I was raised one step away from the country. We didn’t live on farms but it was fairly rural. I didn’t realize what a different experience that is from city folk until my dad and I tried to take Z for a walk over Christmas.

We headed out their driveway and turned left onto the road. We’d gone a few steps when this little voice behind us said, “Guys? This isn’t a safe decision.” Z was still in the driveway staring at us as we walked straight up the center of the road. I mean where else would you walk when there is a bunch of snow? Sure we were close to a top of a hill but anyone who would be driving over that hill would not be surprised to find people walking in the middle of the road.

I told her that we weren’t in the city anymore and there were no such things as sidewalks there. She followed us even though her instinct to trust adults was obviously at war with her instinct for self preservation.

Then we saw that the parents of my best friend growing up had some strange swing-like contraption hanging from a tree in their front yard. It was not obvious how it worked. Since I had spent almost as much time there as at my own house as a kid and since that tree had once broken my arm, I wasn’t shy about walking over to try to figure out the swing. My dad followed. While we were contemplating this mystery Z asked, (from her spot in the middle of street) “Guys? Should you be doing that?” I told her that we knew these people and requested that she jump on the swing to try to figure out what it did. That was too much for her. Apparently you DON’T wander into people’s yards and play on their toys. Who knew?

Then I thought that I better explain things before Z told her mother, “Heather says you’re supposed to walk down the center of the street!” She agreed that this strange turn of events was at this location only and only because my father and I are terribly bad influences.