1. The mailman or woman drives her own car! There is no cute little mail truck. Our mail woman drives her own car with her windows down and music on. One day a car drove into my driveway and starting honking. I looked out the window and didn't recognize her and I thought, "what's going on?" Then it dawned on me as she got out of her car, it's the mail woman with a package! How was I supposed to know? This was new to me.
2. UPS or FED EX drive into my driveway and leave packages in my garage! My garage is almost always open unless I'm not here. So frequently I find a box or two laying around my garage that was delivered a few days before! Guess I didn't hear the knock at the back door?
3. Dogs aren't necessarily confined but roam the neighborhoods and when owners walk them, they don't have them always on a leash. This just floors me that dog owners will go for a run with their dogs free to run off. We've met a lot of our neighbors this way as their dogs come to meet ours. Our dog (who we took in as a stray) stays in our front yard. She roams to the neighbors to play with the other dogs but always comes back and pretty much hangs out in our front yard.
4. East Texas is notorious for it's fried food. Every restaurant I eat at around here has chicken fried streak or chicken fried chicken. Fried catfish seems to be a favorite as that's always the special for the day. One place I visited has fried pickles, fried green beans (so good!), fried okra, fried zucchini, french fries and fried onion rings!
5. Today I add another to this list of countryfied characteristics. I had a neighbor's two boys over today to play for the first time. Their dad picked them up in his tractor! He was headed down the street to help someone till their garden. I heard him coming from a few blocks away and quickly got his boys shoes on and they went yelling up my driveway, "Daddy!" It was a sweet picture to see him lift both boys up onto his lap and go tootling down the road.
6. During hunting season all the grocery stores are stocked with large bags of deer corn. I'm clueless about hunting but I assume they need this. Another retail thing I saw was camouflage wrapping paper in the stores at Christmas time. I guess I'm a city girl cuz I've never seen that before.
7. Another thing I've noticed which isn't so positive is that businesses come and go quickly. When we moved here there was an awesome hamburger joint called Charlies. We loved the food and the place was decorated really cool. One day it was gone and a Mexican restaurant took it's place.
A clothing boutique on the town square disappeared one day and the owner opened a tea house across the street. We liked that place too! It was a girlie place with scones, tea and nice lunch options. I arranged to meet a friend there one day and when I pulled up it was vacant. Just after a few months . . . . gone. Guess you shouldn't get to attached. It must be hard to make a go of it when the population is only 3,000.
8. This list would not be complete without talking about the garbage company. Bubba is the owner and he drives a truck that pulls a trailer with gated sides. He gets out, walks around to your garbage can and opens each can and throws the bags over the side and into this garbage trailer. No big, high tech claw around here! All garbage is required to be bagged or he won't take it and he does not supply you with a garbage can. We had to go purchase a couple when we moved here. Oh and did I mention, there is no recycling here? We just save our cardboard/paper garbage and burn it. You can smell the burning of paper garbage frequently and I love it.
9. Most people do not worry about their yards. There are no city regulations so lawns that are too long are not a problem. I still like to spend time cleaning up the yard to make it look it's best since I love to be out in it but there isn't a sense that you have to keep up with the neighbors. No one seems to care. I remember in the city when we had bagged a bunch of leaves and stacked them along the side of the house. Well, we got a notice from the city that we couldn't do that. It was our property but I guess you can't just do what you want. There are rules. Here, there aren't.
When we have a dead tree or broken limb, we cut it down, chop it up and stack it for firewood. When we get too much brush we just drag it out to a big pile in our pasture and eventually burn it.
10. In the country of East Texas, you really don't have to put your make-up on to run to the store or be seen in public. Most people run around in jeans and work boots. We noticed a man at Walmart when we first moved here wearing overalls with no shirt on underneath. He was not a thin man either! No one is trying to impress anyone. In fact, if you go to the store looking like you came from the city, you just might get stared at.
When we first moved here, I was thrilled to get away from traffic, people and the busyness of life and I welcomed the peacefulness of the country, the slow pace and solitude. Now, after a year and a half, I sometimes miss the safety of people, the familiarity of the busy streets and the variety of stores to choose from. Living in the country can be lonely but I'm an introvert by nature so it suits me. I'm also glad, though, that we are only an hour from a big city like Dallas where we can return for the day and get a good fill of people and good food!
I think I've learned to appreciate both worlds.