Confessions of a City Girl who Moved to the Country: Why Rural Folk Stash Things, Wear Camo Pants and Wear the Same Clothes Three Days in a Row

Funny misconceptions often occur when urbanites elect to spend time on vacation in the country (perhaps visiting family) and when folks from cities move to country homes but are not familiar with country ways. Moving to a rural setting doesn’t suddenly make you of a rural mindset. Living as a child in the country but most or all of your adult life in the city, then moving back to the country as you approach retirement age does not make you of a rural mindset. Most of the country ways you may have absorbed as a child have probably been replaced with the city ways that made you successful in your chosen career in the city or made you able to survive in an urban setting. They will backfire on you in the country.

Patience, Doing it Yourself, or Going Without Vs. Expedience and Getting it Now:

A married couple from the Jacksonville, Florida area one year visited us for Thanksgiving. They were urbanites. He really liked his beer. One evening after supper, he ordered his wife to “run to the corner and get him a six pack.” She shook her head. He said, “What?” She looked at us helplessly. We had to explain to him that the nearest place to get a beer was thirty miles one way (this was before Dublin carried it…now the nearest beer is 12 miles away, one way). To an urbanite, 30 miles, or even 12 miles is an eternity. To us, it’s “just down the road” and “won’t take a minute”.

But, that’s one reason country folk stash thangs. There is no convenience store on the corner. I’m my own store. I go to my storage closet and get stuff. I’m not going to drive 30 miles, or even 12 for any amount of items on the spur of the moment, unless it’s an emergency.

This same fellow wanted to eat out on Thanksgiving Day. He insisted on it. OOOKKaayyy. Where? We found one restaurant open Thanksgiving Day in Stephenville in 2007. Funny. It just wasn’t at all what he expected.

The night before they left, the weather dipped down really cold. A neighbor who didn’t know who our company was pulled up to our house in his pickup truck. We went outside to greet him, even though the temperatures were in the teens. The man got out of his truck and was covered in blood. In the city, people might panic at such a sight. Not in the country. This time of year, that means one thing: he got a deer. And, he wouldn’t be pulling up into our driveway if it wasn’t a good one. Grinning, we invited our guests to come outside with us. We knew what was going to happen next, but we couldn’t resist. Our neighbor, being neighborly, stuck out his huge paw, covered in blood, of course, and gripped our guest’s hand. “Good to meet ya!” he bellowed. “Hey, John, check out this buck. Its got ten points!” We walked around to the bed and looked. Sure enough, it was a big one. With ten points. What a beauty. The weather was super cold, and it was late. John asked if the neighbor was going to work up the deer that night (it was already field dressed). “Naw, I’m just going to hang him. It’s cold enough.”

“That’s what I’d do,” John said. “It’ll keep.” The guest turned his back and tried to hide the gag that came to his mouth. “I gotta go back inside,” he said. “It’s too cold out here.” We nodded and said, “Yeah, it’s pretty cold. We’ll be in in a minute.” (Explanation: why would you hang something that is already dead? To an urbanite, this is strange talk. It means that the carcass will be hung from a tree or a rack to be processed, but not processed yet. Because the weather was so cold, the processing could wait until the next day. The great outdoors would provide the necessary refrigeration. Field dressed means that the guts—organs, such as heart, liver, lungs, intestines, bladder, etc. have been removed from the deer because they can ruin the meat if left in once the deer is dead—the head, hide, and rest of the deer are left intact for later processing.)

Attire:

Another funny misconception between urban and rural is attire. To rural folk, prudence and thriftiness is high on the priority list, resulting in rather strange fashion phenomena. One doesn’t change clothes every day or more than once a day like urbanites do, unless a special event is going on, such as a church service, a funeral, or a wedding. And, one doesn’t buy an $80 pair of pants or a $60 shirt just because it’s fashionable. That’s considered stupid. What one does do, is to have several standby pair of pants and shirts that are durable, and, if they were picked up at a thrift store, so much the better. Wearing the same pair of pants for 3-5 days is good. Wearing a shirt for 2-3 days is also good. Socks and underwear get changed every day (most of the time).

Camo pants in rural areas are like blue jeans: they go with everything. Camo is accepted with various patterns or solids. Camo can go with plaid, stripes, even flowers. The fact that Camo pants are mostly green with blacks and browns thrown in doesn’t matter. In fact, the color doesn’t matter at all; that’s not why rural folk wear Camo. Have you ever worn a pair of Camo pants? They are marvelous for several reasons. Because the military designed them, they are built for movement: there is not that tightness that comes with blue jeans that grab you in the crotch when you bend or twist. Camo pants move with you. They are designed to do that. Rural people do a lot of moving—loading stuff, picking up stuff, etc. It’s part of the rural lifestyle. No sitting at desks crunching numbers or writing reports or clicking from one computer screen to the next or attending one meeting after another in climate controlled conditions. Rural folk are mostly outdoors, sweating as they are driving tractors, using hand implements, like shovels, hoes, rakes, etc. moving livestock, carrying pails and buckets, that kind of thing. And, when one chooses attire for the day, a pair of pants that moves with you is always the best choice. Camo pants also have lots of pockets. No need to wear extra gear or carry a sack. Stuff whatever you need down in those pockets and go. Camo pants are cheap and readily available. Remember, rural folk are prudent and thrifty. Camo pants can be had for under $10/pair and are everywhere at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, etc. Some of these types of “cargo” pants can be had in colors other than camo, such as denim, khaki, or black, but they are usually a lot more expensive…so, there you go…back to the cheap, readily available ones…that’s right…Camo.

Now, urban folks see someone in Camo, and immediately there derelict minds jump to something that frightens them: a militia. This guy must be in a militia. He is wearing Camo. After all, that’s what Newsweek has said about folks who wear Camo. And, just like the neighbor who jumped out of the truck covered in blood, frightening the urbanite who jumped to wild conclusions, they are very likely to once again be totally out of touch with their surroundings. You’re in the country. Camo means the guy likes his pants not to grab in places they shouldn’t. And, it’s not a Southern thing. Rural folks in every part of the country, north to south, and east to west, can be seen in Camo. It just makes sense. They are the best pants for the job.

We experienced something rather funny about eight years ago. A family of Houstonites recently moved to our neck of the woods. A neighbor who lived up the way lost one of his Holstein bulls. If you know cattle, you know that a Holstein bull is one of the meanest there are. Unpredictable and not nice. This bull showed up in our pasture. Uh, oh, you got it…while we were digging prickly pear out of the pasture by hand…and, you guessed it…we were wearing Camo.

We wanted to get the bull back to the neighbors who lived only a mile up the road. In the country, there is no need to get out the truck and trailer in a big show of things or get the horses saddled when you have only one wayward Bovine who only needs to go a mile or less up the road. You drive him on foot. This bull was young, and we didn’t want to hurt him, but neither did we want to be hurt by him. We thought a pellet gun would do the trick. Using the pellet gun and lots of shouting, we drove him out the gate and into the bar ditch along the highway. We walked him the short distance (about a mile) to the neighbor’s pasture and put him in. The neighbor saw us approaching and understood exactly what we were doing. The Houstonites did not. They thought we were trying to kill the bull. After all, we were in Camo waving a gun. (Urbanites typically cannot tell a pellet or B.B. gun from one that shoots bullets—to them, a gun is a gun.) And Camo, means…well, you know what that means.

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4 thoughts on “Confessions of a City Girl who Moved to the Country: Why Rural Folk Stash Things, Wear Camo Pants and Wear the Same Clothes Three Days in a Row

    1. Noticed you are in Texas. I was a DFW Metroplex girl, born and raised in Lewisville, Flowermound and Carrollton, then married outside my species–my husband was born and raised in rural central Texas, peanut and dairy farmers. We still live on the same property that he grew up on. Twelve years married and still loving every minute.

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      1. I don’t know why I got the notification so late, that’s crazy. So sorry. Yes, I am in DFW. My grandparents were West Texas cattle & cotton farmers, but Dad wanted nothing of it, so I was raised a city girl! Ha. Glad to hear your still happy, I’m thinking country boys are the way to go! 😉

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  1. So funny about your dad. Mine was an east/central Texas farm boy too who wanted nothing about it. He did the same…moved us all to the city. We didn’t even know our country cousins until we were adults. My dad disassociated from the whole family. I always wondered why I never felt comfortable or at home in the city. One day, when I was in my late twenties, I had the urge to go visit one of my dad’s aunts (my great aunt) who was in her late 80s. For my birthday, my husband surprised me with a visit to this aunt’s place. We spent the night at her place and met several cousins who also lived in the area. I fell in love with it…then I realized why I never valued city living…I am a country girl at heart! So glad I discovered my roots! I’ve never been so happy as I am now.

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