Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

I went to a family reunion last week.

It was strange seeing all my relatives who live in the country.

It was fun, but also hot and tiring, and it felt good to be back home again.

Travel, it seems, brings a new perspective on things.

I learned that I am a town mouse.

Oh, I love ducks and geese and flowers and big country kitchens and quiet afternoons strolling along the open prairie.

But country life is a lot of work.

And ironically, there is not much food on the prairie.

Also, there is a lot of hay fever.

Two hours upon arrival, my son began sneezing so badly that his face swelled like a balloon, then he broke out with a severe case of hives, and for a moment, we thought we were going to be making a trip to the emergency room. Thankfully, he is okay now.

My son is a city boy. If we had went to the ER, I could envision a conversation that would have went something like this:
Nurse: What is your son allergic to?
Me: The country.

Things had been a bit stressful lately, and as a family, we were looking forward to this trip.

But one weekend visiting relatives in the country ... eating meals of nothing but meat ... and bugs and chiggers and hay fever ... my two kids and I came running home so quickly it would make your head spin.

So much for the country life.

We barely lasted a weekend.

Tired, sunburnt and hungry, we hit Tulsa late Sunday afternoon and headed straight for Whole Foods where we ate like pigs and picked up enough produce and groceries to last a nuclear winter.

Warning: never go to Whole Foods after spending starving weekend with relatives in the country.

Even though our weekend in the country wasn't as spectacular as we had hoped, it did us good to get away.

Sometimes it's good to visit another persons world.

It allows us to reassess and learn more about ourselves and who we are.

This makes me think of a favorite book. When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to read The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse to me. And I always became giddy at the point when the town mouse took his friend "the city mouse" back home for an elaborate feast and then felt sorry for the lonely, impoverished existence of the country mouse.

Now I no longer feel sorry for the country mouse.

I have discovered that simple can be good.

But still, in the end, I always admire the city mouse.

Someday I will invite my brother from the country to my home in the city where we will share a great feast. And it will be a grand time. But something tells me ... that in the end, he will scurry back home to the country, while I remain happy and contented in the city.

To each their own.

So which are you? A Town Mouse or A Country Mouse?


Linda said...

This was so fun and enjoyable to read :) I too enjoyed that book as a child, and I've learned that I'm actually a bit of both. I always prided myself on being a "Chicago girl", when in actuality, many of my childhood homes were located in what were originally small towns, near Chicago. All of those towns have since mushroomed and are cities now as well.

I moved downstate Illinois (2 hours south of Chicago) smack dab in the middle of corn and soybean fields 14 years ago this summer. We sort of have the best of both worlds, with the very large University town within 1/2 an hour. But I kind of like our quiet country town now, to the point that when I go back to Chicago, I find it all too rushed and needlessly stressful. :)

Coffee Maker said...

Geese are a real killer in the yard, and ducks aren't much better. Too many these days - we need more hunters so we can cook more geese and share with some coffee we make with our single cup coffee maker.