Compleat Redneck

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

Wednesday, July 02, 2003
I mentioned Cletus' Uncle Floyd, the feller what won the Georgia lottery a few years back and Bubba reminded me about the time Floyd had his heart attack. He was working down at the sock mill at the time and plum passed out right there by the sock making machine. They called the am-bu-lance and old Joey, who drove it at the time, came a flying around the corner, almost running over a few of the women who were taking advantage of the commotion to get in a quick smoke, and stopped that big old Ford right by the back door so fast it fairly rocked. One of the boys said it made a person feel so much better knowing that if'n you didn't die from whatever was ailing you, old Joey would finish the job with his driving. Joey and his helper, whose name I never knew, went running into the sock mill and rolled Floyd on to the cart thing and off they went. By that time Floyd was awake and knew what was going on. He was a-wishing that he was asleep again since Joey's driving was worse from inside the am-bu-lance than it was from the outside. Joey's helper called into the hospital and the Doctor told him to put one of them IV things in Floyd's arm and give Floyd something with a long name. Floyd, being right scairt of needles, fainted then and doesn't know what happened for a few minutes by which time he was at the hospital and the Doc was over him and a-telling people to give Floyd more of this and more of that. The nurse lady, who Floyd had knowed since she was born, asked him if the pain was any less. Floyd said no. She turned this little handle on the IV thing and after a few minutes said: "Floyd, honey, do you have less pain now?" Floyd said no and she turned the little handle again. After a few times through that routine, Floyd got to feeling kinda like he had drunk about three gallons of Cletus' homemade spirits (this was in the days when Cletus was in the distilled beverage business). Finally the nurse said: "Floyd, the pain has got to have gone away by now."

Floyd said: "I ain't never had any durn pain." Well, that caused quite a commotion with some of the hospital people saying that Floyd just faked a heart attack to get some drugs and others saying the EKG machine said he had an irregular heartbeat and the Doc trying to figure out how to explain how they came to use so much morphine and Floyd expecting an angel to come by at any time to welcome him to heaven. The nurse who Floyd knew yelled that it wasn't her fault, that the Doctor was in charge and he wasn't going to blame his latest screw-up on the nurses and the Doc was looking stunned. About that time, the whole Jones familiy showed up and started pacing back and forth, some worried that Uncle Floyd was going to kick the bucket and others worried that he wouldn't. Cletus' cousin James Riley was one of the latter having had his eye on the old homestead for some time and he had calculated that he could chea.. er talk Myrt out of it easier than Floyd and it looked as if his day had come. Well, I tell you, it was a mess. Some of the Jones were yelling at the lady at the emergency room desk that they needed information on Floyd and several of the women were consoling Myrt and Aunt Polly even said that she had a nice dress Myrt could wear to the funeral and they set off planning the after funeral food with one of the nieces saying she would contact the Baptist Church to have food brought in and another calling the Church of Christ and another trying to remember who she knew over to the Presbyterian Church.

Finally the nurse came out and got Myrt and took her back to where Floyd was and he was a sight, what with having hoses running in and out of him and wires and blinking lights just like on the TV and him being high on morphine and not feeling any pain, which he was quick to point out to Myrt that he never had felt, what with him not wanting to upset the hospital people any more than they already were. Myrt wondered at how people could work in a hospital if they were so nervous, but she kept it to her self and was relieved being away from the Jones who always made sure that she knew she was not blood kin.

Well, they kept Floyd overnight and he had to get out and walk and lose some weight and get his cholesterol down and in a few weeks, he was better than ever. In some ways it turned out pretty good. Some of the church people didn't get the word that Floyd had not died and brought over some covered dishes and Floyd and Myrt enjoyed them right much, I think Myrt more than Floyd since it was something she didn't have to cook.

Cletus came in this morning with that glow in his eyes and we could see that he had another of his "ideas". Cletus doesn't have get rich quick ideas since he is not real interested in money, but he does try to come up with ways to improve society. His newest idea is senility insurance. Right away, Bubba pointed out that it was not a real good idea since how would a person ever collect. Would you have to go to the insurance company and declare yourself "senile" and then collect your payout, or would the recipient be some other person who would have you declared senile and collect the money. Also, wasn't the whole idea a little obscene since there were so many people suffering from Alzheimer's and Demetia and wasn't some of that covered by Medicare.

Cletus said he wasn't talking about that kind of senility. He is talking about the kind where you get so you can't remember stuff and have to ask your wife or some passing stranger to help you out. Then you could go in and collect your money. Elroy said he thought it was a right good idea and he was willing to take his retirement money and start underwriting a "senility insurance" plan now. Cletus looked like a leghorn rooster at sunup, he was so puffed up that someone agreed with him. We all waited for Elroy to finish. "Yep" he said, "I'll start writing them policies right now. How will you collect your payout? If you remember you have the insurance , you ain't senile. I think I can make a real good return." (Elroy is a lineman up at the Electric Coop and has a real good head for business. If he was near as good a lineman as he is with business, the Coop could get rid of the fellers who do the work. Of course, most of his business consists of sitting around here drinking coffee, but as he says, it beats climbing high tension power poles in the rain. "High tension" is what we call high voltage lines. I guess because if you touch one of them things, you are certain to be tense. I'll have to ask one of the rocket scientists when they stop by. Anyway, back to the story.)

Well, Cletus was fit to be tied. Elroy had his goat again and a few more Southern cliches. (If you are new to Compleat Redneck, you need to understand that we always capitalize "Mama" and anything to do with the South.)

We shared some of our old stories with some friends and now they want to read all of them and here we have gone and told stories about them and they will recognize themselves and not smile at us when they see us on he street. Oh, the quandry! Cletus says we could just tell them about the site and let them take their chances. I guess I'll send them some more stories and see how it goes. We checked and found we are up to over 125 pages of this drivel. Maybe we should print some out and try selling it on TV. I can see it now, Cletus decked out in his very best pair of overalls, telling how his life has been changed by merely reading "Compleat Redneck and the Hillbillies". "Send 19.95, plus one thin quarter to cover the weight of the money order, to the address at the bottom of the screen and we will send you, absolutely free, a copy of our latest book." Elroy said we can't use that because it is stolen from Brother Dave Gardner. I told him that Brother Dave was talking about radio evangelists and we are talking about books. Cletus said most people won't know who Brother Dave is and that set Bubba off. He is convinced that the last good comedian was Dave Gardner. He says anyone who doesn't know about Brother Dave ain't fit to live. There were several nods around and then Bubba had to tell the one about Little David and the Harley and then someone told about Junior and the Governor's car and that started an argument about who was the best, Brother Dave or Jerry Clower.

Dang, it's hard trying to come up with good ideas when we always get sidetracked by these discussions of things that have nothing to do with what we are talking about.

Bubba suggested that if we are going to try to sell stories, we should add a lot more sex and violence to what we write. That set May Belle the waitress to laughing so hard that she had to sit down and hold her side. She said that the only violence we were capabale of was to the English language and did any of us remember enough about sex to add it to any story.

Just like a dang woman! Get a good plan going and they shoot you down with reality.

Cletus' Uncle Floyd and Aunt Myrt were through here last week. They were on their way from Arizona to Charleston and then on down to Florida. You may remember them. They won the Georgia lottery a few years back and have been traveling around the country in a big old RV ever since. We feel real sorry for them since they don't get to do the things they like to do any more. Floyd, who was always a very down-to earth feller, has taken up golf and he and Myrt are ballroom dancing. I have to admit that they seem to be holding up well considering, but it is a shame.

Cletus suggested that we could write the whole story of Floyd and Myrt out and that might make a good book, but then we would have to change the names so as to not hurt their feelings. I'll think about it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Rain, rain, rain, rain rain! Cletus is more than a little concerned about Mizz Gore down there in the real lower Mississippi Valley what with them getting over three inches of rain and us getting about as much and our'n will arrive there before theirs gets too far away. Cletus is way behind on the woodcutting this year. Can't get into the woods without burying the old F250 up to its axles and he's afraid he might catch his death of the cold if'n he gets wet which you can bet he will if he sets foot outside. Makes you wonder how them fellers hauling that hay on Saturday ever got in the field to cut and bale it.

Monday, June 30, 2003
Cletus is conducting an informal poll on the Tax Referendum. We are not talking scientific since he just asks people he meets how they are planning to vote. Interestingly, most people appear to know a lot of the specifics of the Plan. So far, Cletus has found no one who plans to vote for the Plan. This is not good news for the Governor. It is also not good news for small retail businesses such as the BBQ Emporium either since I think that if the referendum fails, the Legislature will raise sales taxes across the board and add the taxes on services and warranties anyway. Sales taxes around here run as high as 9.5 % already and I think we have to reach a point where people cut back on spending because of the sales tax and the first casualties will be the small businesses.

Some people say the sales tax doesn't matter, but it hits those in the lower income brackets right hard since they spend a higher percentage of their money on taxed items such as clothes and food. Okay, I understand that people don't like taxes and property and income taxes come in big sums, but the damned sales tax just eats away at your earnings. On top of that, property and state income taxes are deductable from your Federal taxes.

I doubt that there are enough large landowners to defeat the tax plan. That means it will be defeated by people who stand to gain by its passage. Go figger.

Cletus says there are several things that people tell him they don't like about the plan. Most people think the college tuition promise is a crock. Where on earth did the politicians get the idea that everyone in the state was sitting around saying: "Golly, I just wish that Alabama had free college tuition for every kid with a "B" average. Not a big sales point for most of the BBQ Emporium crowd. Okay, so we are not the intelligencia, but we do vote.

Another biggie is the extra $600,000,000.00 above the current shortfall. The Governor says it is needed to fix problems. How about putting those problems out on the table so we can see them. Buying more over priced land from Sen. Bedford's friend and letting more contracts to Sen. Barron's companies are not what makes our hearts go pitty-patter.

Are you going to hire more teachers? Why? Raise state workers pay? Why? Build new roads? Where and why? Upgrade the state parks? How?

If the State's "leaders" want to get people to vote for the tax plan, they need to give them good reason. I am afraid that "the State needs the money" isn't going to be good enough.

Oh, and saying that the parks and schools will be closed if the bill doesn't pass is just a cheap version of "scare the old people about social security". The "people" aren't buying it.

And blaming the other political party only plays well with the faithful.

The really bad news: everyone Cletus has talked to plans to vote.

Cletus is looking a little peaked (peeked?) this morning. His trip to the big Birmingham Mall didn't work out too well. Cletus doesn't like to go and come from a place the same way so he suggested that they drive down to Collinsville and get on I-59 and then come back up I-65 and that way they could see a lot more of the country. Mary Ruth helpfully pointed out that about all you could see from any Alabama Interstate is the row of pine trees planted on the right-of-way, but Cletus' mind was made up so off they went. Cletus even volunteered to drive the F250 since he has the AC working good and he figured that offering to drive his fine (and probably hip) ride would add something special to their day. Now, from where we are to Collinsville is a bit of a back track if you are going to B'Ham. They would have been better off going down to Gadsden and getting on there, but Cletus says he hates that drive on US-431 from Guntersville to Boaz and I have to agree with him that it is not the place to be on a Saturday morning. His plan was to go to Guntersville, head up by the State Park and catch Alabama 68 over to Collinsville.

Off they went.

Just out on Guntersville, they ran up behind a convoy of hay equipment going about 10 miles an hour. Everytime Cletus got up a head of steam to pass, a line of cars would come from the other direction. It took them two hours to get to Collinsville and on the Interstate. Things went pretty good for a while, but then Cletus started to get hungry and remembered that there was a good place to eat in Springville. What he forgot was Springville has several antique and decorating stores. They had a good country dinner of fried chicken, mashed taters, green beans and an assortment of deserts. Actually, Mary Ruth had a small piece of lemon icebox pie and Cletus had the assortment including half of the lemon pie. Anyway, Cletus couldn't get space to make a left turn out of the restaurant parking lot so they had to drive on into Springville where Mary Ruth saw all the stores and they ended up spending several hours shopping and she even bought a couple of pieces which Cletus had to load on the old F250, but then then they couldn't go to the mall since the load wasn't covered so they headed back home by way of Oneonta where they stopped off and had a right good supper. When they got back to Mary Ruth's, Cletus called Bubba and the two of them unloaded the new purchases and Mary Ruth fed them a big piece of pecan pie in payment.

So why was it not a good day? Well, Mary Ruth says they will go to the B'Ham mall next Saturday.