Until I was eight years old I lived on the edge of a small town in eastern Illinois. Every morning I looked out on big sky and corn or corn stubble. I also lived as an adult in Kirksville for 18 years. Kirksville is not as small as Oblong, Illinois but it is definitely rural. All told I’ve lived half my life in rural America.
My early days in the country were especially formative. I recall them being simple, quiet, safe and boring. We did not farm, possibly the first generation of my line of Smiths not to. Life was family-oriented: both sets of grandparents and an aunt and uncle lived on my one-mile walk between grade school and home. One day was pretty much like the next.\