Posted on August 16, 2022

The Lost Art Of Being Country - Gebo's

Living the country life has become a new slogan for an old way of life. They even have a magazine with that title. I have read it many times and find it a little funny that some of the younger generation have tried to embrace this "new" lifestyle. I guess we should be glad they have finally realized that some of the old ways actually are better than the plastic ways they are used to in their short time on this earth.


Being country isn't something you do, it is something you are. I really think it a blessing and am glad I didn't forget this art as I grew into adulthood. I come from a country family, that lived the country life out of necessity and found it to be the best life there is.

As Barbara Mandrell once sang,' we were country when country wasn't cool!'

I would like to set on paper, (or computer) some of the things that make being country a good thing, and I hope you will be able to understand a lot of them because they may not seem so cool to some of you.

We've all seen the list of things that most of us did when we were young. Most people were country back in the 40-50's. They just didn't call it that. We all had to do daily chores and house work the old fashioned way.

Our family was one that contained seven occupants, our mother was one that insisted things be a certain way. I guess she did not want to be country, but there was no way to avoid it.

Mother taught us to raise chickens and how to dress them for food. As you can imagine, dressing a chicken does not mean putting a frilly apron on them like some do today. No, to dress a chicken meant preparing it for the table. The process usually included a sharp ax and boiling water.

We raised gardens and spent countless hours planting and picking and processing the vegetables to feed us through the winter months. Seven people eat a lot! This was our summer job. Not much time for TV. But, we made it fun. Putting your feet in the corn shuck bucket is a way to cool off after you’re finished shucking the corn. We were country kids, it didn’t take much to thrill us back then.

Our dad's family lived as sharecroppers. For those of you who don't know that term, it means a family that moved from farm to farm and worked from day-light to dark on another persons farm for a portion of the crop to sell in order to feed their families. My paternal granddad was such a person. In those days a sharecropper did not make much money. The family would work all season, then get paid very little. But, their jobs were necessary for some landowners to hire them in order to get their crops in on time.

My dad told about how he and Grandpa went to buy groceries in a flat-bed truck with side boards . They shopped all day and loaded that truck to the top and it cost $90. This may seem like a lot for a little, but this would last for a couple months, until they could work another crop or sell something.

This lifestyle is still being lived these days, it’s just called by another name. Usually this type job is held by people from other countries, such as Mexico. We call them migrant workers today. You get the picture. Not a bad life if that’s all you have.

Naturally, there clothes were not always the cleanest. One of my dad's younger sisters was a little ashamed at times and when she asked her mother for a clean dress, but there was not one for her to change to. In order to appear clean, my aunt would turn her dress around backwards so it appeared the front was clean.

My mother's family was a little different. My Granddad was a land owner. He had 6 girls and a wife. Together they farmed the west Texas plains. He owned cows to milk and farmed over 360 acres. My grandmother raised turkeys and chickens and made butter from the milk of some 30 head of cows With 6 girls, the farming had to be done as if there were 6 boys. Each girl had her chores to perform each day.

I know many people that have similar backgrounds. Ours was not outstanding or special, I guess, but it I like to think it gave us an understanding of how simple lives can be just trying to stay alive. Today, we don’t have to struggle for much; the grocery store is just down the street and the choices are many. But, if you want to try being country for a while, I think you’ll find a peace you never had. You don’t have to milk cows or share crops with anyone to have that feeling of being country at heart. It’s deep in your soul if you dig far enough to find it. Let’s not let the art of being country slip away. Give it a try!


Article Written By: Sandra Hail

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