Friday, September 9, 2016

140: . . . you just might be a Redneck!

Fall is definitely coming, and cannot come soon enough for us!
After several weeks here in the South, I have to admit that this "Redneck" business is baffling indeed. On the one hand, everywhere we have been, the locals have warned us about the rednecks down the road. It happened in Virginia, it happened in Tennessee, it's happened in Mississippi. Folks we are chatting with in the McDonald's in Lawrenceburg say, "oh - you're going to be there with those rednecks in Collinwood."  The folks in Ardmore (Tennessee side) tell us to watch out for the rednecks on the Alabama side.

Crusher (you remember her from a day or so ago) told us to watch for the rednecks while we were riding around here. Then declared, "I mean, I AM a redneck, but you gotta' watch out for those boys."

And my friends from Houston caution us to be careful 'round those "Southern rednecks."

Well, what exactly is the big fuss all about?  When I was growing up, "redneck" was a term that meant primarily "country folk."  Farmers and ranchers, mostly - people who spent their days working out of doors and therefore developed a deep tan from their open-necked shirts (aka "red neck.") There was no particular stigma attached to this term; it was the flipside of being a city slicker (or paleface - one who worked indoors in an office.) So I guess there was a mild joshing aspect to it, but the ribbing went both ways.

Somewhere in the past couple of decades, and perhaps Jeff Foxworthy is responsible for this, it seems that "redneck" has undergone a re-branding campaign. It seems to have some additional cachet at this point that's hard to pin down. There is still an association with country folk, it seems. And there is definitely some ribbing or putdown associated with the use of the term. On the other hand, there is also a strong undercurrent of pride associated with one's redneck status, with some groups attempting to out-do one another in their claim to true red-necked-ness.

And in all of this, I can only say that pretty much everyone we have met here in the South has been polite, courteous, and interested in our journey. They are delightful to talk with (the various accents offering us some challenge from time to time) and not at all to be feared. They have offered us help and given us room on the road. They are great storytellers, and good listeners, too.  They are in no hurry, that is for sure.  I think this leisure may be an artifact of the climate. No one wants to rush about when it's so hot!
Country road, Mississippi version

Anyway, I would like to dedicate this post to all the rednecks out there, whether by birth or through conversion.  And, I would like to point out that after riding in the sun for the past four months, I am getting a pretty red neck myself!

Peace to all, whatever color your neck is!
The Bridges Hall Manor

The day's report:  Tupelo to Houston (who knew there was a Houston in Mississippi?), 35.3 miles/6836 to date
Treating ourselves tonight!

The route (and it is day 140, not 138 as Roger thinks!)


  1. B & B is very lovely and breakfast for tomorrow sounds wonderful. Natchez has some beautiful homes and cute restaurants right on the river. I hope you are able to stay long enough to enjoy it. We enjoyed our meeting and invite you to ride through southern Ohio someday.

    1. Thanks so much for letting us know! The place we selected in Kosciusko is also very nice. Grand old homes here in this part of the world. It was so nice to enjoy your company last night! Safe travels home.


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