Going rural not the same as going feral

October 17, 2012 01:24 pm

A woman from a university town with 12 times the population of Wallowa County interviewed a friend of mine. 

“I think she’s thinking about going rural,” he said.

The way he said it sounded like a cat going feral. 

I tell friends back east that cable access is not available in Lostine. I may as well live on the moon. Yes, I could have satellite, but like many people I know here I choose not to take on that burden.

And yet hate that decision when there is a miraculous event like the Orioles playing the Yankees in a playoff series.

I eagerly ordered the mlb.com feed. The first game streamed poorly for the first half and then not at all the second. The next night it streamed for one inning. The next, not at all.

I begged a couch off a Yankees fan one night and asked permission to allow it to be on, yet muted, at a birthday party. Quiche and beer make one welcome…

Friday the game was at 2 p.m. and I had work obligations until after 4 p.m.  I dialed in espn.com and listened on my laptop.

There were two innings left when I finished my work and found an ESPN Radio station on my dial. Power lines run along the rural, dirt road and the reception was staticky as I drove home. I was happy no one was with me to complain as I turned it up to try and discern what the announcers were saying.

When I arrived at the house it was top of the ninth and I KNEW it was over, but I felt obligated to sit through the end.

It’s not that I’m anti-TV, but I know I can mostly do without it. However, as a toddler, I was fairly molded by the idiot box.

On a small black and white I watched Sesame Street and Mister Rogers. To this day, given a chance, I will tune into Sesame Street and be happily entertained.

This weekend I attended a party that exemplifies songs from each of these shows, “Who are the People in My Neighborhood,” from Sesame Street, and Rogers’s intro song, “Won’t you be My Neighbor?”

Everyone from conservative cowboys to long-haired, outback farmers were in attendance. Starkly contrasting bumper stickers decorated Priuses next to Chevys. 

Transplants and multi-generational citizens of this fair county supped elbow to elbow as their children danced to the band or leapt atop the hay maze.

As we entered the overwhelming scene of humanity, industry and food, I was reminded of another song from my past, “The Farmer and the Cowman,” from the musical Oklahoma!

“Territory folks should stick together, territory folks should all be pals, cowboys dance with the farmers’ daughters, farmers dance with the ranchers’ gals!”

And so they did as the rain held off over the mountains.

Some of us were born rural, others returned, and some venture out for the first time, dabbing their toes in the water.  

All of us feral folks visit and feast together and for those who cross the rural-urban divide better than others, posts are uploaded via iPhones to Facebook.


Reach the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it