Where Did Our Country Go?

This last week we took a trip to the rural setting of my parents’ origin. People with my surname have been in a couple of those counties since long before the Civil War. Several of my ancestors fought in the War of 1812 against the Creek Indians, and against the British at the Battle of New Orleans.

Today, very few of the descendants of those early settlers are left in that country side. The old family farms are now growing trees. In the early twentieth century one could drive down those dirt roads, passing one farm after another. That’s not the case, today.

The farms have disappeared, sometimes replaced with double-wide mobile homes that would look better in a junk yard.  Sometimes, junk cars litter front yards. The old home county is getting to be a mess.

My cousins who remain there tell me that meth amphetamines are a huge problem with the younger generation. They worry about gang wars in some of the larger towns. Still, many country people send their kids to college so that they can do better than to stay at home where there are few jobs outside of the timber industry. If the younger generation forsakes education, they are doomed to lives of uncertain income, and even poverty.

There just aren’t enough jobs to go around, not even burger flipping jobs.

Those of us whose parents left that part of the world have prospered in today’s cities. Hope is disappearing from rural America. The scenes I have projected above are repeated throughout the rural south and Midwest. Unless there is a factory or other industry local to the rural scene, what are today’s rural youth do do?

They country farms of our youthful vacations and trips are gone. Family farms are almost extinct. Populations have been shifting since the mid twentieth century, and they are still moving away from rural America.

There are TV shows where rich people are buying horse farms, or large tracts of land. I don’t see where this will bring back rural economies. They have changed forever.


7 thoughts on “Where Did Our Country Go?”

  1. My way of thinking about the rural goes like this. The big ag people are intent on owning 100% of the famland. They have used their loggying powers on the federal government to maintain the inheritance tax. This tax forces many inheriters of farms to sell them just to pay the tax. The big ags buy them up for nothing. wash-rinse-repeat.

    The government (used to?) protect us from this but are now paid slaves to the mobsters who call themselves big business.
    Did you ever wonder why you never hear about organized crime any more? Did it go away? 🙂

  2. Like Kid said.
    It’s no co-incidence that the Sanders Campaign was using Simon and Garfunkel’s “They’ve all Gone to Look for America” as a theme song.

  3. There’s a lot to what Kid says. Just where did the mob go? From the way corruption is being uncovered on Congress, we have voted them into power.

    Ed: I was not aware of the Sanders theme song. They are on to something, there. We are not in the America of our parents, or of our youth. Donald Trump understands this. I don’t know if he could change the economic momentum, but I am willing to give him a chance.

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

  4. Ed, I wasn’t aware they’re using that song, either. Talk about IRONIC…if either of them got elected, we’d be having to write ten more verses just to accommodate the mess……

    I’m going to have to give Trump a chance, too, but…this is a big deal, this awful economy in the midst of Obama’s telling us how GOOD IT IS. Unreal.

    SUCH a sad post, Bob…truly sad. I am first generation on Mom’s side and second on Dad’s, but LOVE LOVE LOVE the history of this country, those lives you describe of your ancestors….I HATE that their homes are gone……….it’s so much more than their homes that are gone, isn’t it. ugh

  5. When I was a kid, it was a big thing to go to the country for a week, and run around with my country cousins in bare feet. I never could get used to that, but it was great fun. We used to play games around the farm house and the barns. The cattle kept the snakes chased out of the woods, and we had the run of the place. Our aunts fed us the great country cooking, and we drank fresh milk from the milk cows. I only saw an chicken killed, once, but did not blanch at it being the main course on my Uncle’s dinner table.

    The barns and most off the old houses are gone, except for my Uncle’s old farm house. My first cousin owns it, now, although she doesn’t live there. She will open the house for family reunions, and similar get-togethers like that which we attended last week. We spent four days there, and with all the driving around that I would not normally do, I saw what was really going on. It is, indeed, a sad story.

    Thanks for the comment, Z.

  6. I love that your cousin opens the house for reunions…very nice. Might as well be IN the place the memories were made.
    I love your stories, Bob….so AMERICAN.
    then I guess it makes sense why this (that’d be ME!) first generation and second generation Armenian American is so keen on hearing these wonderful sentimental American stories ….more than some long-term family Americans… and certainly more than illegals who’re just coming over and don’t want to, or can’t, feel that sentimental nostalgia, that feeling of pride in American history though my ancestors didn’t participate in anything American till about 1912

  7. Thanks, Z. I am of an age, now, where history means a lot. Our family’s history and our nation’s history are intertwined to a degree, and that makes me very patriotic. I am also very aware that my family was on the wrong side if the Civil War. That’s a whole other subject that I study, and won’t bore folks about that, now.

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