Growing Up 'Redneck'
An Open Letter to Those of You Who Didn't
They may be just a pair of boots to you, but to us, it's our favorite pair of square toes. We know the soles are worn smooth and the leather is creased, but no, we don't care. We know that they make an annoying clicking sound when we walk on hard surfaces, but all the good ones do. No, the grease stains can't be wiped away, but we'll continue to wear them. Those boots have been there for us more than some people. They got nothing but compliments at Mamaw's best friend's funeral. It's not just a pair of shoes to us.
No, we don't actually date and marry our siblings, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers or cousins. We think that's disgusting. It's actually illegal in almost all 50 states. This is a hurtful stereotype that we live with starting from a young age. And quite honestly, we don't really find the jokes about it funny. This is known to be true to anybody for anybody that was born below the Mason Dixon Line, it's not just limited to people labeled as “Redneck.” We may live in small towns, but we venture out of them more often than not. We don't just settle down with the closest person.
We're not stupid. Yes, we have an education. There are more of us that have gone to school than those of us who haven't gone to school. We may not all have college degrees, but you can bet your sweet ass that we know what we're doing. Not all of us are mechanics, farmers, and junkyard owners either. We're doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, teachers, and so much more than that. We can do anything we put our minds to. You're not the only one that was told you could be whatever you wanted to be when you grew up.
Hank Williams, Jr is not the only artist we listen to. There's so many more great artists out there that we love. Ever heard of Ryan Upchurch? I can almost guarantee you haven't. Randy Houser? Deana Carter? How about Travis Denning? We didn't think so, sweetheart. Not all country music is about drinking or driving our big green tractors. We also don't only listen to country music.
Hell yeah, we like to have fun at the bar or a field party on a Friday night, but that's not all our lives consist of. We have jobs and other things to do just like everybody else. But hey, dang if we sure don't know how to have a good time. Also, beer and sweet tea are not the only things we drink.
Farming and agriculture is something we hold near and dear to our hearts. But everybody knows that, right? Farming is not something that's only important in our small little towns. Oh no, it's much bigger than that. How will our precious vegetarians and vegans get their food? They'd have a pretty hard time if it wasn't for us, we can tell you that much. It may just be a field to you, but that farmland is sacred to us. Rather we live on the farm, beside it, across the street from it, down the road from it, visit it every day, or party there on the weekends, it's everything we're made of. Please don't disrespect it.
“Rednecks are stupid.”
“Ew, they're missing all their teeth!”
“Why do we have to go to the country school?”
“They all drive trucks.”
“Her boyfriend is probably really her brother.” These are just to name a few quotes we hear on a regular basis. The most important thing of all though, we don't care what people think or have to say about us. We love what we are and what we came from with all our hearts, and nothing can change that. This can't even begin to explain how we feel deep down inside, and we're not sure if we'll ever be able to. But this, everything right here, it's the honest to goodness truth.
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