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Shannon Bardwell: Life in the '50s lane


Shannon Bardwell



My neighbor said, "Don''t you think Prairie life is like living in the ''50s?" 


Her comment made me think about our lifestyle; physical labor and a slower pace is a good thing. When I move through life at a comfortable speed everyone around me is happier. We I go to bed physically exhausted, I sleep better. 


The ''50s reminded me of Momma, who loved those waisted dresses, the ones flaring from the hip. Momma said they were "figure flattering," and in the ''60s she would point this out while I was wearing the popular "tent" dress, which looked exactly like its name. 


Another neighbor pointed out the amenities we have within a few miles of home.  


We have a fine restaurant, the Golden Horn. They even have take-out. We have a medical clinic with no waiting. We have the friendliest church, with the best cooks in the county. We have the new Shell service station, with a deli that fries every edible morsel known to man. 


There''s Plymouth Bluff for beauty and educational offerings, as well as a tomato farm where I bought winter tomatoes and a good variety of transplants for my garden. A few neighbors supply fresh brown eggs, and Sam catches all the crappie we can eat ... I just don''t see where we are missing much.  


Occasionally we have picture show entertainment. The Swoopes covered one end of their porch with a black tarp and hung a white roll-up shade in the middle. After enjoying a delicious meal of Southern barbecue, we sat in folding chairs while the mistress of ceremonies, Shirley, projected the slides on the roll-up shade. Her niece, Tina Reid (Lee High ''68), lives in Australia and shared her country with us.  


I told Sam later, you know we could do that. We could show movies outside on the porch. "Wouldn''t that be great?" 


Sam reminded me that I would have to learn how to use PowerPoint, so that idea might be on hold for awhile.  


Some family members are not always wild about our lifestyle. "I don''t see why we can''t wash dishes in the dishwasher," one says. I hand her a dishtowel.  


"We like hand-washing dishes," I explained. "Your dad washes and I dry and put them away. It''s a time to catch up on the day''s events. We look out the window at the lake and talk about how high the water is and if the dam is leaking; we point out waterfowl and fish splashes or butterflies on the wild cherry tree. Besides, when you''re not here we only have a couple of cereal bowls and two spoons to wash." 


We concluded the discussion with me agreeing to let the utensils air-dry and her committing to her first house having a dishwasher and using it.


Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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