Once upon a time, a Town Mouse visited a cousin who lived in the country. For lunch, the Country Mouse served wheat stalks, roots and acorns. The Town Mouse ate very sparingly, only nibbling at his food, and making it plain that he was only eating to be polite. After the meal, the Town Mouse bragged about how nice his life was in the city, while the Country Mouse quietly listened. They then went to bed in a cozy little nest and slept in quiet and comfort until morning. In his sleep, the Country Mouse dreamed he was a Town Mouse with all of the luxuries and delights of city life that his friend had described. He wanted to live in a big fancy house, eat sumptuous meals and experience the exciting nightlife of the big city.
So the next day the Town Mouse asked the Country Mouse to go home with him to the city. When they reached the mansion in which the Town Mouse lived, they found the table in the dining room the leftovers of a very fine banquet. There were meats, jellies, pastries and delicious cheeses . . . the most tempting foods that a mouse can imagine.
But just as the Country Mouse was about to nibble a bit of pastry, he heard a Cat mew loudly and scratch at the door. In great fear, the two mice scurried to a hiding place, where they lay quite still for a long time, hardly daring to breathe. When at last they ventured back to the feast, the door opened suddenly, and in came the servants to clear the table, followed by the House Dog. When nighttime arrived, the Country Mouse could not sleep because of a loud party in the mansion that lasted all night. Before daybreak, he decided to leave. The Country Mouse stopped in the Town Mouse's den only long enough to pick up his carpet bag and umbrella. As he escaped from the big city, he witnessed other mice and rats sleeping on the sidewalks. He heard gunshots and sirens, and he was almost run over by hundreds of speeding cars. His nerves were at wit's end.
When he arrived back at his little home in the country, he called his Town Mouse cousin. "You may have luxuries and dainties that I have not, but I prefer my plain food and simple life in the country with the peace and security that go with it . . . I love my life as a Country Mouse. I would not trade places with you, my cousin, for a mansion and all of the cheese in the world. I pray that you will be happy and stay safe."
The Town Mouse lived just a few more years in the big city. He lived a hectic life, became overweight from consuming rich foods, and took pills daily to calm his nerves. Sadly, one day his foot was caught in a mousetrap, and the House Cat finished him off. The Country Mouse lived a simple life, spent many wonderful times with his friends and neighbors, raised a family, and lived to a ripe old age . . . at his cozy little home . . . in Montgomery County, Indiana.
When I watch the news and see what is happening . . . the crime, the riots, the demonstrations, the poverty and homelessness, the traffic congestion . . . in large cities like Chicago, New York, LA, Portland, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Detroit, etc. . . . and yes, even Indianapolis, I thank the Lord above that I live here in good ol' Montgomery County. That is not to say that we don't have some problems that need to be addressed, but our problems in no way compare to what is transpiring in our major cities today.
I will admit it. I am a Country Mouse. I hope, for the sake of my kids and grandkids, that our county leaders do not try to "go big" like Lafayette has done. I feel very fortunate to have lived in a rural community with close-knit small towns and a mid-sized county seat . . . with friendly people and caring neighbors.
Yes, Dorothy . . . "There's no place like home."

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.