Compleat Redneck

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

Thursday, September 25, 2003
Dear Cletus,

I have been reading about Elroy working at the Electric Coop and wondering just what an electric Coop is. Is it a wired chicken house?

Confused in New York

Dear Confused,

I don't wonder about that you are confused about Elroy and his work. So am I. I don't really think the boy works atall, but he sits up to the Electric Cooperative.



Elroy has his feelings hurt because he got no comments on his story. I told him that I thought it was a good story and we have had visitors so someone must have read it. He was so depressed that even Cletus said he thought that it was a good story but maybe a little long. Cletus is still smarting from the fact that Elroy's story is the longest we have ever posted.

Cletus says he is going to sign up for the English class for Southern talk at WSU. He hopes it will be offered on the web. Bubba said he thought that Cletus was missing the point of the class since it is about tawking English not write'n it so it mayn't work real good on the Internet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Elroy is real proud of his story of yesterday. He says it is a lot better than any Cletus story and he thinks better constructed with details and descriptions that hold the reader's attention yet it gets to climax in a logical and expeditious manner. (Let one of these feller write one little thing and they start to tawk funny)

Cletus is not real happy about the story since by his word count, it is 20% longer than any story he has told and it appears that at least 20 people have read it. (Possible Correction: Cletus says he saw Elroy back clicking on and off the site to run up the numbers)

Cletus says he has been wondering why if the past tense of lead is led, why isn't the past tense of read red? And should that be a declarative sentence ended with a period rather than a ?

Cletus has been trying to enroll in Weevil State University here for a timber cutting class, but they all seem to be filled.

Monday, September 22, 2003
Elroy's Story

Elroy said he was tired of Cletus getting all the credit for the good stories here at the BBQ Emporium. According to him, he knows just as many good stories as Cletus and things happen to him although he admitted that not nearly as many things as happen to Cletus. Since he had to take the desk job up at the Electric Coop, about all he ever gets personally is an irate senior citizens who think their electric bill is too big and are demanding a full accounting which usually consists of subtracting the previous reading from the current reading and multiplying the result by the kilowatt hour rate to come up with the charge for the month then you have your special fees and taxes and there is your bill for the month.

Bubba said that Elroy wasn’t exactly helping his case for having good stories with that one. No offense intended to our accountant friends, but that sort of thing is not something most people want to hear or read.

Elroy said he didn’t intend to tell a story about accounting, he was just saying as a person who works in an office, there is not a lot of excitement, but a feller always had his family to provide all the excitement he can use.

“Speaking of family, how are Eddie Ray and Thelma Lou getting along?” someone asked.

Elroy grinned real big and said he had a story he knew was worth writing and it involved Eddie Ray and Thelma Lou.

Eddie Ray is Elroy’s wife’s youngest brother. Eddie has done pretty good for himself money wise, but the boy’s social life has been a mess. He seems to always get messed up with the wrong kind of woman. On top of that, he has a little drinking problem. He is real smart and when he is totally sober, he gets to thinking about things and the next thing you know, he has fixed something that doesn’t need fixing, so he drinks a little just to take the edge off his thinking ability and life works pretty good. Over the years, it has come to take more beer to overcome the thinking.

A couple years back, Eddie met Thelma Lou on one of his sales trips and he told us all it was love at first sight. Thelma Lou is a looker all right. She looks a lot like Dolly Parton back in her younger days except it all seems to be real. She has this real big blonde hair and other assets that make her standout in a crowd. Eddie decided that he was going to marry her the minute he saw her. Now his luck with women isn’t anything to write home about, but he kept stopping by the place where she worked and after a month or two, he managed to talk her into a date.

Elroy says this is his story and he wants to tell it.

Elroy here. Eddie Ray is my little brother-in-law and he is a pretty good one, always ready to help out when something needs doing. The onliest problem is he ain’t real good at doing most things. He starts something and then gets to looking at it and before you know it, he has invented a new way of doing it and take my word for it, there ain’t that many ways to hang a door that work.

Anyway, he meets up with Thelma Lou over in Gadsden where she worked in a vets office as a dog groomer. Eddie is a traveling salesman and sells stuff to vets for people to buy for their pets and he does pretty good what with having a company car that he is allowed to use for his own use if he wants, but most times he drives his 65 Chevy pickup, one of them blue and white short wheelbase custom cab models which I think is possibly the best looking pickup ever built. Just too bad Chevy decided to quit building it in 67. See, the only difference in a 65 and 66 Chevy is the placement of the side emblem so even they knew they had a good thing going but for some reason, they changed it in 67 and in my opinion, they have gone down hill ever since.

(Sorry about that, Elroy tends to ramble. I told him if he wanted to write anymore, he had to get back on the subject. Billy Joe Bob)

Doggone, it I think that a good story has its twists and turns, but apparently, you ain’t allowed to tell the interesting stuff on this site. Anyway, that good looking 65 Chevy does fit in this story and I felt I needed to describe it to you. Eddie Ray would have messed it up with improvements but it was his Daddy’s and his Mama give it to him when Pa dropped dead at breakfast one morning. My Mama-nlaw is a good woman in a Lizzie Borden kind of way and people tend to do what she tells them to do. I have wondered if she just told Pa to die and he did, but then she does cook real good and had him up round 350 before he dropped dead. She has been talking about marrying again and has been looking for a skinny man as a project. Sorry, getting off topic again and Billy Joe Bob is giving me hard looks when he wanders by here and looks at what I have written. I tod the story to the folks in the BBQ Emporium and none of them minded me telling it all and they know my family and you don’t and in my thinking, you need more of the picture than they do, but BJB has this thing about electrons. Apparently Cletus told him that there was a worldwide shortage of electrons caused by all those chain emails you see and he believed him. If you ask me, he ain’t nearly as smart as he would have you folks think. Okay, he does own the BBQ Emporium and I hear half the Citizen’s bank, but that’s as much luck as smarts if you ask me.

Back to Eddie and Thelma. I think I’ll just use half their names because I don’t type all that good. After a few months of visiting the vet’s office and giving Thelma pins and keyrings with his name and telephone number on them-paid for by his company by the way, Eddie managed to get a date with her and it went really well since he had himself a six-pack before he drove down to pick her up so he wasn’t thinking no better than the average person. He ain’t never said, but apparently the date went REALLY well because he went around for the next week with a big grin on his face and he went back to Gadsden the next week and two weeks later, he told his Mama that he was getting married. Well, that was rough Sunday dinner. We go over there to eat ever Sunday since she don’t have Pa to cook for anymore. I don’t need to eat again before Tuesday and since I have my office job, I am putting on weight anyway.

Anyway, Mama-nlaw weren’t real happy about the fact that Eddie was fixin’ to get married and she let everyone know it. I could tell she was really mad because she brought out her special pecan pie and made all of us sons-nlaws eat two pieces. Oh she fairly steamed and demanded that Eddie bring his floozy by to see her right then. Like I said, she ain’t one to cross.

Well, to make a long story a lot shorter since BJB is looking over my shoulder and I ain’t even got to the story yet since it is about a divorce and not a wedding, Eddie and Thelma set the date for late September and Thelma decided to have it out doors up at the Noccalula Falls in Gadsden. Mama-nlaw started her grumbling about how stupid could you be, it would probably rain and everyone would get wet and it would be a mess just like the marriage was gonna be and she was generally making life miserable for everyone and that is saying something since she is an expert does that everyday. Anyway, she rode over to the wedding with me and the wife and it was not a vacation trip, let me tell you that. She griped and grumbled the whole ways and I couldn’t drive right and the weather was too sunny (she really wanted it to rain on the wedding) and she would get sunburned. Lord, it was a trial.

We got the Falls and there was about 200 people mostly dressed in shorts and t-shirts and that made her even madder and she insisted that me and the wife sit next to her and then she discovered that there was no seats and we had to stand and she started mumbling that the next thing that would happen, that fool girl would announce she was a Republican since she obviously didn’t have half sense.

Eddie was dressed in a nice pair of pants and a white shirt and looked right nice although I thought it was a little hot for long-sleeves specially since I was in a suit coat what with the wife telling me not to do anything else to upset her Mama mor’n she already was and it was hot-about 80 degrees.

Mama-nlaw kinda calmed down, then Thelma come out in her wedding dress. Well it wadn’t no dress. She had on a white sweatsuit, actually one of them workout suits and it had rhinestones or something along the front and it was just a little bit smaller than Thelma and boy did it display her assets. As I said way back up yonder at the beginning, she has assets. She had on shoes with about 5 inch spikes and when she took a step everything sort of wiggled and all the men were a starin’ and the women were givin’ hard look at men who weren’t even their own husbands, sons or boyfriends. She had her hair more poofy than usual and a big old white bow on top with a little piece of gauze hanging down in front that served as veil I guess. I didn’t get a real good look since the wife kicked me real hard and I had to look away and only got sideways glances when she was comforting her Mama who was just a bawling.

The happy couple had written their own vows and each made a little speech and Thelma Lou announced that she had made Eddie agree to quit drinking before she would marry him. All of us from home knew that was a bad mistake.

The preacher made them man and wife, we had cake and punch and the happy couple left for their honeymoon in that music town up in Missouri, whose name I can never remember. Thelma wanted to see Wayne Newton and Eddie said he had heard there was a big bass fishing supply store up there and he always wanted to be a bass fisher and get him a boat and a trailer to pull behind his 65 Chevy. See I told you that truck was important to the story. Eddie wanted to drive the truck on the honeymoon but Mama-nlaw and Thelma agreed on one thing so they went in his company car.

After they left, me, the wife and Mama-nlaw got back in my car and headed home. We had just got to the Interstate when Mama-nlaw said “I ain’t never seen such a display in my life. That girl just ain’t got no sense of proper behavior.” Now me, I’m staying out of the discussion since I figured Sunday was already a three slice of pie day and the Doctor is none too happy about my weight and he says my cholesterol is too high and besides the wife is giving me some real hard looks already so I keep real quiet and try to not so much as hit a bump in the highway which if you know anything about the North bound lane if I-59, ain’t easy what with it being broken up by the coal trucks and I couldn’t drive in the left lane since Mama-nlaw gets all upset if you drive over 60 and the trucks out in the left lane was doing about 80. Anyway, after Mama-nlaw said it again, the wife asked “What do you mean, Mama?” “

“It was the way she was dressed!”

Now me, I figure that she meant the too tight sweatsuit and opened by big mouth and said that I thought it was a little out of place too.

“Oh, don’t go showing what an idiot you are Elroy” Mama-nlaw snarled. “I thought the outfit was wonderful, but the girl wore white and she ain’t no virgin. I done me some checking and she done spent more time on her back than a stamp in the dead letter office. She done made it through all the men in Gadsden and now plans to start on our’n”

Well, I just about lost control of the car when she said that since she is one of the proprietors of the Amen Corner at the Church house and as mean as she is, I never heard her say something like that before.

“Well, I guess Eddie loves her and if Jesus can overlook her trashy past, so can I.”

I could see this was going to be a long drive and a long, cold winter.

We didn’t have high hopes for the marriage seeing as Mama-nlaw didn’t care for Thelma and us sons-nlaws already knew that she could make life real miserable for people she didn’t like and with Eddie promising to give up drinking it was only a matter of time before disaster struck. Sunday dinners was tense ( doggone BJB is back and says I have to use proper grammar, but I just write like I talk so there) and all of the sons-nlaw was getting fatter, but then the first thing you know Thelma and Mama-nlaw started talking on the phone about Eddie and how hard quitting drinking was on him and how he really wanted a bass boat and soon as the trailer was paid off they thought he ought to get one and the two of them agreed to buy him a boat for his birthday and they discovered that they both had a low regard for men who they agreed did have a spoonful of brains among the whole three billion of them. It turned out that the only thing they disagreed on was what motivated men. Mama-nlaw thought it was food and Thelma thought it was sex and each in her own way had been trying to eliminate as many men as she could and they became fast friends. Thelma learned how to cook and she found some old skinny men for Mama-nlaw and it worked out real good. Now I ain’t saying that Mama-nlaw used anything other than food on those old men (the thought makes me sick), but Wilson’s Funeral Home had a booming business for a while there.

Well, between the two of them, they managed to come up with $300 and they asked me to find a boat and trailer for Eddie. I tried to explain that boats cost a lot mor’n that, but that was the budget. I found a bass boat and trailer for $250 that needed some work, but I figured Eddie needed something to do to keep him out of the trailer he and Thelma live in. After only a couple of months of marriage, he was looking a little peaked at the same time he was gaining a bit of weight.

Well, he loved that little old boat and set to work restoring it. I have to say it looked like he did a good job. He rebuilt the motor and fixed the holes in the hull with new fiberglass and he painted it himself and fixed up the boat trailer and painted it blue to match the 65 Chevy and it was all purty and I liked it a lot, but could only see it from a distance since the wife said I couldn’t go over to Eddie’s place without her.

Eddie was sticking to his promise and not drinking and as he went about restoring he boat, he made improvements. The problem is, he doesn’t know much about doing of anything with his hands and not all the improvements he made were good for the boat. He thought the fiberglass kit he was using was a little off on the directions and he increased the ratio of glass to resin. He improved the electrical system and bought a used sump pump with the $50 left over from when I bought the boat and when Spring came, he was ready to put the boat in the water. He picked a Saturday for the launch and got Thelma’s baby brother to go with him since Thelma was working in the morning, but they agreed to come back in a round two o’clock and give Thelma a ride in the boat.

The brother’s name was Michael and he had less knowledge of boating than Eddie who only knew enough to put the boat in the water and this was before you had to have a license to drive a boat. Eddie and Michael got a good start and they were at the boat launch at Guntersville before anyone else and in the water soon after. The 65 Chevy pulled the boat real good and they agreed that the boat and pickup looked right good together.

They spent and hour or so just driving around the lake and having a good time then decided that if they wanted to do any fishing, they needed to do it before Thelma got there so they spent a couple of hours looking for a good spot. They finally found one that looked promising and set about getting their fishing stuff set up. They had just thrown the lines in when they noticed that the boat had a good bit of water in the bottom. Eddie turned on the sump pump and it didn’t turn on. He set about finding the problem while Mike bailed with a coffee can they had brought their bait in and after a while, Eddie got the pump running by hot wiring it to the boat motor since he didn’t have enough wire to reach the battery direct. The pump worked real good and in no time had pumped most of the water out of the boat. Then they noticed it was almost two o’clock and had to hurry into the dock to pick up Thelma. They were both terrified of her when she got mad and weren’t about to make her wait.

Thelma had not had a good day. She worked as a dog groomer at the vet’s office and all her clients had been in a bad mood that morning and one had tried to bite her and had caused her to break a nail and then she had gotten stopped for speeding in Albertville and the policeman was woman and gave her a ticket and just about ruined her day. Before leaving work, she had changed into her smallest swimsuit, which was really small, and was sure no male would ever have ticketed her. Anyway, she got to the dock about five minutes early and had her day brightened some when a feller ran his boat into another when he saw her standing on the dock.

When Eddie and Mike arrived, Eddie suggested she might want to bring something to cover up with because of the sun, but she said don’t be silly, we’ll only be out for a little while. Off they went and Thelma was enjoying the ride so much that she insisted they on staying out longer. Around five, Eddie said they really needed to get back since he wasn’t real sure of the trailer lights and he didn’t want to get his boat run over the first day. They had been driving back and forth across the lake and paying no attention to the sump pump and hadn’t noticed the funny sounds it was making. It stopped running and when it did, it took out the wiring on the boat motor. The boat stopped dead in the middle of the lake. Eddie started tinkering with the motor while Mike bailed with the coffee can and Thelma steamed and turned pink then red. Actually, she had been turning pink for sometime since she hadn’t worn any sunscreen and she really is a blonde and three hours in the sun on the lake was not a good idea and now it was about four hours and still no luck with the motor and they could see other people leaving but no one heard them yelling for help. By about five, Eddie had to stop working on the motor and help Mike bail since the leak was getting worse and about sundown, Thelma had to come down off’n her high horse and bail because the boat was leaking real bad by then. She was beginning to get cold since she didn’t have much clothing and her sunburn was making her feel all feverish. About two AM, a feller come by in his boat and saw them just before he ran into them and he towed them back to the dock. The reason he was out so late is he had took hisself a case of beer and sorta forgot what time it was and his wife was a lot like Mama-nlaw and he wadn’t trying real hard to remember. Anyway, he was a little sunburned like Thelma and decided to head in and seen them and saved the day. Thelma was so mad at Eddie and Mike that she got in her car and left them with the boat. Eddie got the 65 Chevy, which fired right up since he had never made any improvements to it, and they drove on back home. By then, it was six AM. Eddie parked the boat and started in the trailer when Mike asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that. He thought about it and thought no. Mike said he had a case of beer over at his house and did Eddie want a few. He said he thought that was a good idea since Thelma was probably gonna divorce him anyway.

Eddie drinks now. Thelma has never asked for a divorce although she is making his life miserable except at night and when he mentioned divorce to Mama-nlaw, she got real mad and said how dare he talk about divorcing the finest woman since his dear departed Granny, and how she had been completely wrong about that dear sweet girl who just couldn’t help being so attractive to men, the dirty dogs. I personally think some clothes would help, but since I have noticed the wife is acting a lot like her Mother, I keep my opinions to myself.

I guess men really do marry women like their mothers although I always thought my Mama was the nicest person in the world.

I am thinking about buying a boat.