Going to town

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

You had to be "seen but not heard" to ride along on the weekly trip to town. Nevertheless, the current events discussed in the front seat were interesting enough that I was as entertained as today's youngsters with their headsets and DVD players. I remember riding in back when my mother and her sister were discussing how somebody was asking for work in return for "room and board." Unable to contain my curiosity, I asked, "Why would anyone only want a room and a board?" The resulting peals of laughter were quite startling!

Last week, my daughter and I headed out on a day-trip together in Ohio. We had much to discuss, as the borders are still closed to our dairy heifer sales. Adding insult to injury, she and her husband are having their passports reviewed, so for an unknown amount of time - perhaps including Christmas - we won't have any Canadian get-togethers. We are both passionate about our agricultural livelihoods and my granddaughter would often interrupt and question what we were talking about. When we moved on to talk of the future, I expressed concern about the education system."Do you have teachers' colleges here?" My daughter admitted, "I'm really not sure where my friends Kelly and Monika got their education degrees from ...?" As she paused to recall, my three-year-old granddaughter chimed in from behind, "Mommy, they probably got them from Wal-Mart!" Fifty years later there is still much laughter while going to town.

When I was young, "town" was Dundas. To country kids, this meant walking on sidewalks and peering into store windows. Although we recently received hard-surface roads, Troy (the most westerly outpost of the city of Hamilton) hasn't yet reached the level of sidewalks, a bank, a grocery store or heavy traffic. Some days I feel that, with more businesses, people would cross paths more often and in so doing might create some spontaneous growth. It is hard to continually fight the spectre of "closure" - schools, banks, post offices and businesses. So with all this declining, what makes a rural village relevant? Because this is my first article for Rural Matters and I'm not into the habit of deep thinking yet, I must report that it is, obviously, food.

Last week, my husband and I took potluck to a Troy community dinner, worked at the church one morning preparing food for the funeral of a friend, served at a reception the next day, shared Hallowe'en goody-bag-preparation with a neighbour and enjoyed playing euchre - and more food handling - at the regular card party in the schoolhouse-community centre. This is where community decisions are made, plans formulated and action steps worked out. Whenever there is a threat to the stability of our community, the economics and politics of it are thrashed out over food. Sometimes there is quite a lot of heat in the kitchen as we discuss the way it is versus the way it needs to be. And when both sides get all het up, we "go to town" on the issues. At the end of the day - or an argument - living in Troy is still the best! We enjoy the security of the familiar even while we acknowledge concern about high taxes, bumpy roads and lack of "town" amenities. We may be bumping over potholes, but we are actively involved in creating and maintaining community life.

If only each day included a visit with our three kids, we couldn't ask for more.

Karen Hunt is a Troy resident, a wife, a mother, a writer and a member of the board for the Rockton Agricultural Society.

Going to town

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

You had to be "seen but not heard" to ride along on the weekly trip to town. Nevertheless, the current events discussed in the front seat were interesting enough that I was as entertained as today's youngsters with their headsets and DVD players. I remember riding in back when my mother and her sister were discussing how somebody was asking for work in return for "room and board." Unable to contain my curiosity, I asked, "Why would anyone only want a room and a board?" The resulting peals of laughter were quite startling!

Last week, my daughter and I headed out on a day-trip together in Ohio. We had much to discuss, as the borders are still closed to our dairy heifer sales. Adding insult to injury, she and her husband are having their passports reviewed, so for an unknown amount of time - perhaps including Christmas - we won't have any Canadian get-togethers. We are both passionate about our agricultural livelihoods and my granddaughter would often interrupt and question what we were talking about. When we moved on to talk of the future, I expressed concern about the education system."Do you have teachers' colleges here?" My daughter admitted, "I'm really not sure where my friends Kelly and Monika got their education degrees from ...?" As she paused to recall, my three-year-old granddaughter chimed in from behind, "Mommy, they probably got them from Wal-Mart!" Fifty years later there is still much laughter while going to town.

When I was young, "town" was Dundas. To country kids, this meant walking on sidewalks and peering into store windows. Although we recently received hard-surface roads, Troy (the most westerly outpost of the city of Hamilton) hasn't yet reached the level of sidewalks, a bank, a grocery store or heavy traffic. Some days I feel that, with more businesses, people would cross paths more often and in so doing might create some spontaneous growth. It is hard to continually fight the spectre of "closure" - schools, banks, post offices and businesses. So with all this declining, what makes a rural village relevant? Because this is my first article for Rural Matters and I'm not into the habit of deep thinking yet, I must report that it is, obviously, food.

Last week, my husband and I took potluck to a Troy community dinner, worked at the church one morning preparing food for the funeral of a friend, served at a reception the next day, shared Hallowe'en goody-bag-preparation with a neighbour and enjoyed playing euchre - and more food handling - at the regular card party in the schoolhouse-community centre. This is where community decisions are made, plans formulated and action steps worked out. Whenever there is a threat to the stability of our community, the economics and politics of it are thrashed out over food. Sometimes there is quite a lot of heat in the kitchen as we discuss the way it is versus the way it needs to be. And when both sides get all het up, we "go to town" on the issues. At the end of the day - or an argument - living in Troy is still the best! We enjoy the security of the familiar even while we acknowledge concern about high taxes, bumpy roads and lack of "town" amenities. We may be bumping over potholes, but we are actively involved in creating and maintaining community life.

If only each day included a visit with our three kids, we couldn't ask for more.

Karen Hunt is a Troy resident, a wife, a mother, a writer and a member of the board for the Rockton Agricultural Society.

Going to town

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

You had to be "seen but not heard" to ride along on the weekly trip to town. Nevertheless, the current events discussed in the front seat were interesting enough that I was as entertained as today's youngsters with their headsets and DVD players. I remember riding in back when my mother and her sister were discussing how somebody was asking for work in return for "room and board." Unable to contain my curiosity, I asked, "Why would anyone only want a room and a board?" The resulting peals of laughter were quite startling!

Last week, my daughter and I headed out on a day-trip together in Ohio. We had much to discuss, as the borders are still closed to our dairy heifer sales. Adding insult to injury, she and her husband are having their passports reviewed, so for an unknown amount of time - perhaps including Christmas - we won't have any Canadian get-togethers. We are both passionate about our agricultural livelihoods and my granddaughter would often interrupt and question what we were talking about. When we moved on to talk of the future, I expressed concern about the education system."Do you have teachers' colleges here?" My daughter admitted, "I'm really not sure where my friends Kelly and Monika got their education degrees from ...?" As she paused to recall, my three-year-old granddaughter chimed in from behind, "Mommy, they probably got them from Wal-Mart!" Fifty years later there is still much laughter while going to town.

When I was young, "town" was Dundas. To country kids, this meant walking on sidewalks and peering into store windows. Although we recently received hard-surface roads, Troy (the most westerly outpost of the city of Hamilton) hasn't yet reached the level of sidewalks, a bank, a grocery store or heavy traffic. Some days I feel that, with more businesses, people would cross paths more often and in so doing might create some spontaneous growth. It is hard to continually fight the spectre of "closure" - schools, banks, post offices and businesses. So with all this declining, what makes a rural village relevant? Because this is my first article for Rural Matters and I'm not into the habit of deep thinking yet, I must report that it is, obviously, food.

Last week, my husband and I took potluck to a Troy community dinner, worked at the church one morning preparing food for the funeral of a friend, served at a reception the next day, shared Hallowe'en goody-bag-preparation with a neighbour and enjoyed playing euchre - and more food handling - at the regular card party in the schoolhouse-community centre. This is where community decisions are made, plans formulated and action steps worked out. Whenever there is a threat to the stability of our community, the economics and politics of it are thrashed out over food. Sometimes there is quite a lot of heat in the kitchen as we discuss the way it is versus the way it needs to be. And when both sides get all het up, we "go to town" on the issues. At the end of the day - or an argument - living in Troy is still the best! We enjoy the security of the familiar even while we acknowledge concern about high taxes, bumpy roads and lack of "town" amenities. We may be bumping over potholes, but we are actively involved in creating and maintaining community life.

If only each day included a visit with our three kids, we couldn't ask for more.

Karen Hunt is a Troy resident, a wife, a mother, a writer and a member of the board for the Rockton Agricultural Society.