Good morning. Ya'll come on in and sit a spell for I have a need to talk today. Yesterday I had a busy day with filling in for the church secretary for a little while and then a funeral. Not sure why I'm so tired but I am. Maybe it's age creeping up on me but sometimes it feels like its galloping rather than creeping. I couldn't sleep this morning so got up and began drinking one of my several cups of coffee. Got to get that caffeine in the system to get it cranked up.
Been thinking about something that bothers me a little. As you know I was born and raised in the South and have lived in the South all my life. It is who I am and who I will always be and proud of it but it bothers me that some people make fun of our men. I am speaking of the term "Redneck." For most men I know, this is an honorable title but some have just flat messed it up with a bunch of stereotypes so I am going to give you my thoughts.
The Redneck is often portrayed as a tobacco chewing, fat, beer-drinking, rude and crude man who scratches his privates in public and is poor. Now I know a few of these men but they are not true rednecks but Southern trash. The difference in Southern trash and rednecks is wide as the Alabama River. Trash don't want no better and Rednecks work hard to make it better. Trash can be just plain lazy but most rednecks I know are hard working men of character. Sometimes they are a character but that's what makes them interesting. Rednecks have pride in being a redneck but trash is just trash and bless their hearts.
As in all stereotypes there are many, many sub-groups and as in all groups there are good, bad and who knows what they are. I am speaking in generalities for I've know some so-called Southern Gentlemen who were as trashy as trash just looked good, smelled good and were plain sorry. It's difficult to tell a book by its cover and a man by his appearance - they both can fool you.
A popular definition of a Redneck says that the term describes individuals having a red neck caused by working outdoors in the sunlight over the course of their lifetime. The effect of decades of direct sunlight on the exposed skin of the back of the neck not only reddens fair skin, but renders it leathery and tough, and typically very wrinkled by late middle age. I like this definition for in a scholarly way tells you that these men are hard working, men who work outside. Their necks are red as a result honest labor which is a mark of distinction.
Now as in any label given to people, there are sub-groups of Rednecks. Our daddy was a redneck for he was born and raised on a farm, worked in the fields, graduated from Mississippi State with an agriculture degree, worked for the Dept. of Agriculture helping farmers. He gardened, had cows, chickens and 1 horse for awhile. Yes his neck was red from working outside but he didn't like NASCAR, chewing tobacco, beer, and cars on cement blocks in the front yard. His neck was red and he had a farmer's tan from farming to make our lives better.
He was what I call the Gentleman Redneck. These are men who wear the mark of a farmer but also work in an office and don't drink beer, spit tobacco juice, scratch their rears and wear their pants underneath their beer bellies. Like most rednecks he liked to fish and hunt to put food on the table, farm, plain spoken, loved his family, mannerly and sometimes a little shy. He was raised by a good, Southern, mama who loved to work on the farm and taught her children respect for their elders. He was a redneck gentleman farmer with a profession.
Our son is this kind of redneck for he doesn't farm except for a garden, doesn't chew tobacco, or have a beer belly but does like NASCAR. He respects his elders or his mama would spank him even if he is a grown man, likes to fish and hunt a little, speaks plainly, uses "ain't" unless his mama is there to correct him, has good manners and loves God, family and country. He is a conservative, Christian, and respects himself and others. He is also a gentleman redneck and fathered one also.
My husband is a cross between city boy, country boy, Southern Gentleman with a little redneck sprinkled in. He likes to garden, has good manners, raised by a good, Southern mama, fish, hunt occasionally, little shy, and good looking. He doesn't like NASCAR but likes SEC football and Braves baseball. He has a redneck on occasion from working in the yard or a little gardening. He does not have a beer belly, spit tobacco juice or scratch his behind. Like I said, these 3 men in my life all have some redneck tendencies but temper it with Southern Gentleman. Many men here in the South are this kind of man.
Now we do have some certified redneck friends with many of the tendencies this describes. One friend is a slow-talking, slow-walking, humorous man who loves and respects the women in his life, hunts, fishes and then soaks in his hot tub. He loves God and country and is not ashamed to show it. He does not have a beer belly or wear his pants below his stomach but does drive a pickup truck and loves to tell a good joke.
He was telling me the other day that he had to shoot his rooster. You see the big rooster had scratched his wife's legs for no reason at all except he was ornery but that's not why he shot him. It seems the rooster pecked a hole in all his tomatoes which were just about ready to slice for 'mater sandwiches and that is an unforgivable sin. So he did what any self-respecting redneck would do, got his gun and his 4-wheeler and hunted that rooster down and shot him plus most of the other chickens just in case they had participated. You just don't mess with our tomatoes down here in the South.
One of the tendencies of our redneck young men is to have a truck jacked up high so they don't get stuck on the ruts of dirt roads. This can happen when you are trying to get to that sweet fishing hole or your deer stand. It also comes in handy if you are boggin'. That is a big sport down here where you get a field all soaked in water and try to see how many times you can run through it with your truck and how much mud you can splash on your truck and the other trucks. It's kinda like mud wrestling with your truck. You leave home with a clean truck, your pretty little girl friend and come home with a truck so muddy you can't tell the make or model.
The next morning they all park in the grocery store parking lot and see who has the muddiest truck while they exaggerate how pretty their girl friend is. The one thing that bothers me is how do you get in these trucks. Do you take a running leap, have a step stool, or does the boy boost you in by your rear end. I have got to ask some of my good friends who have one of these trucks. I know one thing, it is hard to get in with a tight prom dress on unless it is split to the waist which may be why they have these types of trucks.
This is a subject I could ramble on for hours but I am going to take a break and continue the saga another time. Just note that I like redneck men! They are so cute with their little curls hanging out from under that cap, that shy little grin, slow talking, slow walking and always opening the doors for the ladies. They are the best if mixed in with the Southern Gentleman - the best of 2 worlds.
Ya'll come back to see me and share another cup of coffee.
The Georgia Peach