Country mouse versus the city mouse

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2011

As mice go, I would consider myself a country mouse living in a city where you can enjoy the spoils of a metropolis lifestyle but in reality, you can’t take the country out of me.

Aesop’s Fables told the ageless story of a mouse visiting his relation in the country and is appalled at the simplicity of the poor country meal and surroundings. He invites the country bumpkin to come visit him in the city. The elite, snooty mouse wants to introduce the ‘fine’ life to the other mouse but instead, the interruption of their rich city food by predators whether it be cat or dogs, makes the country mouse prefer his safe country home rather than fancy meals.

Odo of Cheriton in the 13th century wrote, “I’d rather gnaw a bean than be gnawed by continual fear.”

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Life in the city doesn’t scare me; crime occurs everywhere these days and with the meth problem in the county, I think being isolated on a lonely country road could be just as frightening as driving down a bad part of town.

Crime has no boundaries these days. The only time my home has been broken into was when I was living on County Farm road, north of Long Beach, on a farm back in 1989.

In the mouse fable, notice how much food seemed to be a part of the story? As a country girl from South Mississippi, if you gave me a choice of the finest, most expensive meal that was served on a plate decorated with fancy swirls of sauce and piled high to look like a flower, I would trade it in a heartbeat for a large plate of home fried chicken, fresh garden peas, a hunk of cornbread and real mashed potatoes. You could throw in some homemade banana pudding too. It doesn’t have fancy presentation, but it is oh so good in my tummy.

When you live in the city your life is enhanced by convenience. I can jump up and run to Publix, Star Market, Kroger, Target, or Wal-Mart all within five minutes drive and pick up something to fix for supper. If I need a pharmacy, several are within five minutes drive. As for entertainment, I have a minor league baseball team, hockey, arena football for sports, several local theater as well as Broadway Theater within ten minutes which also includes a symphony, arena for concerts and trade venue for boat shows, craft or hunting shows.

There is always something going on and many free concerts downtown or at local hotspots. Just about anything to shop for is surrounding your home so that all you have to do is get up and drive, no waiting for a brown truck days later.

With all the convenience, I still dream of living in the country again. Especially when we come home for a visit and we stay in our cabin in the country on a tall Mississippi hill overlooking rolling hills of grass, cows, and bordered by tall pines and regal oaks, and on one side a blue, country size, lake which is always inviting a hook.

Sitting on the porch, with the simple pleasures of life make me feel like I am really at peace. I fit here.

I also fit in the city, but it’s just not as comfortable a fit.

I can see the sky in the city, oh it’s up there, but the faded stars are hard to pick out with all the light pollution. Noise is always an issue, a siren, a loud truck rumbling by the nearest busy parkway and even though I have green mountains all around me, they are dotted with houses peeping out of the sides.

I sit on my back deck in the city, and though I have enticed little animals with bird feeders and squirrel feeders, and the landscaping includes loads of greenery, trees, and a babbling brook ending my small yard’s territory, its hard to get the backdrop of neighboring houses out of my view.

All in all, I would trade the bright city lights and convenience for a field of flowers by day and a blanket of stars by night. I would trade the traffic noise for a cricket chorus. I would trade the fast pace for slow pace any day.

Security and food are interchangeable. I can cook country food in the city and I can still feel threatened in the county lanes. Sometimes you make living choices for a time, but when the tour of duty is up, the country will call my name and I will answer with a U-haul.

As I have made the choice to temporarily live in a city, I have to get my fix on the weekends. I have to hike and canoe to get a dose of the outdoors.

They say home is where the heart is, and although I sometimes I feel like I am in a foreign land, this life in a city, I also feel that its not so much the location you find yourself in, but that you feel your country roots wherever you are.

You can’t take the country out of a country girl, unless you really never were country to start with.