The charge of Rural America
It's the kind of place where neighbors help neighbors. Where farmers show up with a fleet of combines and trucks to help a friend in need finish their harvest. And the farmers' wives show up with enough food to feed everyone for a week. Heck, it's the kind of place where neighbors help people they've never met before. The "load up a truck full of hay from my pasture and drive it half way across the country to help a rancher who lost everything in a fire" kind of help.
It's the kind of dirt road destination where those same neighbors might fight like siblings over who gets the last of the hotdish at the church potluck, and protect each other like family when outside forces threaten their way of life.
It's the kind of community that raises double the $5,500 needed to send the high school pep band to a state tournament with the boys basketball team. And they do it overnight.
It's the kind of town where everyone knows your name. Your full name. And if they use your middle name, it carries the same weight as when your Mama uses it — because they know your Mama's name, too. And your Dad's. And your grandparents, aunts, uncles and distant cousins as well.
Where is this place? It's easy to find, and not hard to get to. It's in every state across the country.
It's Rural America. Small Town U.S.A.
It doesn't matter where it is on the map. Whether it's the Heartland, the fly-over states or just outside the biggest cities across the nation.
It's where you leave your doors unlocked in case the neighbor needs to borrow something while you're gone.
It's where our kids are still the most valuable commodity — the most prized export and most coveted import.
It's where people still care about each other and care FOR each other.
And the good news, is that the spirit of Rural America isn't just in the small towns, at the end of a dusty backroad. It might be easier to spot there, but I've done some traveling away from the farm and my small town over the last month, and I've seen glimpses of it everywhere. The more I looked for it, the more of it I found.
Maybe that's the biggest gift that comes from these farming, ranching, mining, logging, oil drilling communities we call home. The ability to look for the very best in everyone we meet, and the desire to share the very best of ourselves everywhere we go — to leave a place a little better than we found it.
Maybe that's our legacy from Rural America to the rest of the world.
Maybe it's our charge.
Editor's note: Farver farms and ranches with her husband and their two children on the prairies of Northeast Montana. They also produce a value-added line of soup, stew, salad and snack mixes made with the grains they grow on their farm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.