My Own Farmer and I had a date tonight. When you live on a farm, dates can be few and far between. There's always something that needs to be done. But, tonight we combined work with pleasure. I rode with him to make a delivery on the far side of the county.
Going for a ride is always special in a place where every road is a scenic drive. Today was no different. After several days of rain, the air was washed clean. The grass was greener, the sky was bluer, the clouds were whiter. The road curled its way through the valleys, each curve revealing a sweeter view than the next.
My Own farmer grew up in these mountains and one of my favorite parts of our rides is what I call his litany of farms. "There's the old Simmons' place. Oh look Richard got a new backhoe. He and his brother went in on it together. See that? Brendan is making good progress on the Pugh farm. It's a shame that it got broken into pieces to be sold, but he'll make the house look good as new. I see Mike got a new bull. He better build some more fence to keep him in..."
I learn a little something new each time we travel. Which farms have been in the family for six generations, which old houses might be haunted, which barns are original, where old line fences used to go, who recently had to get rid of their sheep flock because of coyotes.
After our ride, we go out to dinner. There are two restaurants to choose from, but the menus are basically the same. I know his order by heart...ham, mashed potatoes with gravy and coleslaw. I always get a hamburger, so I guess he knows mine, too.
The restaurant is hosting a rehearsal dinner in the back room and we can see the families celebrating. MOF points out people he hasn't seen since high school and a few stop by to talk on their way to the bathrooms. Two tables are occupied by tourists. We can tell they aren't from here because, well, we don't know them. But there are several tables full of friends and we pass the time waiting for supper talking about the play we're all going to see tonight.
The play is the annual children's theater put on by the county art's council. The kids have been working all day long for five days to learn lines, make costumes, and choreograph steps. This is the nineteenth year of this event and county grandparents often invite their grandchildren to come visit during this week so they can be a part of it all. The local kids are always happy to make friends with kids they haven't known all their lives.
Tonight's production is "Wonderland," a loose interpretation of Lewis Carroll's iconic work. The tiniest actors are the most fun to watch and their chicken choir, singing about eggs with Humpty Dumpty, steals the show. Lines are forgotten, costumes come loose, actors forget to come on stage. There's an intermission so all the primaries can visit the bathroom. It's a magical night.
I've gotten spoiled out here. There's no such thing as a private date. When we're out, the community is part of our evening. I don't think I could go back to living in a place where I don't know the faces and stories behind them.
Like the song says, I live in a place where:
everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came.
I'm always glad I came, too.