One for the good ol’ boys

                                                              ONE FOR THE GOOD OLE BOYS

 A few months back I wrote a blog about some Yankees coming through my little home town of Cave Spring. And while they were having breakfast in a local café near me they insulted the grits that was brought to them. Most folks thought the column was quite humorous and I received a lot of positive comments and e-mails that stated that fact. But not all of them did.

      I received a comment from a lady in New England who was born and raised in the south. She stated that it was men like me that prompted her to move and I could take the grits and home- made Southern breakfast of biscuits, and Red-Eye gravy and stick them up my Rebel butt. Modern women had better things to do than get up, fix food, and be a waitress for some man who was no better than they were.

     I e-mailed her back and apologized for being so crude in her eyes, but I would like to know a couple of things. I just wanted to make sure I understood what a modern woman was. I simply asked if she was married or had a boy friend and did she shave her legs.

      I can’t put in print her reply, other than I was a Neanderthal and Mencken was right when he said the south was an intellectual Sahara. She advised me in no uncertain terms it was none of my business if she ever married or shaved her legs. And of course, she was right. But now I knew. She stated she enjoyed her life in the Green Mountains of Vermont where intellectual people lived and conversed.

     I then tried to explain the cultural differences. For instance, Nascar made the “good ol’ boys” quit bringing long necks to the race track. They were afraid somebody might insult the good name of Dale Earnhardt which was a sure fired way to get your head bashed.

     And I couldn’t apologize for country music. We loved Willy and Waylon—and if Gretchen Wilson didn’t mind calling herself a Redneck woman, and wanted to leave her Christmas lights on her front porch all year long, that was her business. Preaching is on the TV somewhere twenty-four seven, and on another channel there are John Wayne re-runs. And about once a year we watch Gone With the Wind again hoping it will end differently.

     She said she had retired to the North in her twenties beause we were loud and boisterous. I think she was indicating we drink too much. I can’t argue with that I said, we do like to tap our foot along with David Allen Coe and Loretta Lynn.

      We also like to fish and hunt. I asked her if she knew how many good ol’ boys it took to catch a Catfish. Four I replied. It takes one to catch the thing, another to write a song about it, and two to start a fist fight in the parking lot later arguing about how big it was.

     And then there’s football. I’ll bet you don’t like football at all do you. Well the good ol’ boys certainly do. At last count I could only come up with nine professional teams in the South. But then there is the SEC, which includes Alabama and eleven other teams. And I can’t forget about their little sisters in the ACC. So please give us our football Mrs. Vermont, a fellow can only fish and hunt so much you know.

     That brings me back to what you said about Mencken. He made his statement with-out much investigation, and from Baltimore. It’s not exactly Oxford or Cambridge, is it now?

      I was stationed in Connecticut once upon a time. And on our first week-end of liberty we went to New York City, ‘cause the drinking age was 18. It didn’t take us long to find 42nd street and a place called the Peppermint lounge. Now this was in 1965 and things were different than today.

      Across the street was a bar called the Club .45. We liked it a lot better than the Peppermint Lounge and got a table. Couldn’t get to the packed bar. I finally said, “How about y’all letting a feller get him a beer, if’n you don’t mind.”Things got quiet and some guy bought all of us a beer.

     Our table was soon full of giggling yankee-girls. One of my buddies eventually married one of them. Anyway they wanted me to keep talking. I’d give them a lot of ain’ts and hain’ts and grey-its and tell them they was purtier than a whole litter of speckled puppies under a red wagon. And they just giggled and giggled. As I remember, they were right friendly girls.   

     That was a lesson well learned. I was in Connecticut for three months and never had to buy more than the first drink in any bar in New York if I’d lay on the Southern Accent.  I was back in the city several years later and it still worked, wonder what Mencken would have thought of that.

     Please understand that I wrote the blog about Cave Spring as a public service. I had just finished reading some stories by a famous Southern Philosopher named Jerry Clower. Now Jerry is of the opinion that if more women would get up in the morning and cook real biscuits, not “Whomp” biscuits that come from a can, it would cut the divorce rate to almost nothing.

     One of my favorite Southern authors, the immortal Lewis Grizzard, was a little more forceful. He quoted his boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker, a great American, on hairy legged women. Weyman had said that he wouldn’t take a hairy legged woman to a rat killing.

     My grandson while reading over my shoulder said that I should throw in a little Friedrich Nietzche or Jean-Paul Sartre and show the lady that we do have some education. He’s a college boy and knows everything, so I did. But I told him he better warn those fellers that if they got around Talledega on race Day and started running off at the mouth some good ol’ boy would bash their head in with a long neck. I guarantee it.

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11 Responses to One for the good ol’ boys

  1. I love this story, Mike. When we lived in the Finger Lakes of New York in 2004 I was pretty popular. Since the Finger Lakes region is farm land, I fit right in. The only difference was the accent. I went to the bank on day and asked for $20 of quarters. The teller said, “Yoo want some quowtas? Shoewa!” Sometimes I had to repeat myself to be understood.

    I would answer the phone at the KOA and people would say, “Are you in New York?” I’d say, “Let me stick my finger out the window. Yep, I’m in New York! It came back blue!” When the other staff members wanted me to swim with them at the staff party on Friday nights, I always said no. The water was a cool 55 degrees. I told them that in the south, we were used to 90 degrees and 90% humidity and swimming pools felt like just a lukewarm bath! I did swim once that summer from one end of the pool to the other just to prove that if someone was drowning I could save them. You guessed it, I came out blue!


    • mikeragland says:

      Thanks Christie—There were only seven or eight southerners on the submarine I was on. We were pretty popular in the Northern States and places in the Med. and in England—-we drew girls like crazy—and my ship-mates picked them off quickly—LOLOL


  2. Lynn Houston says:

    If’n you come on up here New York way again, Mike, I’d be honored to buy you a beer or three! Great blog entry. As a native New Yorker who fell in love with the South during the 3 years I spent in Louisiana, I really enjoyed your story!


    • mikeragland says:

      Yep—Lynn it works both ways—one of my buddies married a girl we met in that bar—his name was Kip Tyler—and she was from Upstate visiting a cousin—-he got out of the service before I did and they moved to your old stomping grounds—San Francisco—last I heard he was in the beginning of the computer break-out in silicon Valley—did right well I understand–still married to the New York girl


  3. our folks use to go north to work,some of us didn’t do good at picking cotton,but I find the northern folks come south to warm up and a lot of them stayed.loved the story Mike,whats the old saying ,you are full of it,(stories that is ) keep them coming .


  4. gene norris says:

    One I hadn’t read Mike but a good one, are you sure you & Lewis & Ludlow didn’t come out of the same tree????


  5. James Fitzpatrick says:

    Mike, I sure enjoyed this story and I plan to read more. You’re my kind of folk!


  6. Larry Upthegrove says:

    Nice story. I enjoyed it….we’ll see about the “little sisters”.


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