Tom Purcell is a syndicated humor columnist.

Here’s another interesting COVID-enabled trend to ponder: More Americans are leaving big cities and the suburbs to live in rural communities, according to

I hope the trend grows because it would be good for the American psyche.

As it goes, the move to the country makes a lot of sense to some people.

In rural America, you can buy more land and bigger houses for a lot less money. That’s great for retirees.

With crime on the uptick in big cities, more Americans are seeking low-crime rural areas.

And now that remote work has become common, why not move into the wilderness and enjoy nature every day?

My house is located on the edge of the suburbs on a tract of land surrounded by trees. While the suburbs are on one side of my humble homestead, rural America is immediately on the other.

My rural neighbors have long been suspicious of me.

I barely know how to start, let alone fix, a tractor motor. Worst of all, I hire people to do work on my house, instead of doing it myself.

It’s hard for me to forget one regrettable instance in which I got a flat tire on my wheelbarrow.

I strapped the thing into my sedan’s trunk and headed up the long hill to my neighbor’s house for help.

As I neared his home, I saw him with his friends: the first friend was the guy who bulldozed my driveway, the second was the guy who painted my house and the third was the guy who gave me an estimate on my gutters.

I saw in their eyes a look of sickening distress — a distress that turned to disgust when they saw a gun rack in the rear window of my Nissan Maxima, which I’d installed with the hope of ingratiating myself with them.

My suburban neighbors on the other side are equally suspicious of me.

I told them I’m a writer who works out of his home, but they are certain I’m in the witness protection program.

Suburban people don’t understand rural folk.

Suburbans are sheltered from many of life’s difficulties. A man is celebrated, not shunned, by other suburban men for hiring a landscaper to mow his lawn.

If our government’s reckless cycle of spending and debt eventually causes everything to come crashing down, my suburban neighbors will likely lose their jobs and their homes, but my rural neighbors will carry on without missing a beat.

Rurals are self-sufficient and fiercely independent. They grow and hunt their own food. They build their own homes.

They preserve the ingenious “can-do” American spirit, never backing down from a problem until they resolve it.

This was once the land of hardy pioneers who only wanted to be left alone to create their own homesteads and freely pursue their happiness.

That sentiment, no longer alive or well in urban America, still thrives in rural America.

People who resettle in rural communities soon realize they must be more self-reliant. Big-city hospitals are far away. The niceties of suburban malls require a long drive.

But working with your hands, fending for yourself and reconnecting with nature has a way of making you sensible. We used to call it “horse sense.”

Goodness knows our country is running short on horse sense these days. Hopefully, as more Americans relocate to rural America, we’ll get more of it.

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Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at

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(7) comments

James Chandler

I know some of this is written in jest but I think it rings true for most of America. The proof is in the voting maps you see after every Presidential election. Rural areas who are majority conservative are red and major metropolitan areas, even in red states, are blue. Our views tend to reflect our times but we forget how far our world has advanced just in the last 100 years. There is still 300,000+ years where man had to rely on himself to survive. That's a lot of human nature to reprogram. Dependence on the government teat takes away a person's initiative, sense of self reliance, and their self confidence to depend on themselves. Also, human beings were blessed by God with a sense of generosity. When a government takes something away from one to give to another, it removes the joy a person receives from directly helping a fellow human being in need and removes any accountability for the recipient. In a nutshell, that is why liberal policies have destroyed our country. Someday when the teat goes dry, there will be total chaos as proven most recently in Venezuela.

Mike Gomez

Yeah, liberal policies like Medicare, Social Security, Civil and Voting rights...Lol Venezuela, they just stay away from the same canned answers.

Quincy Thompson

Mike, when you told of your media support with the subscription to the Washington Post, the liberal blog of Jeff Bezos, you just blew any possibility of creditability with me and many of the people on line. Now I know the basis of your "Dogma" and am sorry for you. As I have stated, many years ago I was a Dem until I woke up and realized where the party was going, if you ever wake up we will welcome you, that's how inclusive we are.

Mike Gomez

Quincy I don’t need your pity or your approval nor do I care about your life history and certainly don’t want to become one of you or your ilk.

Glenn Wilson

Nice try Mike, but you well know that those aren't the teat Quincy was referring to. You can do better than that.

Mike Gomez

Glenn,I was making the point that I wanted to make. I am entitled to that. I could care less what Quincy was referring to. I don’t really care if you think I can do better than that. That’s just your opinion

Quincy Thompson

Mr. Chandler this was a great article but your response was superb!

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