My wife and I were talking the other day how much our neck of the woods has changed since we were kids. There are a couple four-lanes that weren’t there back then. The mom and pop joints are all gone, replaced by chain stores, gas stations and fast food joints, and the “tourist babins” of old have given way to chain motels.
Out our valley, The 27 small dairy farms of my dad’s day had turned to fewer than a half-dozen when I was just little and zero now. The 10 beef cattle farms of my youth have currently dwindled to two, and NO-ONE in the area actually makes their living from farming anymore. In fact, they can only afford to farm because they work elsewhere full-time. Cornfields, never common in this narrow valley are now a thing of the past.
The folks who used to fish the length of the creek and ask to do so at the farm houses must have all died. There are a few folks who fish under the interstate bridge still, but they never ask the man who owns the land. Any former cornfields are now hayfields, and most former pastures and hayfields are growing brush or small timber.
We used to know our country neighbors for miles around. We met them at Grange, Farm Bureau meetings, the mom and pop groceries, P.T.A. meetings and school programs. These days, the Grange is gone here, the Farm Bureau is a shadow of what it was, the small groceries are gone (as I said earlier) and the neighborhood schools are no more. Heck, two of our neighbor men were dead a year before we even found out about it.