Jackie has never lived anywhere other than in Western Kentucky. He was born and raised in Union County and then when he bought the farm we now live on, he made the move one county over and relocated to Marion, Kentucky. Jackie never had any desire to leave the area in which he was born. He loved it here and always knew he would stay here, go to work in the coal mines and one day buy a little farm of his own. And that is exactly what he did.
I on the other hand was the complete opposite of Jackie. Even as a little girl I always dreamed of living in the country on a farm. Growing a garden, cooking, hanging out laundry, sitting on the porch in the evening and lots of animals. I wanted it all. Even when it seemed I was to young to have any concept of such things, I always knew I would one day move away from Misssouri in pursuit of the life I longed to live. The life I felt I was meant to live.
When Jackie met and married me he his travels had been very few and far between and while he had traveled thru St. Louis he had never visited there before. So to say his first trip with me to mother's in the big city was overwhelming would be more than a bit of an understatement. In all fairness after living away for so long each time I return to the city I receive quite a shocking jolt to the system. Life is just so terribly different in the city; for starters everything is so close. The moment we pull into the driveway at mom's it feels as if the walls are closing in. There are people all over the place. Stores, cars and traffic every where you turn. And the noise! We hear more emergency vehicle sirens in one night than we hear an entire year at home.
On the other hand, Jackie and I do realize that many people flee country life in pursuit of a considerably more exciting life in a city. Most people I talk to cannot comprehend why anyone would want to live in a place where the nearest Walmart is an hour away and dry counties still exist. FYI for my younger readers a dry county is a place where liquor sales are prohibited, and for my older readers, yes they still exist. However with that said, there are still a lot of people out there who look at the life we live and think to live such a life would be nothing short of a dream come true.
Sadly however, opportunities for young couples and families to pursue and enjoy rural life in the country have become very few and far between with the prohibitive factors all being economic in nature. Big box stores have ravished independent, locally owned business in small town America and the decline and closing of manufacturing and blue collar industries which typically found their homes in rural areas have depleted employment sources. Additionally big farmers and the commercial hunting industries have driven acreage prices to all time highs and small farms such as ours with anywhere between five and forty acres are very hard to come by. So even if a family decided that a long commute to work was worth the opportunity to raise their family in the country, in most cases they still would not be able to make their dream a reality.
There are so many wonderful things to say about living in the country. But at the end of the day, this lifestyle is a matter of heart and soul. It is a longing and a desire that simply cannot be filled living any other way. It is a simpler life that is good not only for adults but it offers immeasurable benefits and life lessons for children that cannot be emulated anywhere else. Our country was founded by this way of life and the desire to own a small piece of the earth God gave humankind to care for and nurture is as alive today as it was in the infancy of our country. I believe this dream, this desire will never die out or fade away. There will always be people who find themselves keepers of family farms who when time to sell will always choose to keep the dream of the family farm alive as opposed to selling out to the highest bidder.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.