Reasons I love rural Missouri:
1) I seriously love the smell of burning. Burning leaves, wood, hamburgers, charcoal. You burn it, I love it. So, living in rural Missouri, everyone burns their leaves in the fall, their dry debris in the winter, and their burgers in the summer. Love it.
2) Everyone waves. When my family moved to Missouri from Colorado, I remember one of the things that fascinated us the most was that everyone waved to us when we drove past them. For a while we thought it was because we moved to a small town and everyone knew who we were: that new family that moved into the old Moreau Drive house. We were wrong. They just wave. We call it the two-finger wave, and this is how you do it:
1) Place hands on steering wheel in a 10 and 2 position. If you don’t know what that means, pretend the wheel is a clock and place your hands on 10:00 and 2:00.
2) When a car passes by you in the opposite direction, lift your pointer finger and middle finger of your right hand.
3) Give a little head nod. You can never go wrong with the head nod.
3) I like driving on really curvy roads. It makes me feel like I’m in the Fast and the Furious. And I won’t lie, I’m really good at driving fast around those curves. And by “fast” I mean the speed limit, but because of the centrifugal force, it feels faster. And more rebellious.
4) There are unusual animal farms. For example, on my way home after school, I pass a llama/miniature horse/cow farm. Weird? Yes. Amazing? Double yes. There is also a goat/chicken/emu farm. Every time I pass it, there are goats on top of the barn or perched on some fence. I don’t know how they do it!
5) Everyone knows everyone. And everything about them. And most of them are related somehow. It is surreal. If you’re from a small town, you know what I mean, but if you’re not, it is just like the movies. And I’m not even kidding. Go rent Runaway Bride and you’ll understand.
6) I get to drive down Historic Route 66 every day. I roll my windows down and cruise at 55 mph. Just me and the Buicks with handicap license plates. One time, my family hosted a foreign exchange student from France, and one of the “American” things he was most excited about was seeing the real Route 66. And to think, I get to cruise down an American icon everyday!
7) Snow days. What more can I say? We have a lot of them because we have a lot of small, winding gravel roads.
8) Everything shuts down for hunting season. Seriously, people will take off work and school to go sit on a stand for hours in the freezing weather. I just don’t understand how sitting silently in the cold for any length of time to only possibly see a deer to shoot is fun. To each his own.
9) There are some incredible town names around here:
-Bland: Where Papa sometimes goes to lunch by himself.
-Belle: Possibly the reason of the misspelling on our belle choir music.
-Rosebud: Home of Clancy’s and Kline’s. Also, this is probably my favorite town in the area/whole world.
-Useful: This town houses two antique shops and a cemetery. The Useful Cemetary.
-Loose Creek: You know you’re at Loose Creek when the speed limit drops from 60 mph to 50 mph. The cops know you’re there because you’re usually still going 60 mph.
-Freedom: All I know is that it is one mile off of Highway 50.
-Cuba: Home of the World’s Largest Rocking Chair, the Route 66 Rocker. Not the home of Fidel Castro.
-Bourbon: Yes, Bourbon did get its name from the whiskey. A long time ago when the railroads were first put in an Irishman opened a general store along the tracks and imported Bourbon whiskey in huge kegs that he kept on the front porch. Thus, Bourbon became the town we all know and love today.
-Bem: I get to pass through Bem every day on my way to Cuba. It’s a dream come true. In the summer, they have a church picnic where they make homemade ice cream that will bring a tear of joy to your eye. Last summer, the picnic was on my birthday and I got some homemade mint ice cream. What a perfect way to turn 23!
-Eureka: This is actually one of the “big towns” and is closer to St. Louis. Eureka is the home of Six Flags and the ski slope. Missouri does have a ski slope, though it is more of an oversized ice cube. (I’ve had more injuries on this slope than I have in Colorado.) Despite these wonderful attractions, all I can think of when someone mentions Eureka is the show Eureka’s Castle. It used to come on after The Smurfs.
-Old Woolam: This town is down Highway P, the curviest road in all of the world. Many of the curves are ninety-degree angles. Papa whistles a lot when I drive down this one.
-Owensville: There aren’t really many attractions here, but we do have a Super WalMart that is open 24 hours. We also just became the home to a bakery/meat market/liquor store. Apparently they have an amazing beer fridge. It is nestled lovingly between the bagels and pork steaks. If you don’t know what a pork steak is, that’s ok. I’m pretty sure that Missouri invented them. I had never heard of them either until I moved to Missouri and started going to random church picnics with Grammy and Papa (when you live in rural Missouri, you go to everyone’s church dinners. Even if you don’t go to that church). A pork steak consists of a slab of fatty pork that is grilled to a crisp and is usually served with plastic silverware that breaks before you can even attempt to rip the meat into bite-sized pieces. Obviously, I’m not a fan of pork steaks.
I love rural Missouri.