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A redneck — we are one!

Recently I wrote about the hunter from Oklahoma who drenched my daughter and me with gas at the gas pump. He didn’t notice, and I called him a “Redneck.”

Since then I’ve given a lot of thought as to what constitutes a Redneck. When Al and I began living life, we were ambitious, rubbing shoulders with white collar society; we too were rising to the top and we thought we were somebody.

Then Al retired early, and we moved to Pagosa Springs. We took a cut in earnings, but we were happy to leave the concrete jungle of city life with all the traffic and expectations. We slowed down and became innovative. We became blue collar workers. I painted and Al moved furniture or whatever laborers do. We were happy serving others. It had its rewards and we became important in a different way.

Redneck just crept up on us. We went from white collar to blue collar, to no collar to Redneck. How does one become a Redneck? It’s when a person becomes his own resource; when he can’t afford to hire things done, he does it himself with the ability or lack of ability he possesses. I think it is also calling sub-standard, normal. But, what is normal?

When something needs fix’n and there is no money to fix it, you wrap duct tape around it until you can afford a new one. If the tailpipe falls off, you put wire around it to hold it up. If someone breaks your radio antenna on your car, you use a coat hanger. When others move, they give you all their old stuff; it might come in handy one day.

It just takes a little imagination and resourcefulness to live without money. I could write a book, “How to live without money” It would be a bestseller, but without money, it would be hard to market. So living without money can take you so far, but not far enough to make money; just far enough to live below your means.

Our friends from Arizona came to visit us and we were talking about living in the city. Al and I both agreed,

“We couldn’t do it.” Our friends said laughingly. “Well, you would have to shut the door on the blue truck.”

We all laughed, but I thought to myself, “Do we look that bad? We must be verging on redneck status.”

The old blue truck has become a dog house for Al’s dog. She has a kennel but she prefers to be where Al is. Whenever Al drives around the property, the dog jumps in and rides with him. It has become Shy Ann’s life; her mode of entertainment, travel and kennel. Al leaves the passenger’s side open so the dog can jump in any time. The dog sleeps in the truck during the day and it has become her dog house.

Shy waits in Al’s truck for him to drive around the property. She has moved to the driver’s side.

Al laughs and says, “Isn’t she cute?”

I am beginning to see how Redneck has crept in. I hadn’t thought about it until our friends mentioned the old blue truck with the open door.

Friends have come by and said, “The door is open on the blue truck.”

Al says, “Oh, that’s Shy Ann’s mobile home. I leave it open for her.”

Can I change Al? The answer is “No!” I use to say everyone who lives in Pagosa has a dog by the name of Cheyenne or Dakota riding in the back of the truck. I am noticing lately, the dog or dogs have moved inside the truck into the front seat with their master.

Have we seen ourselves lately?

It is so easy for “below standard” to become the norm.

Al’s brother says, “I respect you, but I couldn’t live that way.”

So what does “that way” mean? Does it mean, when anyone drives down the Lower Blanco, they see Al’s old blue truck with the open door and his dog sitting in it as proud as she can be?.

Al has an unwritten code about his dog, “Love me, love my dog.” His code has put him in the dog house several times. He’s never spent the night in the old blue truck, but he has come close. He would have his loyal dog, I guess it wouldn’t be too bad.

Final brushstroke: Yes, Redneck has crept in. Al’s happy and so is his dog. For me, I better be careful who I call Redneck.

Artist’s quote

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn

Readers’ comments

Dear Betty:

At Everyone’s Mercy.

It is so true.  We have all been at the mercy of the next generation as technology whizzes by.


Grass Valley, Calif.

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