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Another Day in the Country

© Another Day in the Country

Do you ever notice what firm notions we have about things? As I grow older, I’m sometimes startled that there are things I know for sure and a younger generation seems completely oblivious. I know it, I believe it, proven it for myself and am slightly startled if someone doesn’t have that notion, too.

I can remember 20 years ago, at a city meeting here in Ramona where some of the citizens were attempting to get move-ins to clean up their mess on main street, of all things, in town and everyone was slightly unwilling to take the bull by the horns and speak to the mess makers, insisting that action be taken. My friend Darlene said, “They should know better!” speaking of the trash-mongers.

Cleaning up after yourself — even improving your surroundings — was one of those things hard-working, God-fearing, German families were instilled with, surely! Didn’t everyone have firm notions about cleanliness being next to godliness? Hadn’t we all grown up with the admonishment of the Golden Rule?

Not! Sadly, I’ve come to realize that my firm notions don’t even cross some folks’ minds.

Sitting on my porch this morning, nursing my cup of tea, I watched the sprinkler at my sisters house slowly waving back and forth across her front lawn. The sun was reflected through the trembling spray — a pretty sight.

“Why is she using that sprinkler?” I wondered to myself. The water spray it emits is tremulous, tentative, fragile. I laughed to myself, realizing that I have firm notions about what kinds of sprayers work best on the end of hoses in Kansas. I’ve tried them all and come to believe, given the water pressure, that those little flat, inexpensive sprayers with tiny holes in the top work best. I’ve stockpiled them. In all the yards I care for in Ramona, you can find several.

“Who cares?” I mumbled to myself. “the wind isn’t blowing at the moment.” I sat there wondering what other minutia is included in my bank of firm notions. After all these years, I’m sure there are plenty.

TTT had a firm notion about dinner time, for instance. “You’re always eating at odd times,” he’d say, “depending on when you get up and what you’re doing.” It drove him crazy. Dinner was at twelve o’clock, every day of the week, every season of the year. It was something you could depend upon.

I have a firm notion about mashed potatoes. No self respecting cook makes them with lumps, neglects to add butter before milk, or adds strange ingredients like garlic, greens or turnips. Mashed potatoes are comfort food. They should be lovingly whipped into high peaks of tenderness and melt in your mouth, ideally, with gravy.

Rummaging around in my notions drawer, I find one about how sheets hang on the line and even one about how important line-drying actually is for a sheet since there is a strong attending notion about the cotton content of sheets, also (and the kind of cotton).

The notions I’m mentioning are trivia — most of my notions are much more important, vital.

I have a notion about the benefits of garlic, the importance of fresh air, the horrific affects of pesticides, the preciousness of water. I discovered a notion about reciprocity and privacy, several about chain-of-command and being a woman. There are notions about politicians, government, poverty and wealth, and a whole drawer full of notions and prejudices regarding ignorance!

At the back of the drawer were notions about city-dwellers and even what you sacrifice or gain deciding to spend another day in the country.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2011

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