How to Make Enemies of Rural People

Early rural people in Appalachian Mountains

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1950's classic: Little boy going fishing

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Out of the gate

Let me be serious. And I can make my point if need be. There is one group of Americans that you or I should never intentionally upset, irritate, or offend. This group of hard-working, loyal, neighborly people are called “Rural Americans,” or known by a better laymen’s term; “Country Folks.”

I pride myself on being born, raised and learned most of what I know about life from my country parents and country neighbors. I say this very unapologetically.

I am not trying to start or pick a fight with anyone, just make my introduction to my piece as bold, exciting, and attention-grabbing as humanly possible.

Rural Americans call this a clothes line

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Rural America has numerous pretty girls

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Corn is a big-money crop to rural America

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Rural people: Tough, enduring

Country folks are an enduring lot. They survived the Dust Bowl where every acre of farmland for miles was devoured with sand forcing the farm families to load whatever belongings they had onto the family truck or mule-powered wagon and head to California to find work because most of these farm families had upwards of five children to feed.

What happened to most of these “salt of the earth” families when they reached California was nothing to be proud of. Farm families who needed work were shipped to a commune-sort of living area where other needy families were living on little of nothing, for the work they did was picking grapes, oranges, and other produce that came to harvest for the rich, powerful landowners who paid these American migrant workers just enough to say that they were paid.

Most of the workers’ money went to pay the rent on shanties where they lived—no matter how many family members they had and the living conditions in these houses held together by slats were less than awful. In fact, awful would have been an improvement.

In early rural America as now, cotton is another big-money crop

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Another pretty girl from rural America

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Rural people: No stranger to adversity

I know that there is no comparison of the two, but if America had a holocaust, this era in our history would be it. Many migrant workers from Texas and Oklahoma died from starvation, disease, and other demons caused by living conditions and ungodly hours in the fields making “the man” (with a protruding belly) another stack of cash to “Fortune of Greed,” made possible by these workers’ bloody hands, broken backs and shattered spirits.

I could go on, but this is leading to a depressing avenue that I have went down many times.

I do know that besides being honest, loyal, and hard-working, these rural workers whose children grew-up and evolved into the American farmer deserve more than we give them. I am speaking of the up one day and down one day farm prices set by The Federal Department of Agriculture.

And besides being all of my good adjectives, these rural farmers were not to be messed with, run-over, or taken advantage of by anyone.

I have, in my young life, witnessed a middle-age farmer take someone to task by telling him in a fiery, honest tone just what he thought of this “carpet bagger,” who was trying to take the poor farmer’s land. It wasn’t long until the man who was trying to take advantage of this old farmer got into his car and left, and as far as anyone knew, he didn’t come back.

Pretty rural blond

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Rural Americans during The Great Depression

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Victim of The Dust Bowl

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The Farmall tractor was used by successful rural American farmers

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Today's rural farmer

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Country singers, Jane Dear Girls

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"Lil" and "Milly," a team of mules used by early rural farmers

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Early rural American bathroom facilities

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Read my tips very carefully

This is the kind of grit that I am talking about in rural folks. They were born tough, worked in tough surroundings, and lived to see a house full of tough grandkids. My kind of folks.

And now for . . .

“Ways to Make Enemies of Rural People”

(Note: these are for your safety provided that you have never gotten lost or had automobile problems deep inside any rural area of our great United States. Kenneth).

  • Never poke fun, even clean, good-spirited fun, at any rural person’s various slang and ways they speak unless you are just itching to have your butt whipped.
  • Do not, if you are in a group of rural people talking about life issues, “butt-in,” and start talking as you know more than these rural people for they are not stupid, and can easily see through your immature act.
  • If you are invited to dine with a rural family, please do not say, “Just what in the devil is this stuff?” when you take a bite of collard greens and blackeye’d peas. Rural people take pride in their cooking, so even if you do not like their food, keep your opinions to yourself.
  • Watch what you say about the political beliefs of rural people. “I think that Barack Obama is not a brigh man,” will not only get you told to leave a rural family’s home, but possibly beaten to a pulp before you get in your SUV.
  • If you and the wife are visiting her “Uncle Wilbur and Aunt Mabel” and family down in “Chicken Scratch,” Mississippi, and their six foot, three inch son, “Billy,” who can easily carry logs like a log truck, comes over to you, the husband, and thumps your nose, laugh as hard as you can. Do not start a fight with “Billy,” although your wife laughs at you in front of her relatives. A black eye and broken arm are not worth it.
  • Then when you are listening to some good ol’ classic Country Music and you say, “That jerk thinks he is Hank Williams,” get ready for a fist-fight because the singer “was” Hank Williams.
  • Back to “Billy,” again. If “Billy,” dares you to ride his pet bucking bronco named, “Satan’s son,” go ahead and do it—although it means you will be thrown off and landing on the hard ground and staying in a hospital for two weeks. But at least “Billy” thinks you are a tough guy. Not too smart, but a tough guy.
  • Never assume that a rural family’s pet dog, “Slaughter,” is friendly when he runs up to you wagging his tail. This dog is a smart canine and as you pat his head, he suddenly bites your hand almost off at the bone. Of course, the rural man of the house will stop laughing at you long enough to rebuke “Slaughter,” by saying, “Slaughter, ol’ boy. You getting slow. Time was you could have took the whole arm.”
  • You are sitting on the porch with a rural family having a decent time even without air conditioning when “Milly,” the twin sister of “Billy,” walks up to you and pinches your nose until it bleeds. Just take it and do not start-up with “Milly,” for she is well-known in the community for wrestling the black bears who drift down from the hills looking for food.
  • And finally . . .
  • When a rural family asks you, “Say, son. Where was your car made?” Be careful. Do not say, “In Detroit, Michigan, sir. Way up “North,” for this statement will land you on the ground on your back for some rural people have not gotten over losing the Civil War.

Coming soon . . .”How to Get Thrown-Out of a Small Town Diner”

Early rural American farm couple

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Comments 22 comments

Melissa Knight profile image

Melissa Knight 2 years ago from Murfreesboro, TN

This is funny! But, joking aside - having grown up in northern IL in a tiny farm town, I thought I had the "rural" values down - until I moved to Tennessee! Love it here, and love the people, but it is a completely different world - and no, I still don't like a lot of southern food :) Great piece!


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

Hi,

I am a country girl---but always had what I needed and most of what I wanted, my grandparents spoiled me. Your rural people sound a little like “The Grapes of Wrath.”

I remember going to Georgia with my grandparents to visit some of their school mates, and they were like these rural people---hardworking, from sunrise to sunset. I remember eating cornbread and butterbeans---and it was good but not as good as my grandmother.

They had a well in the front yard and an outhouse---I would not go into the outhouse.

One would also need a passport to go there. Our country was made by people like these good country people and I am proud to know any--- like the ones in Georgia.

Loved your hub,

Bobbi Purvis


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

this was well.. entertaining to say the least voted up and awesome and shared :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

My momma must have been a hippie or something, we lived like this from choice 5 months a year. Seems by the 50's some folk still thought that no matter how hard it may be, it was still a better life.

As always you cracked me up, thanks


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 2 years ago

Aw, we ain't that bad. At least we warn city slickers not to eat the yellow greens in the Northwest corner of the garden.

You know something that makes us country folk really see red? (I still live outside the city limits, thank goodness) It is for city folk to move in next door and the first thing they do is to try to annex us to the city. They want the city services like sewer and recycling, which brings us city taxes, city codes, and other guv'ment interference. My citified neighbor still hates me because I put a stop to her meddlin' in our ways.


Melissa Knight profile image

Melissa Knight 2 years ago from Murfreesboro, TN

MizBejabbers - YES! I agree. I guess living in the North or the South, I've always been a country kid and when we moved, we purposely moved to the county. Like you said, county taxes, codes - etc. We also decided that we wouldn't do like other northern transplants and move to a "northern" neighborhood, we wanted to be part of TN - and that's what we did. Now the transplants are trying to turn the South into the North! Very frustrating. Why can't they drive their recycling to the nearest facility like every other country person? Makes no sense to me :) The way I see it is if you don't like it, don't move there...


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

Funny' hub and such an enjoyable read! I will certainly take these do's and don'ts to heart if I ever happened to be in- and hopefully not stranded- in the country. Country people are the most hard-working, kindest people on earth. Most of them don't have a lot of money but they have a whole lot of love and they are big on hospitality {meaning they always offer food. The rich getting richer off of the back-breaking of others is a sad fact in our country.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

LOL! I've never done anything to get on the wrong side of country folk, but I have seen some real city slickers stick their foot in their mouth so far their foot came out their ... I think you know what I'm saying. My mom's people come from a long line of country and mountain folk in Tennessee and even though most of them now live in small towns, they're all still country and I'm proud to say I am too (although I'm not a farmer or anything). Yes, country folk are tough and they won't take any crap from anyone. That's just how things are.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

Interesting list. A lot of your suggestions could be useful in many other circumstances, like copying accents. My Brit friend hates when I try to speak Brit. I feel insulted when strangers copy the remainders of my American accent. Ditto on many other points. I must say though that rural people as you describe them love their culture and their way of life. I guess you can call that true pride in who you are and where you're from.


everymom profile image

everymom 2 years ago from Massachusetts

My mom came from country folk (hill folk in fact) but in the Romagna region of Italy...nonetheless, what you write - down to the dog, only in Italy it would be something like "Wolf" (pronounced "Volf") - has the ring of truth to it even for foreign country parts! As I wrote when I shared this on Facebook: funny and poignant! Thank you, Kenneth Avery!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago

Ken this was really a very interesting and lively article. I found the comments were informative to. Thanks for sharing.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

CyberShelley,

Thanks, sweet friend, for stopping by and commenting.

I appreciate you so much.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

everymom,

You are very welcome!

It is I whom is blessed with you stopping by to read and comment.

Thanks and God bless you.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

grand old lady (who is NOT old)

Thanks for your input into the thinking of this text.

You have some legitimate points and I agree with you.

Thanks for commenting.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

sheilamyers,

You do not know how right you are to stay on the good side of country dwellers.

I am a country dweller, but not as tough as those people you describe.

Not far from where I live is a place called Freedom Hills and it is a modern-day hill settlement with people who live to their ownselves.

Totally self-reliant and never venture into a thriving town that is not far from them.

But many manly men have been brought to tears by what they have encountered in this place.

I am not joking.

Have I ever had the urge to venture to this place?

Are you crazy?

Not on your life.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Dana,

Yes, you are also correct on your assumption of country people being kind. I know of some elderly rural people who are in better shape in their late 70's than our own high school football team.

When you visit their house, you eat.

And eat well.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear Melissa,

Living in the country vs city, daylight and dark.

Where people are raised has a lot to do with their lives.

I grew up and still live in the country. Although I am in suburbia of my hometown, we are still rural.

And proud too.

Thanks for your comment.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

MizBejabbers,

Yellow greens? LOL. You have the rural life nailed. Nothing beats the rural life.

We do not have to dress-up everyday, talk proper and such. We are just us and that is it.

So thankful for your comment, friendship and following.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, Eric,

Do not discount your life. If you want us to think of you as "Country" Eric, we will be glad to do that.

And thank you for all of your sharp comments.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hello, Frank,

And thank you for your nice remarks.

You are very-appreciated and come back anytime.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

@ Melissa,

I was scrolling up and saw your comment on the top . . .thanks so much for your interest in this hub.

You live in Tennessee? Great place. You need to visit my hometown, Hamilton, Alabama (Google map it) we are as Mayberry as we can be.

And welcome, fellow southerner!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Sweet Bobbie,

I was wondering where you had gotten off to.

Thank you for your sharing of your wonderful experience about your relatives in Ga. And the reference to the outhouse was great.

But your line about needing a passport to get in there was wonderful.

Your comments are great hubs within themselves.

I do hope that you have a safe and peaceful Sunday, Bobbie.

Love, Kenneth, your southern friend

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