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Redneck Economics

There is a group of folks—varied in degrees, I might add—who are commonly known as rednecks. I am among said group, but consider myself to be far to one side of the scale, and at times unrecognizable as one of the members.

One particular facet of the group—mostly men, but I’ve come across a few ladies who fit the bill—believe it is only necessary to work when they run out of money. Typically, they have very few bills—utilities and a cell phone are the most common—and as a general rule they are two to three months behind on the monthly installments for those basic necessities. Another basic to the lifestyle is an older car or pickup—paid for—which is usually uninsured and often broke-down.

The following is a perfect illustration:

redneck-golfer-9688051On one of the many Saturdays my buddy Jaybird and I played golf while I lived in Spicewood Beach, we were accompanied by several of the local rednecks that subscribe to the theory of redneck economics. Jaybird, by the way, is one of the hardest working guys I know. I jokingly called him a slacker one day, and he still holds me in contempt for the remark. Every now and then—out of the blue—he’ll look at me with fire in his eyes and say, “Slacker, huh?”

One of the guys among the seven or eight in our “foursome” was a long-haired fellow in his late forties. Our little golf course was never crowded, so the group could sometimes be more than the prescribed four that applies on a “real” golf course. We had a hard-and-fast rule though: No more than eight to a foursome.

This guy was the epitome of the sub-group I speak of, and while we were standing in one of the fairways, waiting our turn to hit, he sighed and said, “Jaybird, looks like I’m gonna have to git back to work.” It was common knowledge he hadn’t worked for a month or so.

Jaybird sarcastically replied, “Sorry to hear that, bub. How come you have to go back to work?”

The guy turned his head slowly, stared at Jaybird with one eye closed and the other one narrowed to a slit. The expression on his face was one that imparted the idea, he didn’t know if he should fight Jaybird, or leave him alone because he was just plain stupid. Finally, the suspense at a riveting pitch, he spit on the ground then looked back at Jaybird and said—he said this as if he were talking to someone who couldn’t understand English, or the basic principles of life in general–“I’m out of freakin’, money, dumb-ass!”

I cannot explain “redneck economics” any better than that.

 

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Family Reunion

boy and watermelonWe’re in north central Alabama this morning to attend a Henderson family reunion. My paternal grandmother was a Henderson, and I vaguely remember attending the reunion when I was six or seven years old. The main reason I remember it is we stopped somewhere on our way from Texas and bought a huge watermelon. Dad said it weighed fifty pounds, but he was always pulling my leg, so… who knows? He put it on the floor right in front of me—I loved watermelon—and I rode the rest of the way with my feet on the gigantic melon and a grin just as big on my skinny little face.

I wonder if folks will remember me if I walk in carrying a fifty pound watermelon? Well… the fact is, I’m not a skinny little boy anymore, and they might think I have a fifty pound watermelon under my shirt!

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Some Peoples’ Cats

The only cat I ever owned was an orange and white striped little ball of terror I named, Nashville after the 1966 hit song, Nashville Cats, by The Lovin’ Spoonful. The cat was cool in a terrifying kind of way.

Problem was, you see, I was not necessarily meant to own a cat. I played pretty rough with the little critter, and loved to scare the daylights out of him every chance I got. The roughhousing made him mean, and constantly scaring him caused him to be sneaky.

Nashville catAs the ornery little critter started growing up, he figured he owed some payback to humans, and I had to warn anybody who came to visit. Still, even when they knew it might happen, he still scared them pretty good. He’d hide behind the couch, or a curtain, and come flying out, pounce on a hand or foot, hiss, growl, then vanish. I got used to it, but visitors… not so much.

I finally had to give Nashville away when my first son Billy was born. It was immediately apparent the cat thought the new human in the cage (crib) was fair game, and the first time we found it crouched below the crib twitching its tail, it was goodbye, Nashville Cat. We gave him to some “friends” of ours. Funny… they never spoke to us after that.

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Cousins

And, here it is, the real deal hanging in our new living room! And, it’s only fitting that the smaller pictures to the right of the clock are of Ma and Pa, my maternal grandparents. They were a huge part of our lives when we were young.

This painting, “Joy Ride”, by David Uhl—brother to our precious friend, Paula (Polly) Uhl Snyder, spoke to me the moment I saw it.

Joy Ride by David Uhl 1

Memories of my childhood with my cousins roared to life in my mind, especially some of those with my best friend/cousin, Eddy Madden. The joy we shared—all my cousins—as one big family when we were growing up is etched in my memory and never fails to make me smile—and often laugh—when I recall the times we spent together. How lucky were we to grow up in a simple time where simple things—just being together—could live in our minds and hearts forever.

Joy Ride by David Uhl

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Little Brothers and Others

brothers quote

That’s why I like the Internet. It has brought many of us closer, and though things still aren’t the same as they were back in the good ol’ days, it beats the way it was before the Internet came along.

It’s also true with friends—some I’ve yet to meet in person. The Internet has caused my family to not only grow closer, but to grow larger, and I like it!

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Pure Freedom

Are we free? Do we even know what freedom is? It seems to be a fleeting thing; disappearing as we punch the clock, or slide into our seat for first period, on Monday morning. So many times, we feel trapped by our circumstances, and too often we ask ourselves, “Am I really free?” Freedom is a state of mind, and there are times we soar like eagles lifted by the winds of happiness, and then there are times we come crashing to earth in the throes of a life that is sometimes cruel. Freedom… sometimes we just have to race full-tilt toward it, jerk back on the handlebars and let it lift us into the air. Being able to do that, my friends… is pure freedom.

kid on bike 2Freedom is a memory; a memory we can carry with us and relive when life seems hard or unfair. Freedom is a feeling like the feeling I had on that glorious Saturday morning—the first day of summer vacation:

Yes! In those precious moments I was free! Free from the rigors and trials of fifth grade, the screaming and crying at home, and from the very earth. In those few seconds, I felt a freedom that was complete and real, and I wished I could just keep on climbing into the sky and disappear forever.

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‘At Ain’t No Bunk!

Ah seed a young feller in a lil blue car

Ah node ride away heez a row-day-o star

Is bucket-sized at wuz black azz night

Wuz a look on ‘is face, sayed he’s a ready ta fight

 

calf roper

Ah node loss a cowboyz long time aygo

Most from a drugstore an not row-day-os

They chawed toobaca, cussed an drunk beer

Wore pointy-toe boots an was never afeared

 

They rode ‘em a bull, wuz juss a machine

An roped a old cow a munchin its feed

Them boyz wood fight if a dood drop ‘is ‘at

Or if a consarn galoot hit dare boot winny spat

 

Yep, ah use-ta ride wit a orneree bunch

We rode are horze an got are nose puncht

Them wuz a dayz when we wuz fulla some spunk

Now it’s cowchiz we ride, an ‘at ain’t no bunk

 

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

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