Who Says I Can't Be A Hillbilly?
I've made a serious decision about changing my life
into what this guy is doing
and becoming a modern-day hillbilly in 2012. I feel really good about my personal decision to give my life a drastic make-over. In my opinion, it stands in need of one. Badly. Why I say this is because I see all of my followers on HubPages experiencing life to the fullest. Having great times outdoors. Having the time of their lives. And me, on the flip-side, just sitting at my PC most days and never changing. Just being the "me" that everyone knows. Just the "me" who is always predictable. On time. Can be depended upon. And you know, deep down inside, this gets to be an old record played too long. That's why I want to become a hillbilly. In the worst way.
The Life of a Hillbilly Has Really Hooked Me
WOULD YOU REALLY THINK LESS OF ME IF I WERE TO BECOME A HILLBILLY?
If so, why? Hillbillies are as human as any gang-banger in Los Angeles. As human as any superstar athlete we celebrate in New York. So why not allow me the freedom of being whom and what I want to be? This is, after all, a (still) free country. Right?
I challenge you, my beloved followers, to come up with at least 10 reasons why I wouldn't make a good hillbilly. I'm being honest with you. It might be fun. Something that you and your friends could do over coffee at your favorite restaurant.
"I hear that Kenneth Avery is going to be a hillbilly," might be how the juicy gossip would start. "Yeah, what a shame," someone might chime in while eating his or her eggs, bacon and toast. While a lonesome, stately-looking traveling man might say in a voice low and serious, "So what if this Kenneth Avery does want to be a hillbilly? What's wrong with that?"
And the talk would cease. You and your friends would continue to eat. And the traveling man would go on down the highway.
Talk about a perfect morning.
My heart-wrenching journey starts with
80's Country Music superstar, Barbara Mandrell, had a huge hit with, "I Was Country, When Country Wasn't Cool," and in this American standard, there is one lyric that really speaks to me concerning my recent decision to become a hillbilly. The lyric simply says, "I'm just glad we're in a country where we are all free to choose," and the songwriter, not Mandrell, who wrote this daring song is right. We are all Americans. Free. Empowered. Ready to be whatever or whomever we choose. Why didn't I think of this avenue of relief before?
I mean there are those in big cities in the United States who are members of dangerous gangs that stay out all night long and nothing is ever said about that. There are those among us who work hard for a living and I know that these living American heroes are never recognized. And this is all fine and good. For them. I just want to become a hillbilly. That's it. That's all. Bottom line. End of discussion. Pack my bags, honey. I'm out of here.
After many long hours of exhaustive research, I have found that there
is no law. Not one law. Anywhere in any state of our blessed union that states that "I" cannot become a hillbilly. And just for a judicial plank in my platform, if you will, for anyone or any sect of our American Democracy to deny me the pleasure of being and living the hillbilly life would be sheer discrimination. Pure and simple. Tell me that any Ku Klux Klan, Skin Head or any racially-based organization cannot secure a parade permit if they so choose. I know that I am right. I witnessed, with much disgust, on the History Channel a few months ago, where in some part of Indiana, a group of KKK joined a group of Neo-Nazi's and had a huge gathering in some busy city to promote their racial ideologies. While the local police just stood by, hands folded, to keep things moving in an orderly fashion. Now if these troublemakers can get a permit to have a parade such as this, I should be allowed to be a hillbilly if I so choose. Right?
And even as this hub is coming to life, I am faced with a few questions that really stir my soul. I would like to briefly share these questions with you if I may.
- What is really wrong with being a hillbilly? Can you tell me in a convincing manner?
- Why are hillbillies so frowned-upon by civilized society?
- Why would anyone lower themselves to 'hate' a hillbilly or his hillbilly friends?
- Who says that civilized. Mannerable members of society are any better than hillbillies?
I am already on my way to being a hillbilly because
I have a five o' clock shadow and if the week continues, I will have an infant beard. Most hillbilly men have beards, with the exception of a few rare cases of hillbilly women who have hormone troubles, who have actually grown full-length beards. Although these cases are rare, still the fact remains that mostly the hillbilly mean wear beards for it saves time when they are called away for an all-night raccoon hunt with their hillbilly buddies. Or an overnight fishing trip down at the creek to catch next week's groceries. See what I mean? The life of a hillbilly is one to be envied. Admired. Even held up to levels of respect that until this hub was published, was only laughed at and ridiculed.
I can readily concede that in our country's early, formative years, men and women who settled in the Appalachian Mountains, were run-down by city dwellers who had too much pride to acknowledge their brothers and sisters of the hill country and dubbed them "hillbillies," a scornful name to bring shame upon these industrious men and women who carved out their living with broken limbs. Bloodied hands. And wounded wills. But they survived. To the chagrin of the city dwellers who shunned them when they made their yearly trek to town to purchase a new needed-supplies. And for what? Prestige? A more-secure walk with Jesus? I think not. It boils down to this. We as educated mortals only mock what we do not compute in our limited minds.
And as for minds, hillbillies have minds. Sharp minds. Minds that would boggle any sociology professor at Harvard. Even Yale. You pit a city dweller against a hillbilly on a hillbilly's turf and ask them to find their way back home, and the hillbilly wins every time. He (or she) knows the mountains like the under side of his pillow. They are that sharp of wit. And as for survival, I hate to say this, but a city dweller would panic. And come near starving if faced to survive "off the land" as his hillbilly brother has done for hundreds of years. My point? Where you are planted is where you secure your lifestyle, but I think it's a bit more than that. There is just something magical. Mystical. And eerie about a hillbilly. And I say that with the utmost respect.
A hillbilly crash-course in terms. If someone asked you to
- "Tend the still," what would they mean? Well you would be expected to keep the fire going underneath the moonshine still, slang for distillery, that early hillbillies used to make corn whiskey and sell it as a means to survive. And the most-frequent customers the hillbillies had were, you guessed it. City dwellers who loved the taste of a pure grain alcohol.
- "Break the land," well they meant that you had to hitch a mule to a thing called a breaking plow and turn over the top layer of the sod so you could have a place to plant your spring crops or produce that would help you survive another harsh winter.
- "Bring the auto harp to the big hoe-down," you would be confused. An auto harp is an early American musical instrument played with a goose feather quill. It reminds you of its older brother, the concert harp that is used with big symphony orchestras. And a hoe-down is nothing more than a dance held in a nearby home or barn to give the hard-working hillbilly families a source of recreation and entertainment. Did you know that a lot of the early Grand Ole Opry performers were discovered in the very mountains where the term "hillbilly" originated? True fact.
Honest reasons why "I" would love to be a hillbilly
are easy for me to come by. First, I wouldn't be clammed-up all day long in a suburban home. I would have my own log cabin built way back in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Or even in the Appalachian Mountains where people still respect each other and each other's property. No such thing as a dead-bolt lock on doors where I am wanting to live.
Secondly, I would be my own boss in the hills with my fellow hillbilly friends. Of course I would pay for some seasoned hillbillies to teach me the finer arts of planting corn, beans, peas, and other tasty items to can for the winter. Or in city terms, preserve them for later use. No hillbilly would turn down easy money just for a few lessons on how to survive in the hills, would he? I would have the life that most men only think about in their offices during lunch break. Fresh air. Fresh water. No one to bother me with bothersome questions (via phone), such as, "Hey, Kenneth, are you there?" What? You did ask that after I answered my own phone. Am I here? You see what I mean? Or this question, "Kenneth, what are you doing?" "Sleeping. It's 3 a.m." I reply. "Oh you were asleep. I'm sorry." Well if you knew in foresight that I was asleep, why on earth did you call me? This would never happen in the hills. I wouldn't have a phone. Just a laptop PC and some electricity for charging it and I would be "happy as most larks," in my new-life adventure as a hillbilly.
Thirdly, I am not really what you call a "crowd person." I detest to be placed in a TARGET or KMart store and left to survive on my own. Crowds cause me to have panic and anxiety attacks. Big time. My breath is literally taken-away by the heaving throngs of impatient shoppers looking to save a dime on some wash cloths or underwear. Not in the hills. And not as a hillbilly. I would make-do, as older folks were prone to say. On my yearly, not daily, trip to town, I would stock up on needed supplies. And that would be that. I would have a good supply of Community coffee. Cheerios cereal. Deer meat, which I love. Beef stew and a few cookies, and I would be set. You see, the life of a hillbilly is a simple one. A mostly care-free one. And a life that is not made for everyone. And not for an average city-dweller.
What drove me to this milestone decision to become a hillbilly?
my television. Of all things. My television. Last night from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m., (CST), I was bombarded with useless commercials trying their dead-level best to sell me everything from tax preparation to Preparation H. Cars to the best-tasting beer in Boston, a place that I'm positive that I will never visit. And finally, the always-dark events of my local ten o' clock news. Always harsh. Someone murdered. Someone robbed. And this was the lighter-side of the news. Can anyone blame me for screaming, "Enough is enough!" No one will understand my wanting to leave my hometown for the Appalachian Mountains. I don't expect them to. Why should I? But when news gets out about me converting to Hillbillyism, some packs of do-gooders and well-advisers will pay me a visit. These are people with nothing to do but tell you and I how we should live, if you want to know whom I am talking about. They will tell me all the bad things about a hillbilly life. Not anything good. Then finish their meal that they invited themselves to stay and eat. And leave. Wish they had just spoke. And then left. Skipping the meal for they always keep advising even when their mouths are full of my food. So long, busy bodies. I won't be missing you. And do not expect a postcard. Christmas card. Or even a poker card. I'm done playing your games. I am going to be my own man. A hillbilly man.
So here I am. At the threshold
of a new life. A life that has been a dream since I was eighteen when a buddy of mine in 1971 and I wanted to leave Hamilton and hitch-hike to California before we settled down to a regimented. Disciplined. Routine life. That dream never materialized. Thanks to life. And the harsh realities as getting a job. Getting in debt for things that wear out. Taking out loans on things that I won't take with me when I pass. And calling it "The American Dream." Sorry, Uncle Sam, I love you and this country, but my "American Dream," was a total nightmare. From the first job I had to the last. No promotion. Hardly any raises. And no credit for the job I was doing. And we call this progress. And prosperity. But have you looked lately? Not all of us Americans are progressing or prospering. The upper-class are progressing all the time. As well as raking-in prosperity by the truckloads. Not us in the middle class. That is why I am going to be a successful hillbilly. Answer to one entity: GOD. And if pleasing Him means being a solitary hillbilly who lives by himself, so be it.
But what about company, you ask. What about it? I will have all the company I can handle. Cats, dogs, maybe a bobcat, raccoon or a squirrel named, "Jim." I don't really know. But I will not forsake YOU, my highly-appreciated FOLLOWERS. I will email each of you my secret address--if and when this life change takes life and starts moving.
And you will always be welcome at my cabin. All of the time. No invitations required. Come when you can and we can sit around talking. Laughing. And comparing hubs. And of course drinking Community coffee in china coffee cups. I take mine black. I will have cream and sugar for those of you who use it. And I promise to give you a feast that is beyond compare to any food you will find in New York City or even Tupelo, Mississippi.
You will have a good time. I promise. Now I want to close by practicing my good-bye phrase,
"Y'all come back. Ya' hear?"
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE, WOULD "YOU" MOVE AWAY FROM THE CITY?
No worries about fires
This photo shows
an up-to-date hillbilly fire department. Where are the well-trained firemen? Where do you think? Napping inside their firehouse. The resourceful firemen wanted to get their rest for when they are called out to battle a dangerous fire that would endanger precious landmarks in their mountain locale. Landmarks such as: Billy Jim's 7-9, not 7-11, Billy Jim needs at least two hours for sleeping. George Stumpp's Family-Owned Slaughterhouse and Deer Processing plant, which in reality, is the back room of the Chevron gas station located at the bottom of Red Mountain, where our firemen live. Yes, the life of a hillbilly is a leisurely-life filled with laughter. Fun. Excitement. And peace that cannot be found in any city, big or small.