When I meet older people in the small towns and the country near our central Texas ranch 40 miles south of “The Cowboy Capital of the World”, Stephenville, Texas, I find that more often than not, most of these people were either born, raised or visited relatives or friends in this part of Texas when they were children. The memories that were created during that impressionable time in their lives stayed with them. Many of the young people who lived here moved to the cities to attend college, work and eventually marry and raise a family. Some of the same people who couldn’t wait to get to the city came to the realization that the country wasn’t such a bad place to be after all and wisely decided to invest in a second home for a weekend getaway, some with hopes of retiring there. In the meantime, their children also reaped the benefits to be derived from spending time in the country. Many of these people stay in these homes long after their children have left home and had children of their own.
My husband and I have lived in the country full-time since 2003. Prior to that we had a 40-acre weekend getaway in Bosque County between Meridian and the little town of Cranfills Gap, a small town rich in Norwegian history. We now have a bigger place near Hamilton, Texas and plan to stay here as long as we can. Since we’ve been here I have seen many of our older neighbors move back to the cities that they left years ago. Many have lived their dream of country living and are ready to move back to the conveniences that city life has to offer. Some leave because they have lost their spouse and don’t want to be alone. Others have health issues and are more comfortable living closer to medical facilities. Many just want to be closer to their children and grandchildren. Many of our neighbors are constantly on the road to attend their grandchildrens’ baseball games, soccer matches, school plays, etc., and eventually choose to live closer to them. We have met a few people who decide to stay in the country after losing a spouse who lead very active lives and have no desire to move. Sometimes their children persuade them to move closer to them so they will be nearby if a problem arises. Then there are the lucky ones who have lived to a ripe old age and are perfectly content to live out their days in the country on their own. A lady who lives not far from us recently died at the age of 103 and was still living in her own home. I was told of another elderly lady who lived here years ago who always answered the door with a gun in her hand covered by a dishtowel in the event of an unwelcome visitor. She chose to stay in the country and apparently was a very resourceful little lady.
Wherever you live, life is as enjoyable as you choose to make it. We all have to choose which forks in the road to take as we approach them. For us, we chose the fork that led to a quieter, simpler life in the country. We know the day might come when we decide to move back to the city. Until that time comes, we choose to enjoy all that the country has to offer: the beautiful skies and sunrises and sunsets, the abundant wildlife we see every day, the wildflowers and spring showers, the silence in the evening interrupted only by the hoot of an owl or the plaintive sound of a coyote howling in the distance and the promise of waking up to another glorious Texas morning. I know the “golden years” are getting closer (although I see nothing “golden” about it), so I intend to store up enough memories to last the rest of my life while I still choose to live in the country. The last ten years of country living and the ones to come are the ones I will consider “golden” and will always be thankful that I was lucky enough to have had that privilege. Sometimes the simple pleasures in life are the best. I am discovering that every day on my very own “little piece of Texas”.