A light-hearted look at what it means to be a country person
Words: Peter Massingham
A “countrysider”, I would think, is someone who sides with thoughts of the country, more than they do with those for the city. But having said that, what causes this? What is it about the country that brings colour to your smile and animation to your thoughts, while you think of urban things in grayscales?
How can you tell if at heart you really are one with the countryside?
Whether we see “country” as an out-of-town place, a lifestyle, a way of thinking, or just a nostalgic heartbeat, it’s really our behaviour and attitudes that give us away, one way or another. Here are some pointers to help you check your condition and find out how bushveld your blood may be, how platteland your pulse is, and how rural your reflexes are.
You’re a country person if…
1. You respond to a new place that’s off the beaten track like a four-wheel drive to a rough road: as an invitation to explore what’s down there, and not a deviation to be avoided.
2. Corrugated iron roofs, whitewashed walls and leiwater channels under jacaranda trees make you come out in a rash of nostalgia, as do stoeps with broekielace, stone kraals, rain water tanks, and pumpkins drying on the roof.
3. The sight of an empty cottage on a dusty village road with a “for sale” sign outside it, or seeing a deserted farmhouse somewhere in the Karoo crying out for attention, brings out in you something like the homing instinct of a pigeon, and sets you off making excited enquiries about buying it.
4. The names “Victorian” and “Edwardian” awaken visions of furniture pieces or architectural styles before they make you think of monarchs and empires. And the term “Cape Dutch” isn’t something you listen to, but conjures up images of gleaming yellowwood floors and white-gabled structures surrounded by spring-green oak trees.
5. Your visit to the local country fair finds you amusingly joining in the fun of a noisy bokdrol spoeg competition, to see how far a pellet can be fired. Or at the very least, passing by with a knowing smile that country people come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of tongue flexibility.
How did you do? Are you as ‘country’ as you thought?