Compleat Redneck

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

Thursday, July 17, 2003
I was invited to participate in the great BBQ war BBQ War by the Single Southern Guy and sorta feel obliged to say something so here goes even if I do offend half of my two readers. In the immortal words of U.S. (Cletus) Jones, BBQ is a pig slow cooked over a real wood fire. Sauces are up to the individual, but putting "BBQ" sauce on meat doesn't make it BBQ. Cletus says; "Pig+slow cooked+real wood=BBQ".

You can cook other meats BBQ style but that don't make them BBQ. Cletus says he has tried some of that beef brisket stuff and it ain't bad, but he wouldn't call it BBQ. Now Texans are nice people, but they really orta stick to chili and grilling out.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
I don't tell to much from the female perspective since few women hang around here, but here is a tale from Faye Nell, one of our waitresses.

Several years back, Faye Nell's Grandmother went out of town to visit some of her family and asked Faye Nell to check her house everyday to make sure that no one stole her stuff. Now, I thought that the best Faye Nell could have done was to discover that someone had stolen her Grandmother's stuff earlier than if she didn't check everyday, but it seems that she may have stopped an in-progress robbery. You can see Grandma's house from the road and there is a fairly long driveway. Faye Nell was about to turn into the driveway when she noticed that the blinds at the front of the house were closed when she was sure she had left them open so the plants could get plenty of sunlight. She decided that there was someone in the house. She drove on next door and called her sister who was the only other person with a key. Her sister said that she had not been over to the house in several weeks, that if Faye Nell cared anything about her, she would have remembered that Grandma had yelled at her just because she was seeing her Ex and they weren't speaking. That was the sister and Grandma who weren't speaking if you had trouble following that last sentence. The sister and the Ex were doing more than speaking according to Faye Nell. I would try shorter sentences but, somehow, they fail to capture the nature of these stories. Faye Nell hung up and called the po-leece as we call the fellers with the badges. The dispatcher, after asking after Faye Nell's entire family, said she would send Ronald over right away.

Ronald is the youngest son of Sergeant Major Jarhead. He joined the Marines right out of high school, served a few years, came back here and became a police. The Chief Police hired him since he was sure Ronald knew how to use a gun, not that he ever expected that he would need to, but you can't be too careful. The dispatcher said that Ronald would meet Faye Nell at the neighbor's house and they would walk over to Grandma's.

Faye Nell waited about 10 minutes and Ronald came creeping slowly down the road when she had expected sar-reens and flashing lights. Ronald said he was hoping to catch the robbers in the act. He and Faye Nell walked over to her Grandma's house keeping the storage shed between them and the house so no one could see them. They came up back of the house and Ronald told Faye Nell to wait there and he would go around front and try to flush out the crooks. Faye Nell wasn't real pleased with the idea of having the crooks flushed out in her direction, but she figgered that they wouldn't see her behind the shed and would run right on by. She decided to hunker way down just to make sure.

As she was getting ready to make herself as small as she could, Ronald handed her a pistol. "What's this?" She asked. "A pistol". She knew that, being a right good shot herself, and she thought that it was sweet of him to give her the pistol to defend herself, so she asked him what she was supposed to do with it.

"Well", he said, "I'll go round front and make a racket and when they come running out you shoot them".

Apparently the crooks heard the conversation, because they came right out with their hands up. Faye Nell almost fainted from relief and Ronald started cussing because he had been on the Police force for two years and had missed another chance to shoot someone. One of the "crooks" (who was about 16) fainrted dead-away when he heard that.

The robbers got sent up as juveniles and Ronald and Faye Nell became a hot item around here until he finally faced up to the fact that she is a much better shot than he is.

He says he now knows that he wouldn't have gotten to shoot one of them even if he had flushed them out. Faye Nell would have gotten both of them before he got off the first shot. She says that if she had wanted to shoot anyone, she would have used her own dern gun instead of calling the police.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Cletus went shopping with Mary Ruth last Saturday. They drove down to one of the big malls in Birmingham and spent the day checking out all the stores. Bubba says he thinks this MR thing must be serious since Cletus is not the real shopping type. Cletus said it wasn't any of Bubba's business how he spends his weekend since he ain't paying his rent. Cletus is currently staying with his Mama so that didn't make a lot of sense since she like as not doesn't charge him rent. Cletus said he had fun shopping. Got to see a lot of things he didn't even know existed and some things he wished didn't.

The drive down was pretty easy since he decided to go over to Decator and down the Interstate. The old F250 keeps up right good with traffic and he didn't have a lot of people challenging him for right of way. They stopped in at some antique stores down round Cullman. Cletus says he has a fortune in antiques stored out in the barn. Bubba said all he had seen there was a bunch of old junk. Cletus shot back that one man's junk is another's treasure and he had found his fortune and it was right under his nose all the time. He has an antique dealer coming by next week to look at his stuff and maybe their Mama might want to sell some of her stuff since she wouldn't want to pass treasures along to swine. I think he is mixing up some metaphors there, but the boy does understand swine so I don't know for sure. For all I know, treasures are just as useless to pigs as pearls.

They got to the mall around noon. Cletus said that while MR was in the ladies room, he made three trips around the food court and got enough samples to take the edge off his starvation. He hadn't eaten in almost three hours by then. There wasn't any good BBQ or catfish. Seemed to mostly be oriental food places, chicken places some baked potato places. He and MR both went for some oriental food since that seemed to be the fashion and they were, after all, on a fashion outing. The food was fair, but the ambience of the food court left a bit to be desired. We have noticed that Cletus is starting to talk kind of funny saying things like "outing" and "ambience". Old Fred who doesn't hear so well thought Cletus was talking about an ambulance and started to tell us about the time he had his heart attack and got to ride to Birminham in an ambulance with the flashing light on all the way, but Bubba got him hushed and Cletus went on with his story.

After the food, the rest of the day was anticlimatic (another word Cletus has picked up) except for the nice steak diiner they had on the way home. Bubba said it seemed to him that Cletus had spent the day eating. The only difference between his trip to Birmingham and any other day was he had to pay for his food instead of mooching.

Cletus said he was wrong. Mary Ruth paid for everything since Cletus had been so sweet to go shopping with her and not complain.

Did they buy anything other that food and gas? No!

Monday, July 14, 2003
Old Sergeant Major Jarhead was in over the weekend. He is a retired Marine and Cletus started calling him Sergeant Major and someone added the Jarhead part so he is now SM Jarhead to everyone who knows him. He is a Marine. Sorry about the retired part. He joined the Marines when he was 17 and served over thirty years and will go to his grave believing that Marines are the highest form of human evolution. Marines are the toughest, smartest, best looking and bravest of all men. Jarhead is still having problems with the idea of women Marines, but assures us that a woman Marine is twice the military man that any man serving in one of the other branches of the US military is. He doesn't think too highly of the other branches, but does allow that they are better than anyone from a foreign country.

Jarhead and his wife have three sons and two of them joined the Marines as any proper young man should. His eldest joined the Navy and Jarhead disowned him. It has been about seven years since the boy has been home although we keep up with him from the letters he writes to some of the boys here. If a letter from the boy shows up in the Jarhead mailbox, he throws it in the trash. Mrs. Jarhead has been getting around his insanity by having the boy write her at her sister's and from time to time, she talks to him on the telephone over there.

The boy got out of the Navy several years ago and is managing some kind of store up in Virginia. According to the news we get, he married the daughter of a Chief (Navy, not Indian) and is doing right well. He has gone to college and is moving up in his company.

Jarhead was pretty upset when he came in. Sat over in the corner nursing his iced tea and complaining because he can't buy beer to go with his BBQ. Cletus went over and started talking to him. Cletus likes to talk to him about the time he Cletus, personally whipped upon three Marines. Cletus says it would have been four, but the fourth one saw the strappingly handsome soldier and ran away. What is the heck does "strappingly" mean? That story usually sets Jarhead off and we almost have us fight right here in the BBQ Emporium. But this time, old Jarhead just sat there and sorta frowned at Cletus. He didn't even cuss him. This worried the Emporium crowd right much. Bubba, Elroy and a couple of the other boys started talking about how maybe old Jarhead might be sick or maybe losing his mind. I assured them ther was no reason to worry about the former, since he had lost his mind years ago.

Cletus could see that ragging him about the Marines wasn't cheering him up, so finally he asked him what was the matter. Even called him by his real name. That' s how worried we all were. Old Jarhead said he really didn't want to talk about it, but Cletus kept on and Jarhead told us.

Seems that the Swabby's-that's what he calls his older boy- wife has had a baby and Mrs. Jarhead has demanded that they go to Virginia to see it. She says she has had about as much of his boneheaded tough guy act as she can stand. She has a new granddaughter and is going to see her and shee doesn't feel like driving by herself and she ain't flying so Jarhead might as well pack his kit. She raised three boys all who turned out good while Jarhead wondered around the world having fun. He tried to remind her that he had been in a couple of wars and even been shot, but she said that was nothing compared to moving across the country with three pre-school youngun's while he enjoyed himself in Vietnam. Jarhead could see that this was going to be the hardest fight of his life, but he was going to hang in there. The Swabby had had his chance to be a real man, a Marine, but he had blown it. It was left up to his brothers to salvage the family honor. They argued all day Saturday until he just couldn't take it any more so he came to the BBQ Emporium to drown his troubles in iced tea. "Damn, Damn, Damn" he said, "The woman is just being unreasonable".

"So when you leaving for Virginia?" Cletus asked. "Monday morning" Jarhead mumbled.

Jarhead is tough and he would probably win a fight with any man 20 years his junior, but he ran up against something tougher than a Marine-a Marine wife.