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Another Day in the Country

The week that was

© Another Day in the Country

Well, “That was the week that was!” Marion was in the worldwide news.

My cousin called from Colorado and said, “What on earth is going on?”

A friend called from Sun Valley, Idaho, and said, “Is this you? Is this your Marion County Record?”

“Yes,” I said. Funny how proprietary we can be in the most general terms. “It’s my newspaper.”

“Are you OK?” was the next question — another family member, this one calling from Kansas City.

I smiled to myself. Interesting how a few facts, some fear, a dash of peevishness, some loose interpretation of words and what they stand for can so easily become skewed into something dangerous.

There’s a reflex we all need to learn when we hear something. We need to step back, pause, say “Woah, there Nellie,” like my grandpa used to say to the plow horse, heading for the barn.

Let’s check this out. That’s the next task at hand, before we pass notions and ideas along as if we were playing the telephone game — each one whispering to the next.

As a game, it gets funny towards the end, when we realize that what was first said has now become something completely different. In this “social media” age, our conjecture, our fear, our anger, ignoring the rules, becomes toxic like a wildfire spreading every direction across the globe. We’ve got to be so careful about what we say — all of us!

Sometimes, I have to be reminded of this, and this was a good reminder. There is some leeway on this page of the paper, where my column appears. It’s the Opinion page, and those of us who appear here are granted the privilege of editorializing — giving our opinion, talking about something that we deem important.

We want you to think about it, discuss it with your own circle of family and friends, investigate it, check out the facts for yourself, and then make a decision about what you believe.

You’ve heard me damning ducks and then extolling their virtues. This is trivial pursuit. It’s nostalgia. I usually talk about the fun stuff, once in a while hinting at the more important things.

Believe me, there’s quite a lot of opinions that I hold that I don’t talk about. My stories are just a part of the story. Not everyone should have ducks in their yard just because I’m enjoying mine — at the moment. Cold weather hasn’t set in yet. We’ll see what the winter brings so far as care and keeping of ducks is concerned.

My grandson, while he was here, warned me that he thought Dandy was a drake.

“The telltale drake feather is appearing,” he said one day after observing the ducks on the pond.

Sure enough, he’s right. With all of our D-named ducks — Daffy, Daisy, Duke, Duchess, and Dandy — we contemplated changing Duke to Drake (since we thought he was the only male), but now with the emergence of another fancy feather, Dandy is Drake. He’s the late bloomer, the new-kid-on-the-block, the surprise, the big reveal.

Smile with me as you read and shake your head, but do read this whole page carefully, because there are much more important things than poultry that appear on the editorial page of the newspaper. Reading is important. Newspapers are important. Editors are important. Democracy is important, as is freedom of the press.

Speaking of reading, my friend Colton (alias Jesus 2.0), who is walking (and reading) his way across America, is now in Colorado Springs. I’m glad he’s no longer in Kansas, enduring our heat wave.

I feel as if I’m living in Arizona. While the annuals gasp as the thermometer climbs, the trees stand steadfast. Have you paused recently to give thanks for the trees?

If you live in the country, there were smart farmers in generations past who planted trees as well as wheat. They knew the importance of a shelter belt, with its variety of trees giving respite from the winds that sweep across the prairie.

I’ve been giving thanks for the trees that pioneers planted in Ramona well over a hundred years ago. We are a shady town thanks to them, a cooler town. Twenty years ago, we, too, planted trees on this bare acre at the corner of 5th and D Sts., and I am grateful for them when every scrap of shade is precious and the thermometer goes above 100. We all should be planting trees.

I’ve tried to give some shade to the tomatoes in their cages by covering them with old sheets again. A couple of the hybrids have called it quits.

“Enough is enough,” they’ve gasped, between the grasshopper scourge and the heat.

But the stalwarts persevere. That’s what we are, after all — we country dwellers. We are stalwarts — earning the right, paying our dues for the privilege of living another day in the country!

Last modified Aug. 23, 2023

 

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