I grew up in the country. We had LOTS of trees in our yard. My brother and I were often sent outside to “pick up sticks” so that Momma wouldn’t hit them with the lawn mower. We would, for fun, peel the bark off of sticks (do not judge), and often, we’d find a “good stick.” As in–“Hey. That’s a good stick.” Or, “Don’t break my stick, it’s a good one.” The standards for what makes a good stick are unspoken. If you have need of a good stick, you will know what one is.
Now? I live in the sticks. People who have visited me here can verify that “sticks” is no exaggeration. Seriously. When I was growing up, my friends just THOUGHT I lived in the sticks. That being said, there are no neighborhood associations or regulatory commissions (except for the people who put in your culvert and the highway department when they mow the ditches).
I normally walk at night, but today I decided to go in the morning. I was out the door by 7:02. It was, to say the least, a lot cooler without the black-top ridding itself of an entire day’s worth of Texas sun. I also got to hear the animal choir as they were wrapping up their morning song–donkeys, geese, chickens, turkeys, goats all in full voice.
The dogs were also different. It was actually rather amusing. In the evening they are feelin’ bad–they have been up and showing the squirrels and the cars who’s boss all day, but in the morning, you take them by surprise. Some of my regulars (like the little, black chihuahua who is CONVINCED that he will catch me one day) weren’t even outside. Normally the barking and howling start a minimum of 50 yards away, but today I had not one but TWO different boxers come skidding up to the fence before they even let out one bark. Then it was a weird sort of strangled thing like they had just been woken up. They were incensed to be caught with their guard down. One even came out onto the road and got a little too close. I turned and stomped my foot to let him know I was ignoring him out of politeness rather than weakness, and rather than the customary ten foot retreat, he ran AWAY. “Wuss,” I said. Yes. I talked to the dog. And called it a disparaging name.
I went up a road I don’t normally take, and there I found that “Trust passers will be shot” or “shoot” or “sot.” I’m not sure which. They used all three just to cover their bases I suppose. I DEFINITELY know that if you are a trust passer (this was the only spelling that remained consistent), then something will be perpetrated on your personage.
And it will start with an “s.”
Mixed in with the geese that I infuriated, the clucking hens, the Big Bad Dogs, and the Sotters of trust passers are all manner of lovely little homes and also some not so lovely–some with manicured lawns, others left wooded like ours–brick, farmhouse, trailer, shack, cottage. . .we’ve got it all here in the sticks. And there truly is NOTHING like a good stick.