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COLUMN: Letters From Home continuation
Updated on: 08.15.12

Editor's note: The last few sentences of this column, by Cinda Crull, were accidentally cut off in the Aug. 15 Brown County Democrat. The entire column is reprinted here.

Hello from blessed Brown County.

I’m going to take a break from letter writing for a while and focus instead on my book and my practice. So, in this pre-respite communication, allow me to ruminate about some of what I’ve gotten from living in this extremely rare jewel of a place. Sharing a bit about my past couple of weeks may shed some light on how special County Brown is for those who wish to live simply.

I went to swim with a friend at a private community lake. It was silky and cool, beautifully ringed by a canopy of trees. While refreshing ourselves, we bumped into a nearby neighbor. Treading water together, I shared my appreciation and admiration for this opportunity and inquired about the history of the place. I was told how many good times were had there over the years. She shared about one occasion when the locals had a party. The music — remember there’s always music, as well as food, some sort of fire and stories at gatherings — was provided by a gentleman who floated aimlessly in a canoe for hours while serenading the social circle with his accordion. Not typical for most parties, you’ve got to admit.

Still bobbing around in the aforementioned lake, the neighbor continued at my coaxing to tell me another story about the time years ago when she was giving birth during a drought, not unlike the one in which we find ourselves now. It seems during a crucial point in the delivery, her husband, the father-to-be, burst through the door. She shouted to him that she was in labor. He shouted to her that the outhouse was on fire. The blaze he had started from lighting matches while indisposed caught the underlying dry grass ablaze. Priorities shifted as he grabbed the water that had been readied for the birth and ran out to douse the flames. Fortunately, the child waited to come into this world until the crisis was over and more water could be obtained. The day ended well for family and forest.

Last week, the county fair opened, and I was told practically the whole town attended. I could hear the midget car races a mile away carried out in the sawdust and dirt arena on the fairgrounds. I opted to stay home instead and caught a glimpse of two twin fawns with their mother by the pond, a clan of turkeys with six baby poults which I just call turklets, and my pileated woodpeckers, who were teaching junior with his wild Mohawk tuft of headfeathers how to dine on suet at my feeder. I planned on going to the fair, but the delight for me is cotton candy and ears of corn roasted in their husks over a giant outdoor grill, and then dipped in melted butter.

Last night I heard a clatter on the driveway just outside my home. As soon as I could, I went out to find only evidence left behind of the source of that noise, in the form of the biggest pile of horse dung I’d ever seen. Calling my neighbor, I asked if she glimpsed a horse coming down the dead end driveway, fearing it might now be in the woods beyond. She assured me that none of the horses was loose from the pasture and that one of the white Percherons was being walked by its person, who also had another horse my neighbor assumed at a quick glance must have been a colt in training. It turns out that the alleged colt was a full-sized adult that next to "Avalanche" or "Forte" would look like a mere lad by comparison. I hadn’t experienced a horse coming that close to my front door since I lived on the Navajo reservation in my 20s, and discovered that the wild mustang mothers and their foals liked to come down from the mesas and back up against the front door of the house to keep out of the winter wind. Luckily, I had a side door.

Recently, I was at my part-time job at a local shop, where a gentleman who volunteers and helps organize others to pick up the trash that the tourists leave, came in for a chat and a drink of water against the heat. He and the store owner had made a pact to exchange their homegrown beets and tomatoes. The beets somehow got lost in the store. Still can’t find them. This prompted the volunteer to state that — wait for it — the store was full of dead beats. Ba dum bum. I can’t make this stuff up.

Tonight I’m going with a friend and her 3-year-old grandson to my favorite café to listen to live acoustic music. Once again, there’ll be good company, food and probably fire in the form of a candle at the table. I’ll bring out my "small-town manners," as a friend calls them. Those are civilities that allow you to get along with most people, even those you may not necessarily cotton to, because we all have to live together and see each other often. I guess one of the things I’ve learned here is that while I still reserve the right to pick my enemies as well as my friends, most things just aren’t worth all the fuss, and most people have at least one redeeming quality.

I know you must be chuckling at my emerging mellowness, so unlike the "me" that lived often in cities where people can be more transitory and their frantic pace often divorced from nature. For that matter, you must be amazed that I’m living in an even smaller town than the one I grew up near so long ago as a farm girl. I am, too, but I sometimes fancy I’m living in the literary village of Brigadoon that emerged only occasionally from the Scottish mists, free of the tyranny of time that wore down the world around it. In Brown County, you can move to the ancient rhythm of the land that was washed, but not touched by the melting glaciers of the last ice age. Those glaciers gave us our ravines, which fill with Indiana mist in the early mornings and after a refreshing rain. Here, it’s possible to be almost timeless, and ageless too.

Well, I’m gonna go. My neighbors and friends await me for dinner, and I long for more stories.

Keep in touch,

Cinda

 

Cinda Crull is a Brown County resident. She can be reached through the newspaper at newsroom@bcdemocrat.com.

Obituaries
See Full List »

William Emmett Fisher, 73, Elizabethtown
  Father of William “Mark” (Marissa) Fisher of Nashville

Margaret (Stanley) Whitaker, 80, Morgantown
  Wife of Rawlins Whitaker of Morgantown

Ival 'Max' Skinner, 85, White Springs, Florida,
  Brown County native

  • August 27
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • August 29
    Watermelon fundraiser on Village Green
    1 to 4 p.m. Village Green, Main and Jefferson streets
  • August 30
    Golf scramble to benefit BCHS athletics set
    1 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • August 30
    Mission trip presentation at Fruitdale church
    2 p.m. Midway Church,
  • September 3
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 3
    Future of rural places subject of talk
    5:30 p.m. Brown County Inn, 51 State Road 46 East
  • September 5
    BCHS class of 2005 reunion slated
    3 to 6 p.m., 8 p.m. Deer Run Park; Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • September 6
    Read to dogs at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 8
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. BCCF, 209 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 8
    Retired teachers
    noon Hotel Nashville, 245 N. Jefferson St.
  • September 9
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • September 12
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • September 18
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    4 to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 18
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    7:30 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 19
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 19
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    6 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 20
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    2 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • October 4
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane