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Rural Route One
Ronda Rich
When I was a child growing up, our address was simply Rural Route One. Our road had no proper name and, for the first five years of my life, we shared a phone line with others. It was called a party line. It rang distinctively for each family so when the phone shrilled, Mama would always say, “Wait. Let’s count the rings and see if it’s ours.” I believe our signal was two short rings and one long one. When I was six and we were awarded a private line by the phone company, it was a happy day. Especially since our party line had been shared by my first grade teacher and once she, rightly, suspected that I had been listening in on her conversation. In my mind, I was doing nothing wrong. I was simply doing what I do today – I was gathering stories for retelling. The best part about having a private line was that I was then able to call a local bank that had a recording that answered with a rooster crowing then announced the time and temperature. That rooster was the only person I knew to call.