Today I took a short drive out into the farm country. I live in the suburbs in Minneapolis, and in a mere 8 miles to the west, you will find yourself surrounded by farms houses and fields.

I grew up in a small town of about 800. I lived on the edge of town, near a small farm, and my father's  job was spent supporting farmers with their fuel and chemical needs. I not lived in a small town since 1980, so it is somewhat of a treat for me go go back into the country, park the car and just listen to the sound of the wind and the noises of a farm. I also notice the many smells that can overpower a person not used to it quickly. You got used to that, and it became just part of the landscape of your life.

This kind of place is where I started out with so many years ago. I did not want to stay - that was certain, and moved to the Twin Cities within a few years after leaving. What I miss about the small town is the fact that people know you. I am a faceless person in the suburbs. I rarely ever see someone I know at Target, or any other store. I hardly know most of the people who live in the neighborhood.

I did not realize how nice it was to grow up in a place where you knew many of the people around you. I never really appreciated it until recently, as I have gone back many times to meet relatives for research on the family tree, for reunions, and sadly, the funerals of my parents.

Here are a few picture of the country just to the west of us. It is not where I grew up, but it the same in spirit.