samedi, janvier 30, 2010

This country life

I live in the country -- but I'm not "of" the country.

And as many years as I spend learning the ways of the folks who have spent most of their lives out here where Chester County smoothly merges into Lancaster, I probably will never be able, or willing to pass for someone who was born here.
I realized that once more today, as I officiated at a funeral for a man whose family had a grant from William Penn to farm on area land -- oh, say about ten generations ago.
Now, not everyone around here grew up on land their ancestors were granted by the United States most famous Quaker. Some grew up on farms, but many had ancestors who worked on the railroads, or ran small businesses, worked in hospitals, taught in local schools.
And some, like me, came out because they started to despise the cloned suburban developments in which each house is the twin of the one across the street.
"This is a country congregation" said someone to me as we chatted in the lower level of the 19th-century church after the service.
In comparison with the large, executive-driven congregation in which I'd been an associate, they do seem to take their time with decisions.
Otherwise, I'm still finding out what "country" means, used as a modifier.
I know one of the lay leaders doesn't do email.
But she does own a cell phone -- and she does answer it.
That's progress.
And if the churchfolk care to define "progress" a little differently than those on the Main Line, I'm fine with that.
Come and visit.
Turn left past Farmer Messner's, right at the tree farm, over the bridge (but watch out, only one car at a time), left at the old mill, drive parallel to the stream, right at the stop sign...and step back in time.
Just a few steps.
You may find it's not a bad place to recoup, take a few deep breaths.
Until the cell phone rings.
Don't worry, you are not the only one.
I haven't turned mine off, either.

5 commentaires:

singedwingangel a dit…

I also live in teh country and LOVE it. Small churches where everyone knows everyone. Even my "mega" church by my small town standards KNOWS each and every person.

norman pease a dit…

Ah the country life....carrying forward the values and traditions this country was founded on. Though it's inhabitents may seem backward, I do at times wonder if things in urban sprawl are really better.

Offcenter a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
Offcenter a dit…

I hope that it doesn't sound like I think my parishioners are backward at all. We'll comfort and challenge one another and that's as it ought to be.

dadshouse a dit…

You fascinate me. As soon as I read the line about you officiating at a funeral, I realized I had never heard someone say that before.