Why just days ago I was buzzing down the highway and as I passed the used junk store a flash of color caught my eye. Lo and behold, there stood the ultimate redneck patio table set. It is the season you know.
It was one of those large wooden cable spools, laid on its side and painted a bright neon sunshine yellow. It was accompanied by four very yellow plastic chairs and obviously sold as a set.
It is nothing out of the ordinary to see such redneck culture in my world. I’ve come to revere the ingenuity of the lifestyle.
More often than not, frugal is carried to new heights — or lows, depending how you look at it. A qualified redneck is a regular patron at any and all auctions held within a two hour driving distance of home and where bargains need not have an identifiable label or use. If the price is right, it will have a new home.
One such prime example of redneckhood said that he had somehow become the proud owner of a Godzilla-size box of coffee filters. He has a percolator so does not use coffee filters. Not being wasteful, he utilized the filters as toilet paper. An added benefit was that it often kept company from over-staying their welcome.
Rednecks are born into the definition.
Some years back, I was watching the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” on television. It is very funny when you hear what is so true told in stories in which you recognize your relatives.
My son was about 10 years old at the time and after a number of Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” jokes he asked, “Mom, what is a redneck?”
I looked directly at him and said, “You are.”
He immediately laid his hand on his neck and started to ask the logical question. I quickly explained that it didn’t mean the color of his neck exactly. It was more about his closet full of camouflage clothing, the hunting stories he already had stored in his memory and dreams of owning bigger guns, more ATVs and better hunting hounds.
Like the two generations before him, he wears a tag that is supposed to explain how we think and what we like. It seems normal to us and before they came up with the label “redneck,” it had no name, except maybe “hillbilly.”
Not long after this revealing moment in family genealogy, this same boy spent some time grounded from the television except for allowable educational programming. When I set the terms and conditions for his viewing, I had no idea how difficult it would be for this genetically predisposed redneck child to determine what was educational.
In passing through the room, I had to point out to him that “County Music Television” was not considered educational programming.
“Well okay then. Mom, is “Gunsmoke” educational?”
I knew then that the road to civilization was going to be a tricky, slippery slope. And that very likely, I wasn’t the one with the skills to teach him. After all, I was part of those redneck genetics.
Time to clean the shotgun.
Julie can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.