I am thankful I live in Surry County, North Carolina. The population is a little over 72,000. Much of the county is covered with gently rolling hills and valleys. Located in the Appalachian Mountain region of western North Carolina, the western third of the county lies within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and, as well, found within the county is the western end of the Sauratown Mountain range. The mountainous and rolling terrain, coupled with the many rivers and streams that flow throughout the county, can make for breathtaking scenery.
As beautiful as the scenery is throughout the county, that is not the main reason I am thankful I live in Surry County. When I watch the news and see all the unrest taking place in many parts of the nation because of disagreements over an election, I am thankful I live in a county, that while people may not always agree on politics, and even religion, they still remain on speaking terms with their neighbor. They still throw up a hand and wave when you drive by. They are able to put differences aside to aid a neighbor in need.
While I have friends that voted different than I did, neither of us have organized a protest march, looted, trashed a car or burned down a building. It is wonderful to live in a county where people are still friendly to one another even though they may not all embrace the same political ideology. It is good to live in a place where people are still civil, considerate, courteous, respectful, and agree to disagree without harming their neighbors over the outcome of an election. It is good to live in a place where people know how to move on with their lives. You see, people in Surry County have bigger issues to contend with than who won or lost an election. Many are too busy trying to make ends meet, feeding their family, paying their bills to worry about marching in the streets over petty politics.
Some who live in metropolitan or urban areas may consider those who live in counties like Surry County, to be a bucolic area where people enjoy riding four-wheelers in the mud, hunting, driving pick-up trucks with a rifle hanging on a gun rack attached to the rear glass, having every once in awhile to dodge a cow in the road, and looking for a place to pass a tractor while driving on a country road. Yes, people in Surry County have a southern accent and still consider using the word “ain’t” to be proper English. Of course such people are stereotyped as being unsophisticated, uneducated, and back-woodsy. I believe the news media calls us Rednecks.
And of course, these same “Rednecks” grab their KJV Bibles and rush off to church on Sunday mornings to worship with those who they may disagree with on politics. While at church those same people who disagree on various issues, shake one another’s hands, hug one another, asking how the others family is doing, sit beside one another and sing hymns, pray together, laugh and cry together, and before departing from one another say, “If you need me for anything let me know.” And they mean it, too.
Surry County is place that proves you can disagree with people and still be friends, that you can disagree and still be civil, you can disagree and still respect one another, you can disagree and still lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. You see, you don’t have to agree with someone on every issue to be their friend. You don’t have to agree with someone on every issue to be kind and respectful. You don’t have to agree with someone on every issue to treat them like a Christian ought to treat others. You just have to follow the words of Jesus, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
I am most thankful to live in Surry County where it seems the people I encounter throughout the county, either consciously or unconsciously, live by the Golden Rule. Just as the rolling hills are part of the county, I have found the Golden Rule the unwritten rule that seems embedded in its citizenry. Those who don’t understand can call us back-woodsy, they can call us Rednecks, but I don’t know of another place I would rather live.
You may not live in Surry County, but if you live in a similar place where people still respect one another regardless of whether they agree or disagree on every issue, then count your blessings and give thanks you live in such a place.
As Thanksgiving approaches I for one am thankful I live in a place like Surry County.