Compleat Redneck

Commentary from the boondocks. If it makes any sense, it is just by chance.

Friday, January 10, 2003
Back when I started this Blog, Kudzu Boy made some wise cracks about how I got my nick name and how it had ruined my life since I was stuck with three first names. He even said I lived in a doublewide since it wouldn't be proper for a compleat redneck to move into a fancy place even if he could afford it. The only thing he said that is true is the part about living in the doublewide, but that is only because I have been too busy to build a me a house. But now that Kudzu brought it up, I have been thinking about building one. This morning I was talking to Bubba about building a house when Cletus popped up and said he would be my general contractor. Bubba and I looked at each other and Bubba asked Cletus if he had given up on his political career already. Usually Cletus sticks to one of his schemes for about a week. It seems in this case that he has figured out that the primary election is not until June 2004 so he has plenty of time to get into other ventures as he descibed it.

I asked him what he knew about general contracting and he said that he had worked quite a few building projects. The only one I can remember was back when he ventured into the distilled beverages business and built his own still. Bubba couldn't think of any others either, but Cletus said that was because we didn't know everything he does. Probably a good thing! Anyway, he knows plumbing, electricity and carpentry and most of the scams subcontractors try to pull. Bubba asked if that was because he had pulled most of them himself.

I said that I knew generally what I wanted in a house but couldn't decide if I wanted a crawl space or a slab. Bubba and I were discussing the merits of each when Cletus said that the only way to go was a crawl space. I said that I had read that a slab kept the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Cletus said it didn't matter, that a crawl space was the only way to go. We went through this several times with Cletus saying after each new benefit of a slab Bubba or I came up with that it didn't matter, a crawl space was the only way to go. Finally Bubba asked him why he was so sure about the crawl space.

"Well", Cletus said, "If you build on a slab, where will your dogs sleep?"

Thursday, January 09, 2003
You non-Southerners and you city living Southerners may be wondering about Mary Ruth Cletus' ladyfriend and campaign manager who is also a reporter for our local paper. Our paper comes out twice a week and has a lot of news about the goings-on in each of the communities in the County. Mary Ruth is the reporter for our little community. She writes a weekly column about the things that happen to the little people Cletus wants to represent. From her column, you learn who is sick and shut-in, who is seeing who, who might shoot who when the seeing part is read about, who might have contracted some really horrid disease and from whom (You like that proper use of "whom"? We may be Compleat Rednecks, but we ain't ignorant.) and many other equally useful pieces of news. We laugh at it, but we practically wear the print off the page reading it. MR's column is sort of our own little "National Enquirer", only true. If you don't forcefully opt out of "news", you can build up quite few column inches since MR gets paid by the word.

This morning was bright and sunny and Cletus went out to cut some wood while the weather held. About lunch time (surprise) he showed saying it looked like rain and he had to get out of the woods before it got wet and the F250 got stuck what with him not having four wheel drive and all. After he had chowed down on a large pork plate with coleslaw and a big baked potato, about four 32 oz glasses of sweet tea and two pieces of pecan pie, he came back to the kitchen and said he had showed this Blog to Mary Ruth and she thought that it did not convey the right image for a man on the rise in politics. I asked to explain since I wrote the Blog and he said that he seemed to be my main subject or protagonist and Mary Ruth put it. I told him that if he moved away, there wouldn’t be anything happening around here since he personally provides most of the excitement what there is of it. He followed me out to the dining room and said that he and Mary Ruth were forming an exploratory committee. Before he could say anything else, Bubba looked from his pie and asked him what they planned to explore, each other? Cletus got a little riled but he is a little draggy after he eats so all he did was sit down across from Bubba and announce to the whole room that he and Mary Ruth were forming a committee to explore what his chances were in his quest to be a County Commissioner. “Ever hear the one about the snowball?” Bubba asked.

Cletus ignored him and asked me if I thought the BBQ Emporium could handle a $1000 dollar a plate political fundraiser. “Cletus”, Bubba said, “This place couldn’t handle a $1000 dollar day.” That’s not exactly true, but I let it go and asked Cletus who the fundraiser was for. He said that Mary Ruth was going to do one for him and, confidentially, if it worked he might not even have to run for the office. "Cletus" Bubba said, "You ain't got the sense God gave a boar hog during matin' season, and besides, have you ever heard of Guy Hunt". That went right over Cletus’ head. Cletus said that the more he thought of it, he was realizing that he wasn’t in it for the money, but because he knew he was the one to serve the little people of District 2. “Well", said Bubba, “Compared to you, that’s everyone in the District, so you gonna have to do a lot of serving."

I said that I thought that the only people who were likely to vote for Cletus were family. He got a big smile on his face and said that he and Mary Ruth had read my post about family and that based on their calculations, everyone in the District was family so he was shoo-in.

Bubba and I are getting worried.

I am sure that some of you non-Southerners are wondering why I let Cletus continue to run up his tab at the BBQ Emporium. Well he and I are practically brothers. See, his mama's mama's daddy and my daddy's mama's daddy's mama were brother and sister and his daddy's mama's daddy and my mama's mama's daddy were brothers and there are other relations we have never bothered to work out since we already know we are family. In the South you are allowed to kill family but you can't put 'em out or let 'em go hungry, not that Cletus is in any danger of that short of not eating for a month..

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
Cletus came in here all het up about the post about him and the roadgang. He says I was wrong about it being a Roadrunner. He says it was a 67 Dodge R/T and he wasn't trying to impress any girl, he was just showing his buddy how fast the car would go. I said I don't see what the difference is, if you have seen one of them Mopar cars, you have seen them all. That really upset him but he kind of calmed down when I reminded him that he is now a Ford man.

Okay, so you haven't had a chance to ask about Cletus and the roadgang, but here goes anyway. When Cletus was about 16, he and another teenage genius were driving through the County Seat in Cletus' 67 Roadrunner. 440CI, 3 deuces, cardboard interior and way too much power. Cletus started dragging from light to light with a girl driving an SS396 Chevelle. It wasn't much of a race since the Bird was a lot quicker. Cletus waited at each light for the Chevy. You never know when the girl might decide she would rather ride in real car than drive a Chevy. Before any of you Chevy guys jump me, I am just saying what Cletus was thinking not disparaging Chevys. Anyway, as they waited at one light, a City Police pulled up going in the opposite direction. Now if Cletus had been even as smart as he is today, he would have eased away from the light to drag another day, but since no intelligence neurons had kicked in that were not killed by testosterone, he punched it hard and laid down a few hundred feet of redstripe rubber. At the next light he hung a right and headed across the Tennessee River causeway toward Arab. He had a good lead on the City Police and would have been home free except the Highway Patrol was running a speed check on the far end of the causeway trying to catch people doing 60 in the 50 zone there. Cletus went through the trap at 161.134 MPH only to see the Patrol ahead waving him to the side of the road. Remember Curtis Turner and bootleg turns? So did Cletus. He executed a perfect bootleg turn just before he would have hit the Trooper and headed back across the river. Unfortunately, the City Police and the radar car were blocking the way. Cletus was busted.

The City Police and Highway Patrol were not happy with Cletus and after some serious discussion involving their sticks, they hauled Cletus and his buddy in to jail. Well it turned out that the only real charges against Cletus were speeding and reckless driving. His Daddy talked about killing him but his Mama wouldn't hear of it. Well, ole Mr. Jones hied himself down to the sheriff's office and made a deal with them to mind Cletus until Mr. Jones had a chance to cool down which he figured would take about a month. That June, Cletus learned all he knows about road maintenance although his experience is more on the line of picking up beer bottles and cigarette packages.

The car was sold to his old maid aunt who only drove it on Sundays, Mr. Jones had to find another insurance company and Cletus got a really good tan that all the girls admired when school started back.

So Cletus comes this morning and says that he has been reading up on John Edwards and that he, Cletus, has been inspired to enter politics and that he would be holding a press conference to announce his candidacy for County Commissioner. I asked him what "press' he expected to show up. "Well, Mr. Smarty-pants, I'll have you know that the reporter for the "Advertiser-Gleam is a personal friend of mine and she will be here in a few minutes." I pointed out that the reporter for the "Gleam" he was talking about wrote a weekly column on birthdays and the sick and shut-ins in the neighborhood and told entirely too much unless you put her on notice of possible death if your name ever appeared in her column, and besides, she eats here every Wednesday. Bubba asked Cletus what qualified him to be a County Commissioner. Cletus looked a little stunned at the question. I don't think he knew that there might be qualifications for the office. "Well, he said, I am 21 (and a few) and I worked on a roadcrew once. Bubba reminded him that it was a roadgang for one of our former sheriffs and probably wasn't something that a candidate for office should bring up and anyway, a good part of the Commissioner job was running the business of the County, so what did Cletus know about business. Cletus said that he had run his own woodcutting and hog raising business for 30 years. Since that was more experience than most of the Commisioners have, we had to agree that we couldn't question his qualifications and the roadgang thing was when he was a kid and he never went to court since his Daddy kind of arranged it with the sheriff and judge for Cletus to work there. Bubba then asked Cletus what his platform was going to be. Cletus said that he thought he would run on the platform of paving everyone's road every year since that was the major complaint his polls showed. Polls? Well, it seems Cletus has been going around asking people what they wanted from their Commissioner and their road paved was the number one answer followed by their driveway. Bubba asked him how he expected to deliver on his promises since there was not nearly enough money to pave every road every year and wasn't paving driveways illegal. Cletus said that Bubba was being one of them obstructionists he read about on the WWW and anyway, he was also going to run on a platform of term limitations so he didn't have to actually do anything except not run for re-election.

Well, about then Mary Ruth, the reporter, showed up and she and Cletus took their BBQ and went back to one of the private tables to talk about Cletus' campaign. I thought that was a nice touch on Cletus' part to buy her lunch until I remembered it was on his tab and I was really buying both their lunches. We call it dinner around here but I know if I say that some of you will think they are eating supper and be really confused so I translate from Southern. I think Cletus will get a good report from Mary Ruth. She always has been a little sweet on him and they are both unattached right now.

I don't know what to think about his candidacy. He will probably get elected and then I will have to find a new wood chopper. Cletus will get rich as County Commissioner (they all seem to) and get too big for his britches and run for Governor or Congress. Hell, if the people who know him are crazy enough to elect him County Commissioner, people who don't know him might even make him President. It boggles the mind.

Mary Ruth left and Cletus said that she has agreed to be his campaign manager since she has media experience and that she thinks he needs to run on a platform of putting the County on the information super-highway since Cletus has information technology experience. I pointed out that the total of his experience was setting up this Blog. He said that was more than any other candidate was likely to have.

Mary Ruth also suggested that his campaign slogan should be: "Wouldn't you rather have an Auburn engineer as your Commisioner?" I couldn't think of anything to say to that. Bubba recovered before I did and asked Cletus how he expected to pull that one off since he didn't even know where Auburn is. Cletus said that he knows Mr. Possum and he is an Auburn engineer and that was close enough for political purposes. Bubba said that he though Mr. Possum was an architect not an engineer. Cletus said that it didn't matter because his constituency didn't know the difference. Bubba said that if Cletus won, it would be case of an idiot leading the insane. Cletus said "So how's that any different from now?" Well he had us there.

I think Cletus may have broken the code for success in politics.

I know I will get questioned by the two people who read this blog about what Cletus did to be put on the roadgang. I'll tell you that story after the lunch crown clears out.

Monday, January 06, 2003
Not much blogging today. Cletus is out cutting wood and it has been really busy here. I have been trying to get the customers to try new menu items,but once you have eaten BBQ, slaw and hushpuppies, there is not much left in the way of culinary excitement. Okay, an occasional catfish filet hits the spot, but the old BBQ is the way for most once they have sampled its delights. People ask me for the recipe and I tell them: "Get yourself a top hog." That usually stops them. I guess you could get one of those little pork butts and go from there, but for me, its the whole hog. I like my hogs around 200 lbs so as to keep the fat down. Start with the hog and it serves about 200 unless they eat like Cletus and Bubba. Later we can talk about the fire and the pit.