It is true that I am a born and bred New Orleanian, but during my childhood I was privileged enough to go off every summer to a Fresh Air Redneck Camp sponsored by my grandparents. My grandparents were first generation Americans, whose parents originated from Italy. They both grew up in the big city of Chicago, but broke from the rest of the family and moved on down to Southern Louisiana. I am not sure what brought them here, but they were lucky, or savvy, enough to settled into the mostly Italian area of the state. As I was reading some of the Redneck Mamastories in honor of The Redneck Mommy, I was reminded of my own Redneckness. However, I will say that many of these stories when retold in the Deep South could be chalked up to one fine weekend. I mean who doesn’t want to go to church in a fine camouflage dress and then have a relaxing drink from the still in the late afternoon. There are many fond memories of my grandparents, but if told to those who have only know the city life they might seem a bit off. So in honor of Tanis and her new son, I would like to warn walk down memory lane to prepare that sweet little unsuspecting boy of what lies ahead for him as a new member of Redneckdom.
Rednecks are very resourceful, mainly because they live in the middle of nowhere and are too lazy to go down to the fancy department store, Walmart, and get fancy products that can be made right at home without much fuss or muss. Besides, that leaves more money for guns and ammo. Take the story of our fine rabbit dinner. I was sitting next to PawPaw in his pick up truck when all of sudden there was a thud. Having a keen eye, PawPaw knew he had hit gold, in the eyes of a Redneck, anyway. He hopped out of his truck and threw something in the bed of the pick up truck. When I asked what he could have possibility picked up on the road that was of any importance he chuckled and said a rabbit. Now, you can’t just go chucking roadkill in the back of a pick-up and bring it home to MawMaw. No siree, you have to hit it just right, this time in the head, and make sure there was enough good eatin meat left on it. I don’t remember actually how MawMaw responded when presented with this prize, but I am sure it didn’t faze her one bit. I am sure she skinned it, cut it up and cooked up a nice Thumper stew. I do remember the stew and it was good. MawMaw had many experiences with the killing, skinning, and chopping of heads in order to get a meal on the table, however, most of those came from the farm. I am sure only a rare meal was made from roadkill, because like I said, Rednecks don’t need to go to the city to survive.
You can, also, tell you might be a Redneck if you have ever experienced a prison-type shower at the ripe old age of 6 years old. When saddled with enjoying some time with her 6 grandchildren, MawMaw would save some time on the bedtime routine and line us up in our underwear and hose up down with the garden hose on her front porch. You can’t fault her, the woman was busy with all the business of a farm and dealing with PawPaw that she couldn’t be bothered with washing each child individually. Don’t worry she would throw us a bottle of Joy so that we didn’t only have that fresh just dishwashed smell, but you could see yourself in our tummies. Joy would play another big part in our entertainment. Long before the corporate world mass-produced the slip n’ slide, MawMaw just yanked the plastic covering off of PawPaw’s row boat, laid it on the slope, soaped it up with that ever multi-purpose item, Joy, hosed it down and we were entertained for hours. Sure there was always the chance we might get up too much speed and head toward the pond loaded with snapping turtles, but that was the risk she was willing to take to keep us kids out of her perfectly coiffed hair for awhile. You know you are a high fluting Redneck when you have perfectly, non-movable hair every morning when you go off to do your down and dirty chores.
Oh, those Redneck summers might have been too mundane for those exclusive city kids, but we had fun rolling around in the back of PawPaw’s open bed pick-up truck for a run to the sno-ball stand. Or laughing our butts off as we watched the youngest get pushed into a big ole cow patties by the energetic Golden Lab. Hell, it was fun stomping around in cow patties in our plastic Snoopy rain boats out in the pasture. No wonder MawMaw had a no shoes in the house rule. She might be a Redneck, but she ain’t stupid. And, of course, there were rides on PawPaw’s tractor and long, relaxing boat rides in the snapping turtle pond where we would often get stuck and stay for hours on end when no one answered our cries for help. MawMaw and PawPaw simply knew that given enough time we would find our way out or our parents would eventually come wondering why we hadn’t return from our summer vacation, yet. So many fond memories for us and great times and adventures that lay ahead for Tanis’s new son.
Just as the Redneckness snuck up on my citified, Yankee grandparents, it still lies deep inside of their children and grandchildren. Oh, it lays dormant for ahwile, when all of a sudden you are caught in the middle of some action and you realize that your roots are becking you on home. My Dad and Stepmother, a Redneck to the core, have matching 4 wheelers and are more than willing to give their grandchildren rides through the pasture. The chance of getting knocked off the more fun. Don’t be fooled by all the fancy book learning that my Dad can bore you to tears with, he can find himself immersed in Redneckdom with the best of them, although it isn’t hard when you are in the middle of nowhere and have no reinforcements to fight against. The most recent example was a 20 minute conversation I had with him about riding lawnmowers, yesterday. Rednecks are helpful as well as informative about anything having to do with motors and things that go broooooom.
As for me, the Redneck is there it is just a little more subtle. It is no mistake that before we name any of our children that we try that name out screamed from our back door. You need a name that rolls off the tongue when calling the chillins in from a long afternoon of playing poke the alligator. I have been known to let my kids run around in nothing but a diaper and Crocs, the official shoe of the Redneck. Hell, it gets hot down here, ya’ll, and everyone should experience the hot Southern sun on your skin once in your lifetime. And it isn’t against the law for the kids to be half dressed. Of course, we can’t forget the time SoHubby had his big huntin’ trip to the local dump where he tried to bag a wild hog, blow up a propane tank and feed the slack-jawed alligator. If that doesn’t scream Redneck, I don’t know what does. And don’t forget we do live near a dump. I think that speaks for itself.
This walk down Redneck Memory Lane is in honor of Tanis’s new son, who will feel more loved and comfort in the Redneck world than any soul ever had the luck to stumble drunk into. Congratulations Tanis and the rest of the Canadian Redneck (who knew Rednecks could migrate so far North?) clan on your newest member. He is a welcomed and blessed addition.
If you would like to add your Redneck memories or how you are a Redneck Mama just go here and you might win some weird, but I am sure lovely, Redneck parting gifts.