Rural By Choice: Sweet Ila Mae’s
Sisters Rachel Davis and Megan Dodson of Quebec, Tennessee, live just minutes from each other in homes built by family members. Besides a commitment to their home town and loyalty to family, the two also share a business that attracts hundreds of visitors to their small town.
Megan Dodson: I am a wife and mommy to two sweet little girls, a clothing boutique owner, and a host of Sweet Ila Mae's barn sale. I love spending time with my little family in our country home.
DY: Where do you live?
RD: We live at the end of a long dirt road in a little cottage. We are surrounded by farmland, trees, livestock, and open spaces. The kind of place where you go to bed with the sound of crickets chirping and wake up with roosters crowing.
MD: You remember those walks down an old gravel road to your grandparents when you spent your days playing outside by the old oak tree, drinking hot chocolate and coke floats and roasting marshmallows and catching lightening bugs at night? Well, that’s the place I live! I am so grateful to wake up in the home my grandparents built, the house I made so many memories in. I wake up and look at Pa's old fence he built for Granny in the back yard and the farm they worked hard to have all around me.
DY: How did you come to live where you do? How long have you lived there, and how long do you plan to stay?
RD: I have lived at The Mae Place for seven years. My dad inherited the land from his family several years ago. After he retired, he began farming here. He is the most talented man I know. He designed and built the little cottage where we live. There's so much sentiment behind our precious home, I don't plan to ever leave.
MD: Both my grandparents passed away before I graduated high school. A short time after I graduated I moved in and have no plans of leaving. I have lived here for 10 years, but really it’s been my whole life.
RD: I have always lived in the country. It really is the only way of life I know. There's something very special about family land that has been passed down for generations.
MD: I feel like I am caring on my grandparents wish. I think they would have wanted one of their four granddaughters to make it their own and fill it full of kids, good cooking and lots of love and laughter.
Do you have neighbors? What’s your community like?
RD: I live just a few minutes from my parents and sister. I have a couple of other neighbors who are driving distances away from my home.
MD: I am right in the middle of my parents and aunt and uncle. It's so handy when you run out of milk or eggs. We live in a cove on a dead end road. I see lots of trees, cows, mules and horses when I look out.
DY: What are the drawbacks of living in a rural community?
RD: It's really hard to think of any. We are close enough to town for conveniences, yet far enough out to feel the freedom of open air.
MD: Drawbacks? I cannot think of the first one.
DY: What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?
RD: We are one big family. The majority of us literally are! This is the place everybody knows everybody and are the most loyal of friends.