Country Mouse, City Mouse: A Multi-Cultural Cowbell Experience

By Piper Bayard

What happens when you put a Country Mouse and a City Mouse in the same fish bowl? Two very different perceptions of reality!

Jenny and I didn’t anticipate it, but that’s exactly what happened when Jenny visited at my home on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. I’m an intellectual redneck from the Southwest, and Jenny is from L.A. (pronounced “LaLa-Land” in these parts). The result was a multi-cultural experience with lots of laughs and a certain level of “What the hell?”

Jenny and Piper out hiking in the "country."

Jenny and Piper out hiking in the “country.”

I showed Jenny around my stomping grounds and gave her the full sales pitch, trying to convince her to break out of the madness she calls home in Southern California and move closer. One day we went driving through a stretch of houses spaced out on five and ten acre lots.

Jenny: “I think my hubby would like driving out here through the country now and then, but he wouldn’t want to live this far away from a town.”

Piper: “Umm . . . This IS town.”

Jenny: Huh.

A few of the elk we saw that day.

A few of the elk we saw that day.

Then we headed up to Estes Park and strolled through a golf course. Around fifty elk poured out of the forest, only a stone’s throw away, and a bald eagle joined the party, circling overhead.

Jenny: “Wow! I’ve never seen so many elk.”

Piper: “I wonder where the rest of them are?”

The day treated us to the sight of bulls defending their territory and sparring in preparation for the full-on rutting season. We thought we were going to get to see the blood sacrifice of tourists, as well, when two men of questionable IQ seemed to think it might be cool to stand IN THE MIDDLE of an elk herd.

[In case you don’t know, that’s a seriously bad idea, particularly around rutting season. Even Jenny knew that.]

In a role reversal moment, the City Mouse had the sense to sit in the car while this Country Mouse got the Elk Selfie. Note how I strategically kept a tourist between myself and the bull elk, as is evidenced by the leg coming out of the side of my head in the picture.

Piper's Elk Selfie

Piper’s Elk Selfie

*Jenny, off-camera in the car thinking, “She’s out of her mind.”*

Perhaps the most telling moment was the night the two of us were driving home on a dark dirt road in the back country, i.e. three hundred yards from a large subdivision. At a curve in the road, two scrubbed and primped teenagers stood beside their white Toyota, which was pointed straight into the bar ditch.

Jenny interrupting here: I saw a car, two people and a dark road with no lights. I should note, I would never drive down this road at night, unlike my partner in crime, Piper.

[Back to Piper]

To me, they were clearly suburban high schoolers out on a date. I started to slow down.

Jenny: “What are you doing? Don’t stop! Don’t stop!”

Piper thought bubble: Hmm. Jenny must need to get home and pee really bad.

I stopped and rolled down Jenny’s window.

Jenny thought bubble: We’re all gonna die.

Piper: “Do you kids need any help? Can we give you a ride or call someone for you?”

Jenny thought bubble: Holy crap! What is wrong with this woman?

Young man: “Thanks, but we have someone coming.”

Jenny: “What happened?”

Young man: “A coyote ran in front of us, and I swerved to miss it.”

Piper thought bubble: “What the hell was this kid thinking, risking their lives that way? City boy.”

Jenny to young woman: “That’s a fine young man you have there.”

Young woman: *snickers into hands*

Piper: “So you’re okay? Do you want us to stay with you until your people get here?”

Jenny thought bubble: I am not getting out of this car on this dark road with these strangers. Young people can be ax murderers too.

Young man: “No, thanks. We’ll be fine.”

Jenny to young woman: “You have a nice young man here.”

Piper to young woman: “Watch how he treats his mama. He’ll treat you the way he treats his mama.”

Young woman thought bubble: Who the hell talks like that? *hides laughter with hands*

Young man thought bubble: Crap. I’d better be nicer to my mom.

We went on our way down the dark dirt road and managed to get home in one piece, in spite of suburban coyotes and feral teens on the prowl that night.

[Jenny jabs finger at Piper: “Hey! Sarcasm works the same in both places, you know.”]

City Mouse Jenny in the "country." Note the park bench. The "country" doesn't have park benches.

City Mouse Jenny in the “country.”
Note the park bench. Who knew “the country” had park benches up on the mountain?

Overall, we had a great visit. I only hope I convinced her to come on over to the dark side and join me out here in the “country.” We’ve got peanut butter banana sandwiches to go with our cookies.

Are you a Country Mouse or a City Mouse? What experience have you had out of your geographic element? [And whose side are you on in terms of stopping on unlit back roads at night? ]

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Bayard & Holmes Official PhotoPiper Bayard is a bestselling author and a recovering attorney. Her spy thriller writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror.

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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37 Responses to Country Mouse, City Mouse: A Multi-Cultural Cowbell Experience

  1. LauraDrake says:

    Oh Piper, nice full court press, but it SO isn’t going to happen. Suburbs of Denver? Sure. Estes Park? Nope. She is a cute city mouse though, isn’t she?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Love it! Especially the head bubbles. Great advice for the gal teen, too, Piper!

    I’m a suburban mouse, so I guess that’s closest to city. I like “visiting” the country, but I’m too fond of short-commute errands, streetlights, elk-free backyards, and a nearby Whole Foods to ever seriously consider living in the country. I don’t think my little Hyundai station wagon would handle those snowy mountain roads, either. 😉

    But it sounds like a fun adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m LIVING my out-of-my-element here in Texas. (Sorry, PBR Writer. It’s true.) This PA gal can’t get used to bumps being called hills, vertically challenged mesquite trees, and autumns that last one day. (Green, brown, KER-PLUNK).

    On the elk front? We nearly delivered one to Avis on our last trip to Banff. Rut was in full swing. We saw a bull with his harem in a pasture near the road and pulled over to get a picture. The bull must have seen his reflection in the SUV window. He charged. We were warned that they’ll do that — charge their own reflection, thinking it’s a rival bull. [Selfish philanderers. With the size of his harem, I don’t think the cows got more than one piece of action IYKWIM during the entire rut season.]

    Our idiotic photo op genius friend in the front passenger seat had his window down and kept shouting at my husband to “Wait! I want this picture!” His wife was trying to crawl into my lap to get away from the Bulls obvious crash point. Hubby barely got the car in gear in time.

    That picture? All you can see are two black spots (nostrils) a white mist (condensation from his breath) and two red dots (KILLER angry eyes).

    [Oh, look! A novella masquerading as a comment. Considers tightening word count. Discards notion.]

    Jenny Jo you big chicken city mouse, civilization does exist beyond parking lots called the 405. ERK! Did I just screw up my welcome for my overdue visit to California?

    FUN post, you two. I can only imagine…

    Heavy sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      No, you could never screw up your welcome! No one likes the 405. No one. I only take it if I must, and LA gives me the hives now that I’m down here in the more-suburban Orange County.

      That being said, when I lived in Missouri, I loved the medium-sized towns: Columbia, Springfield, Branson. Really big and really small just feel odd to me. I definitely loved having seasons though. It was great to be in Colorado in the Fall.


      • Piper Bayard says:

        Branson is a big city. It was a town back in 1898 when a mob tried to drag my great uncle out of the one room jailhouse to lynch him. The sheriff gave my uncle his Winchester and told the mob, “Okay. You can come in, but I just gave Bud his Winchester.” The mob dispersed. My uncle was later cleared of the triple murder he was in for, as it was self-defense. . . . THAT’s when Branson was a town.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Piper Bayard says:

      What a hoot! I love how you describe your elk encounter.

      The mention of “hills” makes me laugh. There was one “hill” for thirty miles around in my hometown on the Texas border. It was so unique at maybe 75 feet tall that it even had its own name. 🙂


  4. Sounds like you hit all the highlights. Great job touring Jenny around our neck of the woods, Piper. Colorado rocks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Catie Rhodes says:

    “on a dark dirt road in the back country, i.e. three hundred yards from a large subdivision”

    ^^This cracked me up. So, Piper, are you saying y’all were driving around in what you consider “town” and Jenny thought it was the extreme boondocks?

    To answer your question, I’m a country mouse through and through.

    I know this for sure after spending 11 (yes, count ’em) miserable years in a Houston suburb. It was like living in a fishbowl…or maybe a cage in a zoo. I would drive half an hour out of my way just to drive past actual woods unbroken by dozens of identical house roofs.

    It didn’t matter to me that we had every kind of store imaginable, a city-cized mall, and a huge concert venue less than 8 miles from my house. I never went because I hated driving in the awful traffic. Plus, it would have taken an hour to get over there.

    Right now, I don’t have a home to go home to. It’s still better than the subdivision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Catie, I love visits to the country, but I’m a fan of living where the stuff is. 🙂

      I might not have stopped on a dark road at night, but I sure would have called the local police and let them know they had people in need of assistance. Piper? She’d have gotten right out of the car and tried to change their tire if they’d needed it. I’d have been standing at ready with the tire iron, making sure no one clobbered her and threw her in the trunk.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Piper Bayard says:

      LOL. Yes. We were spitting distance from a solid, middle class, no-crime subdivision. In other words, the road wasn’t even dark. You could see house lights a few feet away. Jenny was a stitch! I think I’ll take her to New Mexico next time so she can see some REAL boondocks.

      Hope you’re in your new home soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie Glover says:

    I think this is my issue of having lived almost my whole life in Texas and then trying to write novels with this setting. I don’t even realize some things are unusual. They’re just the way things are. I was surprised to find out recently that Texas seems to be the only place with a flower-as-big-as-the-Hulk Homecoming mum tradition. (I should write about that.)

    And of course I would drive down a poorly lit back road. Would I stop? Maybe. If they were in my neck-of-the-woods, probably.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Piper Bayard says:

      How could we get home if we didn’t drive down dark back roads, right?

      Good point about being in your neck of the woods. I’m far more likely to stop for people who are near my home (within 5 miles). I feel a certain responsibility or a sense of hospitality.

      Would love to see that flower-as-big-as-the-Hulk. Please do write about it. 🙂


  7. ericjbaker says:

    I’m a little bit of both (country and city mouse), though I’m probably more of a city mouse. I’ve watched too many horror movies about murderous redneck mountain inbreds to feel all that comfortable away from lights. Still, I periodic mountain getaway is good for the soul.

    Any special reason we are using the term “mouse” here? Is it a thing people say these days?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yvettecarol says:

    Would I drive down a dark back road? Hell, yes. My parents live in the country! There’s no other way to get there at night. Would I stop for two youngsters at night? Yes, esp. if they were in my district – and those two in your story obviously needed help – thank goodness for cell phones! Hilarious post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fun post ladies. I am definitely the country mouse. Coyotes running in front of vehicles any time of the day is a regular occurrence where I live. As well as deer, raccoon and the occasional bear. Many an unlucky driver has ended up in the ditch to avoid hitting some kind of mid-sized wildlife.

    And, I’d have to agree with you on the IQ of anyone wanting to venture into the middle of a pack of bull elk on the prowl. Seriously? Bad, bad, really bad idea.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Too much country for this city boy. I’ll just be happy with Central Park. Give me mass transit, delivery of every food imaginable, and no dangerous animals running around.

    Unless you count rats. Yes, we have plenty here. In herds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Central Park? I would never go someplace dangerous like that. Gives me the heebie jeebies to be someplace where only the criminals are allowed to have weapons. 🙂


  11. You guys crack me up. Sounds like a great visit. I lean more towards Country Mouse myself but I like to be within easy driving distance of a Target. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. karenmcfarland says:

    You girls are just silly and had way too much fun! Is there such a thing? lol. As for me, I can do both. I’ve lived in the city and country. I will say that I spend way less money on gas living in the city than I ever did in the country since you have to drive like forever to get anywhere. I think there’s pluses to both. I’m adaptable. Don’t ask my hubby. He’d laugh at that comment. 🙂


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