1. Slow down when the chickens cross the road. It’s true, chickens really do cross the road. It happened on the way home from soccer practice the other night. I slowed down for a Barred Rock, a Silkie and a Rhode Island Red. Their destination? You guessed it.
2. Pull over and help the driver stranded on the side of the back country road. You could be the only one she sees for the next who knows how long. She could be a young girl from the city who doesn’t know what to do about the fact that the steel I-beam secured haphazardly to her truck rack is waving back and forth, ready to slide off into the front seat of the car behind her. Right here is a 2 for 1 feel good situation: You might be the only one that offers to help strap it on and you can pat yourself on the back for preventing the guy behind her on the highway from being decapitated. (True story. This happened. Not the decapitation part but the pulling over and strapping and preventing).
3. Tip your hat. If you don’t have a hat, do a discreet little miniature “yes” nod. You don’t have to smile necessarily but just tip your head the slightest bit. Of course, when combined with a smile and #11, it really sets the standard for a well mannered country person. You can do this to people you pass on the sidewalk, people you pass in your car, people you walk past in the grocery store parking lot. It probably won’t work well with your spouse though so you better stick to a full on smile, kiss and hug. But if you went around smiling and kissing and hugging everyone in the country that would be weird. So for strangers, stick to tipping your hat.
4. Master the Steering Wheel Wave. While driving, when you pass an oncoming car on a country road, lift two, three or four fingers (but not your thumb) off the steering wheel a couple of seconds before passing. This is a “how ya doin’?” wave. You won’t know the person you are saluting. If you DO know the person, then release your thumb as well and do a full wave with a smile.
5. Look out for your neighbors. Some people might consider this being nosey. But I say phooey. Is it better to ignore the hose overflowing the horse trough all day long while your neighbor’s at work or let her know it looks like someone forgot to turn the water off? To seal the deal as a country neighbor, just offer to go over and close the spigot.
6. Grow a handlebar mustache. I can’t advise on this one, but it is a common facial hair status of the men in my neck of the woods. Although as I age, I am beginning to grow more facial hair myself, thankfully it is in no quantity to become a handlebar mustache or any other type of mustache. Actually, it’s more beard quality. Car tweezers come in handy for this situation. Hint: If you are suffering from the affliction of growing a handlebar mustache or unintentional beard but are of the gender that typically does not shave their face, I would stick some tweezers in your car. Car tweezers come in really handy at stoplights or in parking spaces because you usually feel the stubble while you’re driving, exactly when you can’t do anything about it. Unless you have car tweezers.
7. Eat the fruit that grows on your tree. Or have someone else eat it but definitely don’t complain that it’s such a nuisance because it messes up your yard. Whoever planted that tree years ago is probably long since gone but had dreams of savoring those plums you just raked up and threw in the trash. Honor them by at least posting “free plums for the picking” here.
8. Set a good mouse trap. Make sure it grabs the mouse. Not your fingers when you set it or your toes when you forget it’s there. In case you don’t know how, stay tuned for a future instructional course. I know, the suspense is killing you.
9. Say things like yonder, plum and hankerin’. “See that car over yonder?” or “I’m just plum wore out!” or “I got a hankerin’ for some chocolate.” (Maybe save these phrases until you’re in the 80 and older category. They make you endearing to the younger 40-somethings.)
10. Go to the feed store for dog food and come home with baby poultry. Most likely it’s chicks, but it could also be ducklings. Rarely it’s turkeys, but that can happen too. The feed store is a dangerous place to go if you don’t have a strong resistance to impulse buying. Warning: Baby chick impulse buying has longer side effects and requires significantly more work than impulse buying a candy bar. Unless, of course, you daily impulse buy a candy bar, in which case your side effects may be quite lingering and you ought to refer to my ironing tips.
11. Make eye contact. When you pass someone on the sidewalk, in the store, at the Friday night football game, look ‘em in the eye. According to my observations, per capita, spontaneous eye contact happens more frequently in the country than in the city. Note: This is usually seen in combination with #3.
And with all that said, now I have a hankerin’ for some of that coffee over yonder ’cause I’m plum wore out. (I know, it sounds sort of dorky since I’m only 43, but I’m just practicing my lingo for when I’m 80+).
P.S. Thanks to Heather for inspiring #10 and Emily for suggesting #11. You are two prime examples of good country girls.
P.P.S. Did you enjoy this? If so, comment below or on facebook…your positive feedback keeps me going!