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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: New Folks In Town

© Another Day in the Country

We were excited last week because someone called us saying they’d been told about houses for sale in Ramona.

“Could we come see?” they wanted to know.

“We’ll leave them open for you Friday morning,” we told them. “We’ll be gone teaching art at Centre, but you just go on in and look around.”

We’d already been busy in our various yards doing spring planting, mowing, cleanup and pruning. Now this added energy to our weary souls.

“Someone was coming!”

Wouldn’t it be exciting if they were charmed by our little town, enjoyed the houses, could see themselves living here? What a boost this would give the neighborhood to have good people move in, people who fixed up, repaired, planted flowers and trees, painted, and improved.

“Everything has to look good,” my sister said, eyeing the front porch, which we’d already planned on painting.

“Make sure you edge carefully,” she said, worrying about how quickly I moved.

I love this porch. We replaced the whole surface a couple of years ago with cedar boards cut from trees we’d had to remove in this very yard.

I’d hired a man to come from Solomon and mill the boards. We’d stacked and dried them, and then our friend Jim came and re-layed the porch — thick boards, neatly planed, sturdy wood, our own lumber. How satisfying.

“In a couple years you can paint it,” he said.

And here we were, painting.

That job done, Jess looked around.

“I’ve still got paint left,” she said.

Next house, another porch done.

“There’s still some paint,” she said under her breath as she moved to the back porch.

Meanwhile, I was mowing.

That was a long day — a very long day — and I was tired. Everything in our yards looked lovely. We were pleased.

Our real estate agent brings people through Ramona to look at houses. Often, we don’t know when someone is coming, so we try to keep things looking tidy. But this time we knew that folks would be coming through town, so we tried looking at the town through stranger’s eyes.

“We’ve got to be optimistic,” we said to each other.

Maybe we should warn the neighbors, ask for their help. We wondered, realistically, how many folks cared whether someone moved in or not. We’ve cared for Ramona, in one way or another, most of our lives. This town matters. It’s part of our history, our family, and we don’t understand apathy or poverty that scatters trash, and doesn’t care.

“Did you do all the ditches on Main St. when you mowed?” my taskmaster asked.

“I draw the line at ditches,” I answered. “The city mows the ditches.”

Not quickly enough, however; these ditches must be mowed. People are coming to look at our town. They need a new home, a place to be safe, a spot to find friends, somewhere to belong. Is it here?

We hope! We won’t give up.

They came. We haven’t heard.

“Be reasonable,” I say. “This may not be their best option.”

But still we hope and pray for brave souls who want to make a difference.

How many little towns in Marion County are singing this same song? Three cheers for all of us who still sing, who haven’t given up. The old-timers are gone from Ramona, by in large. We are now the old-timers even though we still sometimes feel like newcomers. We’re those girls from California, who’ve had a home here for 25 years. We new old-timers want what every old-timer wanted from the good old days: We want to be safe. We want to be peaceful. We want community. We love getting May baskets on May 1, taking salad to a memorial, knowing people in passing, growing the garden, gathering eggs.

May the day never come in Ramona that a day in the country is not possible.

Last modified June 4, 2015

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