City mom longs to become a little more country

The boondocks are approximately 2 miles north of my house.

For as much as this valley has grown in the 30-some-odd years I’ve lived here, there is still a good portion of it that would be considered “country.”

Driving from my house, near the center of Fruita, north past the farms and fields makes me think of the old fable of the city mouse and the country mouse. Remember?

A country mouse invited his city cousin to visit him. The city mouse was disappointed with the sparse meal of a few kernels of corn and a couple of dried berries.

“My poor cousin,” said the city mouse, “you hardly have anything to eat! Come to the city with me and I will show you such rich feasts, readily available for the taking.”

The city mouse brought his country cousin to a splendid feast in the city’s alley. The country mouse could not believe his eyes. He had never seen so much food. There was bread, cheese, fruit and grains of all sorts.

The two mice settled down to eat their wonderful dinner, but before they took their first bite, a cat approached their dining area. The two mice hid in a small uncomfortable hole until the cat went to prowl somewhere else.

The two mice ventured out to resume their feast. But, before they could get a proper bite, another visitor intruded on their dinner, and the two little mice had to scurry away again.

“Goodbye,” said the country mouse, “You do, indeed, live in a plentiful city, but I am going home where I can enjoy my dinner in peace.”

I thought of this fable as I visited with my new friend, Vera.

Vera is the country mouse to my city mouse. Her house is clean, void of excess, peaceful and comfortable.

We chatted at the dining room table, where her family, including seven children (six living at home), share their first meal of every day before each sets off for work and school.

Out the window, I could see her eldest daughter (practically a woman herself) hanging the family’s clothes on the clothesline.

They don’t have a TV so there wasn’t the distracting noise in the background. There was just the soft whirr of the washing machine and the sound of Vera’s baby girl, wearing the dress her mother made, toddling around in her bare feet on the hardwood floor.

Vera gardens. Vera sews. And Vera cans food the way her mother taught her.

I have the pizza place on speed dial, and they call me by my first name in the drive-through.

Vera enjoys reading and listening to a cappella music.

I have more magazine subscriptions than I have time to read and am easily bored with the songs on my iPod.

Vera shops out of necessity.

I shop out of boredom.

Vera’s family shares an early morning devotional before she cooks everyone a hot breakfast.

I push the snooze button and serve cold cereal more often than I’d like to admit.

Talking with Vera made me think about all that I have going on in my busy life, a lot of it with no real benefit or meaning.

Sometimes, I feel like a slave to my stuff, spending my days moving it from one place to another.

This “city mouse” has figured out that abundance is a blessing, but excess is a curse.

When my life gets hectic, as I scurry from this meeting to that appointment and from this class to that activity, I’m going to think about my friend, Vera, and her peaceful country life, just 2 miles north.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at


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