Rural Girl, Pt. II

I know I’ve said some harsh things about rural life. I’ve expressed all the negative things about living in my small, rural community: xenophobia, sexism, and religious fanatics.

You want to know the good things? Why does anyone live out in the middle of nowhere?

The food is a big part. Until I moved to Minneapolis at eighteen, I had never tasted a bad tomato. I didn’t know they COULD taste mealy, and like the water that fills their cells came from someone’s bladder. I also didn’t really grasp that they were available any other time than summer. I also didn’t know that you could…BUY tomato sauce. I thought everyone made their own. My mom makes the best, I must say. I spit out spaghetti the first time I tasted it with sauce from the store. I honestly thought it was rotten.

I might have not tasted real rice, cilantro, burritos, or adobo before moving to the metro area, but I have to say my palate was pretty well developed. I can identify different types of heirloom tomatoes by taste. I have sampled some of the finest organic produce, even if it was smothered in ketchup and sitting on tater tots! Haha!

You see, all this crap about the “Slow Food” movement, and “eating seasonally”…they’re what my family has always done. I remember anxiously anticipating cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers. I remember monitoring the strawberry patch for telltale red spots, and later doing the same for the raspberry bush.

Before I became a city girl, I didn’t know turkey could taste like a salted piece of cardboard. My family hunts wild turkeys. The flavour is unbelievably different.

I didn’t know anyone who didn’t know what a weed looked like, who didn’t know at least the bare fundamentals of gardening. Now? I actually met someone the other day who thought raspberries grow on trees! Hahaha!

I remember being surprised at the disgusting taste of store-bought potatoes, cucumbers, and especially, lettuce. I had never really eaten those from the store, you see.

I’m salivating and longing for the sweet taste of Wisconsin gardens (yes, eventually we break through the ice to briefly grow plants OUTSIDE).

Another thing to love about rural living? People really, really help one another out. Someone gets cancer? Their family doesn’t have to suffer financial ruin, because the local VFW, churches, school, and Girl Scouts have sponsored tons of events (mostly spaghetti dinners, pork raffles, and sometimes, bingo games) to offset their tragedy. Someone’s house burns down? That’s front-page news! (For the next couple months, honestly) Donations come pouring in. What people can’t afford to give monetarily, they give in time spent helping build a new house, expert advice, and countless casseroles.

I love going to my hometown during the summer. Almost everyone has some sort of flower in their front yard, and some people really go all out. Also, my family is always giving me bags of produce!

I miss the sound of the night there.  In all honestly, I think it’s probably louder than the Twin Cities at night. Once when we were there, Sean couldn’t sleep: “The birds won’t shut up! All sorts of shit is just buzzing around out there!” It also helped that my elderly terrier doesn’t like sharing me with anyone, and tried to bite and/or hump him every time he moved. Though really, I don’t see how that’s any different that sharing a bed with me normally.

Most of all, though, I miss seeing the stars. Light pollution in the city makes it really hard to see any but the brightest. One of my greatest memories is sitting on top of my car in a cornfield with my friend Andres, looking at the stars.  Andres, who lives in Medellin, Colombia, got spooked by the thought of aliens coming down and no one knowing how we had disappeared, so we booked it out of there. I got spooked, too, but I’m naturally afraid of the dark, and I didn’t grow up in a city known for its high murder rate. I mean, he recently got carjacked, with a gun put to his head, but he’s afraid of corn rustling?

Tsk, tsk.


1 Response to “Rural Girl, Pt. II”

  1. 1 Mama Nabi August 27, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Produce and fruit in Mpls taste like crap in general. I never had such crappy fruit until I came here. Although, I’ve been going to farmer’s market and getting yummy strawberries for lunch. LOVE organic stuff.

    Yeah, I do miss the mountains… but I think I’m a city girl at heart. I, too, miss the stars. A LOT. But then I also miss the bright city lights and the noise/music of city night life. I am not so sure I like being in a city that’s not cosmopolitan at all yet isn’t that natural either. I do like MIA – that does kick some ass.

    I once toyed with the idea of becoming a farmer.

    Ha…haha…ha. Yeah, raspberries don’t grow on trees?

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