Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It was farmers that made America

These are some "scenes" of country life when we spent Easter up north in the countryside. The outside dog and the cabbages. Both my husband and I identify more with the country mouse than the town mouse. We live in an apartment, but dream about having a yard someday. Moving out into the country is incompatible with his job, at least in Portugal, but a yard we hope to do one day.

One of our favorite things about visiting his family in this tiny village is seeing how different the kids are there from the majority of spoiled, overprotected, babyish city kids we know here. They are sweeter, more respectful. They are funnier and know how to play without toys. They are super autonomous and move cows from one field to another by themselves. We love seeing how responsible they are with our daughter. Even when she was a baby, my husband's uncle called the kids at his house and they all came running to entertain the baby so we could relax. There is more community.

I love country music and I think most of the lyrics reflect this country "spirit". I also loved reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy because of the country v. town theme. Especially this quote:

That night when they were going to the house with milk, Almanzo asked his Father:
"Father, how was it axes and plows that made this country? Didn't we fight England for it?"
"We fought for Independence, son," Father said. "But all the land our forefathers had was a little strip of country, here between the mountains and the ocean. All the way from here west was Indian country, and Spanish and French and English country. It was farmers that took all that country and made it America."
"How?" Almanzo asked.
"Well, son, the Spaniards were soldiers, and high-and-mighty gentlemen that only wanted gold. And the French were fur-traders, wanting to make quick money. And England was busy fighting wars. But we were farmers, son; we wanted the land. It was farmers that went over the mountains, and cleared the land, and settled it, and farmed it, and hung on to their farms.
"This country goes three thousand miles west, now. It goes 'way out beong Kansas, and beyond the Great American Desert, over mountains bigger than these mountains, and down to the Pacific Ocean. It's the biggest country in the world, and it was farmers who took all that country and made it America, son. Don't you ever Forget that."
- From Farmer Boy, "Independence Day" chapter

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