“Tractor” by grongar

I don’t exactly know what a redneck is, but I like being one.

I live in the deep South and for a lot of people that automatically makes me a redneck. I like to fish, too. Maybe that makes me a redneck. Want more proof? For a long time there, I owned a Dodge Challenger Super Bee with a 6.4 hemi. What does that tell you? I’ll tell you what it tells you. It tells you I am a redneck. At least, I guess it does.

I drive a twenty-year old pickup truck with patches of paint missing. There are long scratches and dents along the sides. My license plate is bent from where another truck crushed it when I was being pushed out of some mud. The mud was in my front yard.

A big part of being a redneck is getting your truck stuck in mud.

I have to open the tailgate with a pair of pliers because the latch is busted. No kidding, in the warm months there is usually sprouts of hay growing in the bed.

I’ve driven tractors and bailed hay. I’ve cut down trees with axes, hand saws and chainsaws. I’ve shelled crowder peas and cracked pecans. Shelling crowder peas turns your thumbnails green, because that’s what you use to cut open the shells. Before crowder pea picking time comes along, you let your thumbnails grow out some. Cracking pecans made my hands sore, because I cracked them by placing two in my hand and crushing one against the other. It wasn’t the smartest approach to cracking pecans, but every guy my age did it that way. It was sort of a thing.

I’ve held pigs by their hind legs while a man with a pocket knife castrated them. Another man painted mercurochrome on the wound when the knife man was done. They hollered, those pigs. Hollered like you wouldn’t believe. Like the world was coming to an end. Then I’d let them go and another guy dumped a small pile of corn on the ground in front of them. The screaming stopped like you threw a switch and the pig went to eating just as happy as could be.

No telling how much manure I’ve shoveled. Horse. Cow. Hog. Chicken. All varieties. If it came out of the back end of a farm animal, I’ve shoveled it. I’ve stepped in just about every kind and animal leavings, too. Goose is the worst. Goats is the best. A goat’s manure is a type of pellet, kinda like a rabbits. It doesn’t stick to your boots.

Maybe knowing so much about animal poop makes me a redneck. If it does, I must be one.

As a game, we used to go to a cow pasture, find dried discs of cow manure and throw them like Frisbees at each other. You haven’t lived until you had a dinner-plate sized flying hunk of cow manure explode on the back of your head or neck. Dried cow manure particles engulfs the target. It gets all down the back of your shirt. It gets in your hair and in your ears. Your mother hollers at you when you get home. She makes you strip down and hose off before you come in the house and take a shower.

We used to tease bulls until they chased us. We ran in a curve, because we were told it throws a bull’s targeting system off. Maybe it was true. Maybe it wasn’t. Anyone dumb enough to let a bull chase them can probably be convinced to believe anything.

If I am a redneck, then I can assure you fire is a big part of a redneck’s life.

I can’t tell you how many “burn barrels” I’ve stood around on chilly nights while wood I helped chop burned inside them. Some of the better moments of my life came about while I was standing around a burn barrel.

I’ve spent night upon night camping around a fire on sandbars on the Congaree river. I love to listen to an owl hollering at the world; telling all the other owls the king daddy is here and anyone who disagrees is in for a fight. Of course, someone takes exception and answers him back. A hoot war begins. The argument goes on for hours.

I am not sure whether or not listening to owls hoot all night makes me a redneck. If it does, so what?

I like rednecks, whatever they are. I grew up with a group of guys that were generally regarded as rednecks. Some were smart. Some weren’t so smart. Most were even tempered. Some were not. I once witnessed one of the not so even tempered ones whoop a guy because he said Lynyrd Skynyrd stunk. Of course, I’ve seen folks get whooped for foolish reasons, too.

The rednecks I know love their country. They salute the flag and stand for the National Anthem. They hold doors for ladies. They say “please” and “thank you.” They say “yes sir” and “no ma’am.” They know the Lord’s prayer by heart. Some are religious. Some not so much.

There a good group of guys and they are good Americans.

I don’t know if I am a redneck or not, but I like being one.