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Another Day in the Country

The idea of it all

© Another Day in the Country

There are some things that I really do like.

A pineapple ice-cream cone stacked high, two frosty scoops — ideally served up in Hawaii. I’ve had several cones on all three occasions that I visited the islands, and the pleasure still lives in my memory, long after the last lick.

I like a brand-new tube of lipstick, especially from companies that put that little wedge tip on their product. The color, the creaminess, the shape, how unsullied it is, and also the promise that it will lift my spirits when applied.

I like a fresh can of coffee with foil on top so that when you open up that vacuum packed seal there’s this little “woosh” sound heavy with coffee scent.

I like a warm, fresh out of the oven Lava cake with a scoop of very cold vanilla ice cream, served on a lovely white dish with chocolate swirls across the plate and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Always with company. Wouldn’t like eating it alone. I know it has a high calorie count; but I still like it!

I like fringes on almost anything, but especially on leather jackets. There’s something about a fringe that puts a bounce in your step.

These are some of the things I like. I don’t experience them every day, sometimes only rarely, which probably adds to their allure.

Then there are things that I actually like the idea of better than the thing itself.

I like the idea of exercise tapes, books about exercise, and exercise gear; but I really don’t like to exercise.

I like the idea of cozy little nooks for sitting in the back yard, and comfy chairs on the deck, especially when I lived in California. But did I ever sit out there? No. When I was outside in the yard, I was working: mowing, trimming, pulling weeds, stacking rocks. Rarely did I ever sit down. In Kansas, chairs have a way of blowing over, and don’t even bother trying to put up a gazebo!

I like the idea of a new car, but then I worry about the expense, it getting its first nick and how much it has depreciated just coming off the lot, and I wonder, “Will I be able to afford the payments and extra insurance, and was this really a smart move?” So I keep driving the old car.

I like the idea of recycling but it’s a lot more work than just throwing stuff in the bin. Thankfully, in Marion County, we aren’t having to separate paper from glass, plastic by grade. Recycling is a great idea but takes commitment, and sometimes I feel like half of the garage is taken up with paper and plastic waiting to be taken over to Tampa when it would be so easy just to throw it all in the trash.

I like the idea of flying to California to see my kids but as it gets closer to the time I worry about my commitments here, how long should I be gone, how much and exactly which clothes to take, and will things be okay back here in Kansas in my absence.

I like the idea of living with someone; but having other souls in your space always calls for adjustments and compromise. Other people in the house cause complications; but I love having company, looking forward to guests coming, even though the house must be cleaned more thoroughly and artistic clutter cleared away. And then, when they are all gone, my breathing is quieter, but the rooms echo; the house feels lonelier still.

I like the idea of organic food, without all the pesticides and chemicals that get sprayed on them or that they absorb from the ground. But it’s more work to grow them chemical-free, it’s harder to find that kind of food in grocery stores, it’s more expensive, and I find myself rationalizing away what I know to be true, what I’ve learned is most healthy for my body. There’s always this push/pull, the balance point, between the idea of something and the reality.

I like the idea of free speech, the keystone of a democratic society, and then I have to listen to other people spouting their opinions — no matter how, dangerous, ill-formed, or inaccurate.

I like the idea of honesty until I’m the one who has to stand up and tell the truth, even though it may make me look bad or hurt someone’s feelings.

For the good of all — myself, my neighbor, the environment — I incorporate some of these ideas into my life, even if they’re inconvenient.

And then, there are others that fall by the wayside, because in reality they are just too much of a hassle on another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 8, 2018

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