Friars Hill Traffic Report By Sarah Mansheim Managing Editor • Mountain Messenger

Country folk get up early. That’s probably because we are better than everyone else. While all the city-dwelling ne’er-do-wells are slumbering in their beds until 8 a.m., sleeping off their drugs and pills and alcohol and rock and roll, we good country people are up feeding the livestock.
My livestock herd consists of two dogs and three cats. Feeding them requires several minutes every morning, especially when you consider I have to take the time to yell at each cat individually and then pet both dogs behind the ears and under the chin, thus ensuring that the human-animal balance is maintained.
Next, I must farm my body. My corporal being requires large amounts of water and coffee, and then it must be washed and groomed. After I wash my sins away, I tend to my visage and my coiffure.
Luckily, my hair is as frugal as the Friars Hill countryside, efficient in its growth. I have about seven hairs on my head, and I am able to whip them into Godly submission with a few strokes of a comb and a blast of hot air. I prefer to iron my hair once it’s dry in order to maintain a sense of orderliness up top.
Like all country folk, I enjoy arts and crafts, and I paint my face every morning with care and quiet meditation. Akin to a field that lies fallow, my morning face is ready for cultivation. Redness and wrinkles, pimples and discolorations are smoothed over with spackle, and then shimmer is artfully applied to reflect the light, much like the glow of sunrise over the early morning mountains.
Getting dressed is an exercise in modesty. We country folk don’t like to draw attention to ourselves. Therefore, when preparing for my workday, I leave the sequined ball gown in the back of the closet and pull on a pair of well worn work jeans and top it with a sensible blazer. My commitment to modesty and utility reaches down to my shoes, so I never wear a heel higher than five inches. Because I believe in modesty, I only wear my red high heeled shoes two or three times a week. It’s easier to judge other people when I am dressed appropriately.
Lunch must be packed, so I fill mine and my daughters’ lunch pails with recycled glass bottles full of fresh farm vegetables obtained at the local corporate green grocer, and chicken and beef from only the finest factory farms. My daughters, who are only beginning to learn the righteousness of country living, are tempted by their peers to enjoy processed food in the form of Little Debbie snacks, so I include those in their lunch pail if only to teach them the value of keeping up appearances.
Discipline is a large part of country life, so I make sure to yell at my children and spouse in equal measure, so that no one gets too big for their britches. I also practice self discipline in the form of standing in front of a mirror every morning for five or 10 minutes, faithfully counting every stretch mark and fat pocket. As we all know, the greatest sin is vanity, so that time spent with my reflection ensures that any excessive pride in my appearance is quashed under the heel of nature and age.
To my mind, tardiness is the eighth deadly sin, so in order to avoid it I drive as fast as I can to work. I prefer to arrive at my desk before anyone else in order to inspire them to work harder, so I get to work by 7:30. It helps define my sense of purpose.
Gossip is a necessary evil, so the first portion of my work day is spent catching up on the goings on of my loved ones near and far. The kids like to call it Facebooking; I simply refer to it as “catching up on the day’s news.” My favorite activity is making sure all of my loved ones do not make any grammatical errors on their Facebook posts. I do this by publicly calling their attention to any errant apostrophes or misspellings. Shame, as we all know, is a valuable tool to have in your back pocket.
I toil hard all day. And then, come evening, I retire early, safe in my conviction that I am leading my best possible life. We country folk, we like to get up early.


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