If you were to ask Anna, our four year old, where she's from, she might answer, "The United States," or "Illinois," or even, "the country." Although all of these answers are correct, she will soon begin to identify herself with the town of Farmington, which is where she will go to school. Technically speaking, it is the city on our mailing address. Ironically enough, if you were to ask my uncles, aunt, or even my dad where they are from, even though we live in the EXACT same house, they would all answer Yates City. How weird is that? Evidently, this is very common in farm country, so I have been told. Because we live so close to three county lines, it makes this identity crisis even more apparent.
Until becoming a farm wife, I didn't realize how strange it would be to not grow up with a clear "town" that we would identify ourselves with. For example, our mailing address is Farmington, but our telephone number (if we had one- the service is seriously like a tin can and a string...ugh) would be a Yates City number. We go to church in Elmwood, but the kids go to school in Farmington. Our house itself sits in Knox County, but the town of Farmington is actually in Fulton County, but the school building itself is in Peoria County. Did I mention this is all within roughly a 5 mile radius? Most of the aforementioned "issues" only cause discontent in our non-farm life when one is concerned about whether or not we can receive Fox Sports Midwest for the Cardinals for free because we are considered a "southern county," or when changing a teaching certificate to be in the county where you wish to work, and where Anna will attend Cloverbuds in the fall.
All very earth shattering issues, wouldn't you say? However, when it comes to the actual farming aspect of our life, it is important to label one's farm with the correct county. Farm Bureau membership (love those discounts!), NRCS applications and funding. . . pray for our Conservation Stewardship Program acceptance. . . and the ever important 4-H membership (Joe and Anna are working with the calves now as I write!) are all aspects of the farm life that need correct county identification. We even have to be careful out here if there's ever a 911 call, as we must be specific which township/county/town we are closest to in order to receive services! Who can remember his or her name, let alone what county he or she lives in during a fire????
I guess because as I was growing up, I could clearly answer, "Oneida" when someone asked where I was from, I found it to be a part of my identity. Now that I don't have that clear of an answer, it makes me feel a little lost. I am in the country, but I have no country. However, I think I'll just take up answering Anna's simple, "the country" when I'm asked where I'm from. I'd probably get a lot more interesting questions about life on the farm. Then I wouldn't have to field answers about the ridiculous hillbilly used for the Farmington Farmers mascot.