Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

August 27, 2013

CONFER: Country living is the life for me

Niagara Gazette — I quite often get into discussions with folks from the Big City who wonder why I choose to live in rural Eastern Niagara County which is, in their eyes, so far away from everything.

Those folks from Amherst/Williamsville cite how they are just blocks, or a couple of miles at most, away from every store, restaurant, theatre or any other amenity that young families would ever want. “Quality of life” is their recurring mantra.

They see my rural way of life, and that lived by residents in neighboring small towns like Middleport and Newfane, as almost alien.

I see theirs in the same light and wonder what sort of quality of life can be appreciated solely on the basis of consumption. Millions of Americans dwell in densely populated suburbs and cities. What good are all of those places when the average family might be able to afford to visit them once, maybe twice, a week, or delve into debt to do so more often?

To country dwellers, quality of life is more than just the immediate and accessible consumption of a bunch of fancy dinners, consumer goods or the hippest movie. It’s about appreciating the simple things in life, mostly making memories with family and friends in the out-of-doors.

I look at the postage stamp lawns and jail-like fenced-in properties of the Williamsville types and wonder who would want that. Those of us who live out in the country have lawns and properties larger by multiples, where we can appreciate regular close encounters with wildlife and let our children roam, playing and learning in great amounts of wide-open space, rather than the confines of their living rooms and in the constant company of the latest video game.

Similarly, I look at the lack of public play space in the Big City and I take pride in our abundance of ball diamonds, soccer fields and playgrounds out in the country. While kids in our neck of the woods get together by playing sports, the suburban kids hang out at the mall.

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