I sip my Folgers, which was poured from the spout of a 1960 Universal Coffeematic percolator, and begin to read my paper.

Nature begins to stir, and her sounds make their way through the screen door on the back patio and through an open window in the front of the house. It has a stereo-like effect, and it is comforting.

Completing the newspaper crossword puzzles, I rise from my chair and put on my shop clothes.

Long ago, my wife tactfully implemented a rule about which clothes can be worn in the shop. No nice shirts or pants are allowed, not even if my intention is to only a make a quick trip and come back. It seems that I’m easily distracted and somehow will start a project while I’m there, which can cause nice clothes to become shop clothes.

The birds speak to me as I make the short trek down the hill from the house to the shop. They tell me of their happiness to be here. A mockingbird flits from an oak to a pine and back again.

I insert the key in the shop’s padlock, and the loud click breaks nature’s monopoly of the morning sounds.

I flip on the shop light, turn on the classic country station, and sip my percolator coffee as I begin to assess the projects that made my mental list during the week. The steering replacement parts for one of the lawnmowers have arrived, but I decide to table that project in favor of savoring a few more minutes of what’s left of the morning.

The sun begins to burn off the fog. As the veil slowly begins to lift, the beauty that surrounds me emerges. The windmill in the neighbor’s pasture slowly turns with the light breeze. The dew glistens on the top of the coastal grass in our pasture. Soon, the coastal will be cut, bailed and rolled, and will become winter meals for someone’s cattle and horses.

I finish my coffee and climb into my truck. I decide that a haircut is in order. As I arrive at my barber’s shop, which is located on the lake, I see fishermen unloading their boats and preparing for the day’s catch. I smile and go inside.

My barber has been my friend for almost 40 years. As she trims my graying hair, she talks about her grandchildren and I talk about mine.

I head back home and back down to the shop. As I pull my truck in front of the open doors, my neighbor arrives on his ATV and discusses his list of projects for the day. We agree to help each other, just as we have most weekends for the past 13 years.

Before the day is over, I will weld, grind on metal, paint, do an oil change, and drink a few beers with my neighbor.

For some, all of this would seem monotonous, boring, or too much like work. For me, it is a gift.

Growing up in a small town in Arkansas, it felt like living in the country, but it was city living. If you can buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk within two minutes of leaving your house, you’re living in the city.

After a week of long hours, meetings and deadlines, a whole lot of not much is just what I need.

And every Saturday like this one is a gift from the good Lord above.

©2016 John Moore
For more of John’s musings, visit

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