My Family is More Redneck Than Yours

I live in a fairly large metropolitan area, but it’s still in Kentucky, so when people discuss their families there’s almost always a good redneck story.   I love a good story a much as the next person, but when someone says, “My family is as redneck as you can get!”  my competitive spirit kicks in.  Because My Family is More Redneck Than Yours.

My grandfather was a farmer (tobacco and cattle).  My dad farms the same land, and refuses to buy anything but John Deere tractors (the green kind,  city dwellers).  Dad also drove a truck for a while.  An 18-wheeler.  It was when CB radios were popular (kind of like audio Twitter for those too young to remember) and his CB handle was “Yogi Bear”.   His truck had a bear with a down vest, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat painted on the door.  We thought that was pretty cool.  I rode lots of places bouncing around in the bed of a pickup truck.  If we were on the farm we were allowed to put the tailgate down and sit on that with our feet dangling off the back.  I didn’t know there was any kind of music other than Country until I was in Junior High.

My mom is from Harlan County, Kentucky, and my grandfather was a coal miner. (you know, like Coal Miner’s Daughter)  It’s been nearly fifty years since she moved to Central Kentucky, but she’s never lost her accent.  One of my uncles still holds the record for racing up and down Black Mountain, on a road that is terrifying at slow speeds.  Speaking of racing, one of my step-mother’s all-time favorite Christmas gifts was a Jeff Gordon crock-pot.  Yep, they make those.  But my brother is the biggest NASCAR fan in the family.  Dale Earnhardt was his favorite driver, and on the day he died in a racing accident my brother fell apart.  He wouldn’t answer his phone, wouldn’t come to the door, wouldn’t leave his apartment to go to work.  My dad finally had to go in and get him.  After the anti-depressants kicked in he was much better.  He bought one of those “In Memory Of” stickers with Earnhardt’s number on it and put it on the back of his truck.  Unfortunately the anti-depressants interfered with his pot smoking, so he had to give them up.

One of my uncles (by marriage) died from a bad batch of moonshine.  My aunt came home from church one Sunday to find him dead on the porch, his face black as coal.  Evidently the “poison” in bad moonshine floats to the top, and whoever takes the first drink gets it – something to remember.

One of my cousins got pregnant as a young teenager, and she named her baby girl Chastity.  I swear, to this day I’m the only one in the family who sees the irony in that.  In due time Chastity grew up and had her own little girl.  She named her Ariel.  “Oh, like in Shakespeare’s The Tempest?” I asked.  “No.  Like The Little Mermaid.” Conversations like this are why I don’t fit in at family reunions.

Chastity’s brother was a bull rider.  He was actually their state’s high school champion bull rider.  Bull riding is when a rider is helped onto the back of a bull wearing a cowboy hat and boots for protection (?) and then the bull is loosed and everyone waits to see how long until the rider falls off and gets trampled.  The bulls are somehow trained or encouraged or otherwise caused to be mean, violent, and unpredictable.  Actually I could save the industry some money – they can have the bulls come do my job for about a week before the event.  Anyway, injuries – serious injuries – abound in this sport.  As I write this my mom and my step-dad are in Las Vegas for the Professional Bull Riders Finals.  They go every year.  My step-dad has a special travel case for his hat.

I’ve got another cousin who recently got out of the hospital after being treated for a gunshot wound and depression.  It turns out he wasn’t depressed after all.  He’d let everyone think his gunshot wound was self-inflicted when as it turned out his girlfriend had shot him when he tried to stop her family from stealing stuff out of his trailer.  This same cousin hasn’t had a driver’s license in a decade because of DUIs, but owns and drives both a motorcycle and a truck.  He’s actually a lot of fun to hang out with.

Just so you don’t think I’m trash-talking my family and leaving myself out let me tell you about my first car date.  I was twelve (my mom’s from Harlan County – remember?) and he was the sixteen-year-old nephew of my mom’s best friend.  His family had a nice tobacco farm in an adjoining county, so my parents both thought this was a good match.  He had his very own pickup truck.  It had a gun rack, and there was a pack of Redman chewing tobacco on the dashboard.  We went to the Paris Drive-In to see SuperVan, which as I recall was a pretty stupid movie.  I can’t remember the poor boy’s name, but he was a perfect gentleman – never so much as put his arm around me during the movie and didn’t chew tobacco, either.

Yes, this post was wordy.  Blame it on Dumb Mom at Parenting by Dummies – she’s hosting Wordful Wednesdays!  And I wrote this with no intention of actually ever hitting “publish”, went completely against my gut feeling in putting it out there, so I’m also linking up for the “going against your intuition” prompt for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop this week.

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47 thoughts on “My Family is More Redneck Than Yours”

  1. No way!! This sounds like where I grew up in Oklahoma. My dad had a CB and a police scanner his whole life. Mad dog 20/20 was our moonshine. Lol. And our neighbor was a bull riding champion named JB. He was pretty beat up. Ha! This was too funny! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Great post! However, my competitive spirit is kicking in too, and I would like to try to out-redneck you… Shouldn’t be hard, what with a family tree that doesn’t branch much, an unlimited supply of coon hunting stories, and limitless cousins in various stages or incarceration. Thanks for a great reminder of where I come from… Of course, I’ve spent the past 20 years trying to forget 😉

  3. I am from the north. No rednecks, bull riding or cowboys, not much pickups when I was a kid either. Dad was a preacher man and I sold siding. No drinking , cussing or much real fun like your family. Wish I was in your family .. great stories. Of course I would laugh so hard I probaby would have to wear a diaper. Your stories are priceless.

  4. Love this post. I, too, am from Kentucky and have a redneck family of my very own. Moved to a bigger city to try to get away from it, but those apron strings still pull pretty hard. I had to try really hard not to laugh out loud at this and I can relate to a lot of it!

  5. Okay, you win. You have even heard my family stories but this blog is the best! What a great way to have crazy family never talk to you again. Except, usually these folks are kind of proud. Love you!

  6. This is the best post! I love how candid you are about your family and what a great story to be able to tell! And I cracked up about your step dad having a special case for his hat! My ex’s family is like that…they are from TN!

  7. I LOVE redneck family stories!
    I’m the bastard child of teenage surfers, several generations of blonde Southern Californians… but I’m married to someone who was born in Ohio, whose father grew up in West (by God) Virginia, married his first wife from a town of 400 in Louisiana, and whose family’s last names seem to recycle a LITTLE bit too much.
    I love me some redneck… hehe

  8. OMG… I totally thought you were linking this up for the “confessions” part of MamaKat’s writer’s workshop. And even though it’s wordy, it’s highly entertaining – and leaves me wanting to know more about your family! Ha! 🙂

  9. Pingback: My Family is More Redneck Than Yours ~ Wordful Wednesday | Harlan County News
  10. oh, awesome. awesome, awesome, awesome. I have a few country stories in my family (and my in-laws), but I think you got me beat.

  11. You describe so much so vividly! You almost make me feel better about my childhood home, where the man who bought it from my mom parked junk cars all over, including the front lawn. (in Nebraska)

    I also wonder if you have read “The Glass Castle.”

  12. You were right, this post did put a smile on my face. What love about families is that even if they aren’t rednecks there are generally numerous “stories” to tell.

  13. That is too funny and you wrote it so well that I can imagine what everyone really looks like. I was surprised that you didn’t mention any overall wearing fetishes…typical of rednecks. LOL.

  14. This post made me smile! I came here through The Girl Next Door’s contest.

    I can’t imagine being allowed to go on a car date at 12! My parents were so overprotective. LOL I tell my daughter she isn’t allowed to date until she is married. ha ha ha

    You have given me courage though, I might have to start opening up and blogging about some of my cousins….. ha ha ha

    1. I know, my youngest is twelve and I won’t even let him refer to the little girl who sits next to him on the bus as a “girlfriend” – different culture, different time, I guess! Absolutely blog about your cousins (as long as they don’t read your blog or take themselves too seriously!)

  15. I love this! Your family is perfect, no lack of dinner table conversation for sure.
    And even though I’m from the north, I was worried about my husband when Earnhardt died.
    Our tv room is decorated in NASCAR.

    I found this through the Girl Next Door’s contest.

  16. Ahhh you make me laugh so hard. I have always been just one step above the redleck rung on my ladder. My family is not from the south but we are some kind of New England rednecks, through and through. My family has since moved south, so my cousins are all very much like those you describe except no one rides bulls. They cage fight instead. Don’t you wonder how on earth you manage to stay just above it all? You must be edj-acted.

  17. In my neck of the woods, I would call your family “Country”. 😛 I’m neck deep in hats with fish hooks, pickup truck driving, you-would-swear-they-lived-in-a-junkyard country. And? I married one. *sigh* My son is destined to be one, and I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂

    Great post. Stopped in from The Girl Next Door Grows Up. Isn’t she just awesome?

    1. Yeah, there was a lot of talk in the family when I married a city boy. God bless him, he still doesn’t look right in a pair of boots. Both my boys can rock them, though 🙂

  18. That is absolutely priceless!!!

    I thought we were a little redneck because we only put the top 1/2 of the tree up this year. Jack had some issues with the bottom half last Christmas so we will leave it at that.

  19. This is classic. I’m not from a redneck family myself (we’re more “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), but I went to college down south & this made me nostaligic for the good ‘ol days.

  20. So, I’m reading this very much past its publish date, but OMG, does it make me think of my in-laws. Listening to stories from them is like watching “Days of Our Lives” set in Tennessee where, instead of ‘pills’ you substitute ‘meth,’ and all the children under 18 are under the care of the DCFS.

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