We have unofficially entered the time of year when the Fulford farmers take their “break”. I say unofficially because we are in the months that the break usually happens, but due to unforeseen weather patterns that we experienced this harvest season, the bell hasn’t rung yet to let the poor guys out of work! But this is still our only time to go on a family trip, and we have been using it.
Since we live in the country, we seem to be pulled into the city for our vacation time. This really excites the bumpkin children because there are things in the city that are quite appealing to them that don’t exist at home. The city is a funny place for me, though. Six lanes of traffic are enough to make my knuckles white, and I’m not even the one behind the wheel! My version of a city is Tallahassee and compared to the other “big cities” of Florida, it is probably the smallest. But it is my big city, and so it is my reference point for all other cities that I visit. I have pretty much made up my mind that it is about as big as I can handle.
One of our recent trips was to Jacksonville for a family wedding. We were able to stay with a friend who happens to live in the tallest condominium building in downtown Jacksonville. The bumpkin kids kept referring to it as her hotel room, since they had never known anyone who lived in a condo before. My daughter asked us before we got there, “Do they not have very much money? Is that why they live in a building?” I let her figure out the answer to that one. When we got up to the condo and went in and walked around, the poor little thing’s eyes about popped out of her head. She kept saying, “WOW! This place is NICE!” And it was. I was immediately struck by the view from the 19th floor. During the day, you look out on a river, bridges, building after building, highways, neighborhoods, and a vast expanse of sky. At night, the lights of the city are glowing so bright you never need a nightlight! You can see cars driving, the lights of the buildings, and the lights of the bridge.
I took the kids to a local park during our visit, because that is where city kids play. My little bumpkins are used to running free not only in their own yard, but also at the Jefferson County Rec Park. So when the car doors opened, they bolted from the car and through the parking lot into the park! I had to chase them down and bring them into a family huddle. My first words, without even thinking, were, “Kids-we are not in Monticello anymore!” I went on to explain to them the rules they must be aware of now that they are not used to. I had to be on my full guard of where they were at all times because there were many entrances and side walks they could wander down. All the faces at the park were new to us and we knew no one there.
The views of the city are completely opposite of my views from my front windows. During the day, I see a pasture, fields, and wide open spaces. At night, I can’t see a thing because the darkness is so dark. But the stars are so many and so bright! When my kids are at home, they climb fences, feed livestock, run the dirt roads, and know how to watch out for tractors. I can read a book and relax while they are engaged in those types of activities. But when they are at a city park, I am on high alert!
When we returned home, the cats had left us several dead rodents and even their first bird right on our door step. This time, my first words without even thinking, were, “Kids-we aren’t in the city anymore!” No, we were at home-home in the country. And boy did it feel good!