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Community In The Country

August 2, 2012

An excerpt from “Getting By: Lessons From a Rural Past

““Back in the nineteen thirties good neighbors were a large part of everyone’s lifestyle.  It was like an extended family.  Everyone visited with each other, and when they needed a helping hand it was there. Older folks were checked on each day and their needs were taken care of. I remember one night back in nineteen thirty eight, we were gathered around the radio and a very frightening flood of information come pouring out, and scared us half to death.  It was Orson Wells War of the Worlds, but everyone thought it was real. Space ships had invited the United States and were killing a lot of people. Now armed with this very important information I acted very quickly. I knew our next door neighbor didn’t have a radio so she didn’t know what was going on. She was a little round Swedish lady that made great rolls smothered in real butter. I had to protect her at any cost. I beat of her door till she came and I unloaded all that I heard, I nearly scared her to death. She told me she would be fine as she was going to the basement. I promised her as soon as there was more information I would return. About a half an hour later I did go back and tell her that it was just a story, she was very relieved and my snacks continued. “

“In those days there was a very strong sense of family, and there was get to gathers at least once every couple of weeks. This get together was at my uncle Bill’s in the country or at a park in my hometown. Everyone in the whole area came and it was fun. Some times it was a fish fry, or a hamburger fry, and on occasion there were a lot of chickens that met an untimely death. This was a lot of hard work, but there were many willing hands to make it happen. The most constant thing at each outing was the horse tank. It was about six-foot long and was filled with ice, then a large assortment of pop and beer was hid in its icy depths, and sometimes even a watermelon or two. I never saw anyone get drunk but there was a few of us kids that drank way too much pop.

There was baseball, two legged sack races, horseshoe pitching, and a lot of conversation. All the women caught up on the latest gossip and the men talked politics and when there wasn’t a kid in earshot they talked about women. Everyone caught up with all the action that was going on. There were pictures taken and a lot of teasing. At the end of the day when the good-bye’s was said there was a very warm sense of contentment and happiness. “ ~ Lee Hoadley

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a definition of community to mean:

1: a unified body of individuals: as a: state, commonwealth b: the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community> c: an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location d: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons> e: a group linked by a common policy f: a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community> g: a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community> 2: society at large

Many do not think of society as a whole as a community, although that is within the definition. We think of community as a group of people with similar interests or in a similar area. Sometimes both! Certainly most think of a community in Boston or New York City in a much different light than they do a community in Savannah Tennessee or Calhan Colorado. A community is often depicted as the description from many years ago – a description that in some areas isn’t too different today. Today, however, such gatherings are perhaps once per year for an annual festival rather than twice a month. We’re “too busy” and often there are other things to do or people we don’t want to see so avoid.”

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