Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Redneck Love

Wow, does that title sound like a back room rental or what?

I don't know what brought about Katherine's ode to rednecks but I so want to play too. You can read the post here that inspired me. It is a good read, with interesting characters and message about how human nature is essentially the same across the cultural divide. All you can ask for in a blog post really.

I have a thing for rednecks. I am on the fringes of redneckdom. I walk among them. I even qualified as deep in the heart of redneckness back as a little barefoot girl wandering bluegrass festivals with my dog. Feeling at home amongst the biker gangs and dirt of it all. Before my parent's divorce I spent my early childhood in an old country schoolhouse, surrounded by farms and orchards where I roamed free and wild. I was a kid that knew how to remove leeches from my skin, shoot a bow and arrow, be alone for a long time and survive, name all the birds and trees, and respect nature. It shaped me. After the divorce came the visits amongst the aforementioned festival type atmosphere until I lost track of my dad until college. That is a long story, but a good one, but has nothing whatsoever to do with rednecks, so I will spare you.

Anyway, when my dad popped back into my life he looked a lot like this... I give you the rednecks in my life, example number 1.

Okay, he is a little rougher here than he was then. But he is way more cleaned up in this picture than he was when he met my husband, which is another good story. If anything my dad is one for telling and creating a good story.

To be fair, here is a pic of the man that is less scary.

My dad is an interesting soul. He is at home with no electricity sleeping under the stars for months on end or in a 5 star hotel. He can and has mingled with people of influence on and off and then tromped back to his remote home in the mountains. I have probably met the most interesting people I've encountered so far on this planet when I have visited him. From scary-ass men with wild-eyes straight from the militia handbook, to people so sweet hearted that you can't believe their soul is tethered to this earth. He's deep, educated, rough, strong, sensitive, with brutal wit. Does he consider himself a 'redneck'. He told me once that everyone was a redneck, so I guess he thinks so. Does he qualify? Not in the hollywood version perhaps, but if he was to fall into any category then it would have to be this one, and I do it with upmost respect.

The other main redneck in my life is my stepson. Here he is looking rather normal actually. Usually, the beard is longer, more unkempt. For some reason I don't drag out the camera that often when it is like that.
Here is a kid that was birthed by a woman in under two hours who demanded to be released from the hospital practically immediately. When they wouldn't release her she took her baby and left. Granted, I am talking about my husband's ex-wife here and yes, like anyone's ex there lies mountainous baggage, long and not good stories. But that side of her, that strong girl, 'get the hell outta' my way or I'll whup yer butt' part of her, makes her one of my heroes.

When it comes to having kids and birthing them the image in my head of her is like a mother wolf. While I can say much about her that I dislike, I have to admit that she is someone who is not afraid to make fireworks with her kid and help him blow them up. She raised her son to know how to use an axe, skin his own 'pet' rabbits for dinner, hunt for his food and fix it too... all that classic, good redneck stuff. And while I suppose I am making this about the mother, really it is about the kid. A kid that is part mine by default. Holy crap, I have a kid that can skin a rabbit. And I love his 'keep the heck out of my business' strong attitude that he shares with his mama. (That is driving her crazy right now though. He, he, he.... And all I can say to her is like mama, like son biotch. She is an ex, after all.) Does he think he is a redneck? Heck yeah, and proud of it.

What about us? Well, my husband was raised knee deep in redneck nation. For example, his dad and grandpa would take him and his brothers (and sister!) to deer camp. While the older two boys were hunting with the (drunk) adults, the younger boys and girl had their daily allotment of ammo and handguns to 'play' with. This was so they could shoot all the little varmits with their handguns to 'keep them out of trouble', of course. Yep, that's redneck, and many of his relatives are still dripping with it and most are lovely folk. My husband respectfully bowed out from the lifestyle before we met and I can't even get the man to go camping with us. But as I said we are on the fringes, with those we love firmly listed in the redneck directory.

And through my experience I've met Harvard grads working in landscaping, my above mentioned dad has been a teacher his whole life with I believe a couple graduate degrees. My second father - who was a doctor of chiropractic, left a successful practice to go become some kind of horse whisperer, though I don't know if that is redneck or just plain crazy, really. But my point is I agree with Katherine, that folks are folks. Only I don't know if it is about smell as much as it is about hair that sets people apart. But whatever it is that seems different, people are the same under it all. Fearing or looking down upon the things that seemingly set us apart is a waste of passion and imagination.


Katherine said...

I look for a quote from each of my blogging sisters to put on my blog. Boooya, I just found yours!

Mommylion said...

Woo-hoo, I am quoted on your sidebar! :)