Compleat Redneck

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

Friday, February 20, 2004
From time to time, I get asked if I make this stuff up. Only the circumstances---only the circumstances and names. Sometimes, not even the names.

Elroy says he has himself one of those "quantums" and he doesn't know what to do. It took us a little while to figure out that he meant quandary.

Elroy is a dedicated yellow dog Democrat who also joined the National Guard back in 1966. He will have to vote for the Democrat nominee for President and now it looks like it will be John Kerry and Elroy read that Kerry equated National Guard service with going to Canada. Elroy says he will just be sick to his stomach when he votes. Bubba suggested that he could just skip voting for any office that was going to make him sick. Elroy said that would mean skipping most of them most elections, but his Daddy raised him to be a responsible citizen and he has to go vote even if it means getting up off his death bed and crawling to the polling place on his hands and knees.

Bubba suggested that Elroy could vote for someone other than the Democrat since there would be several possibilities on the ballot and he need never stray near the Republican side. Elroy said that if his Daddy was dead, he would be spinning in his grave at the very idea that his boy would vote other than Democrat. There was agreeing nods from all the other yellow dogs and confused looks from everyone not familiar with the Yellow Dog Syndrome.

Cletus said it was a crying shame that his man John Edwards hasn't done better then Elroy would be able to vote for a true Southern Democrat. Bubba said he had heard that all Edwards' contributions came from trial lawyers. That set off a long discussion over what a trial lawyer is since we all naturally assumed that all lawyers were trial lawyers. Chuck the Attorney said that wasn't true since he himself only did trials when he had the misfortune to be the County's designated hitter. (Chuck is really into baseball and uses a lot of sports talk in every sentence if he can) He said that he did mostly deeds, divorces and wills himself. Jimmy Innes said he had been through a couple of divorces and they definitely seemed like trials to him.

Elroy was looking more confused by the minute since we seemed to have lost track of the conversation and he still had his "quantum" and no one was being much help. In fact, all the yellow dog group was looking a bit uncomfortable as it started to sink in that they might end up voting for someone they really didn't care for.

That's when old Ben Ray popped up and said it just "goed to prove his oft stated belief that only a dern fool with no self-respect would commit to political party membership". With that, he managed to unite the 67% of the Emporium who had party affiliations against those who prided themselves in being independent. Old Ben Ray always has been a uniter. I think he should get into politics.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Back in the Stone Age when we were kids, a good way to earn money was to clean chicken houses for the poultry farmers, most of whom worked other jobs and were happy to have teenagers do the dirty work. Now the typical chicken house in those days was two hundred feet long and forty feet wide with about three inches of firmly packed chicken manure mixed with several tons of sawdust.

One of the largest and busiest crews of chicken house cleaners was that of the Jones boys Bubba and Cletus and their buddy Elroy and his brother Ferris. Bubba was the eldest and by that fact he was the business manager for the little company. This meant that he did the bargaining with the farmer as to price, where the manure was to be spread and with Mr. Jones for the use of the family Ford for hauling the by-products of ten thousand chickens and a few pine trees from the chicken house to a field. Bubba paid the expenses for each job and distributed the remainder to the stockholders according to the number of hours each had worked.

Cletus and Elroy grumbled a lot about the equity of the distribution what with them having to take off a lot to do important things such as hunting and fishing so that Bubba and Ferris always seemed to get the most money.

A farmer that Bubba had been avoiding was Harold D Elkins who always put off cleaning his chicken house until the manure was so deep that even his buddy the chicken inspector could no longer ignore it. Harold D would then try to con some boys into doing the job for the standard price even though the manure would be about a foot deep by then. Harold D managed to avoid cleaning his chicken house per feed company standards by making sure that the chicken inspector always had plenty of his special recipe before he looked the house over.

One July morning, Cletus and Elroy announced that they were going out on their own having formed a new partnership and would be cleaning Mr. Elkins (We kids always called grownups Mr. or Mizz when talking to our parents ) chicken house in the coming week and would be needing Mr. Jones pickup for the job. Mr. Jones looked at Bubba who rolled his eyes and went back to his bacon and eggs. “Now boys”, Mr. Jones said, “You realize you have to pay for the gas you use, any flat tires and any broken shovels and scoops. Are you sure you want to clean Harold D’s chicken house?” Cletus and Elroy assured him they understood. In case you are wondering how Elroy happened to be eating breakfast with the Jones, the boys’ parents counted heads each morning to see who was eating. On a bad morning there could be as many as a dozen diners.

Cletus and Elroy recruited a couple of other boys by assuring them that superior management skills would result in a bigger share of the profits for everyone. Actually what Cletus said was; “Bubba ain’t nearly as smart as he lets on and we can make us some money without having to listen to him go on and on about working faster.”

When they got to the Elkins place, Harold D told them that he wanted the manure spread on his field a few miles up the road and they found that the manure really was a foot thick. It was also about a hundred degrees in the shade and about a hundred ten in the chicken house. Cletus quickly calculated the extra gas they would use and figured they would still make more than from working for Bubba.

It took Cletus and Elroy ten days to finish the job. I say Cletus and Elroy because the other boys quit mid-morning the first day. They had a dozen flat tires (Howard at the Shell Station gave them his volume discount on the repairs), broke two scoops, burned two hundred gallons of gas a (only forty cents a gallon but 1956 Dodge pickups don’t get really great mileage) and in the end, Harold D paid them the agreed on $65.

Mr. Jones advanced the boys a loan to pay Howard at the Shell Station what they owed and their ten days of work netted them a negative $35. Oh, I forgot the severe rash Cletus developed that kept him scratching until a month after school started back.

Bubba says that is where Cletus caught the entrepreneurial bug. He is sure he can get it right if he just keeps trying.

Bubba likes to tell that story and someone always asks what he did during the great employee revolt. “Well” he says, “Not having to worry about Cletus and Elroy having work, Ferris and I got us jobs at Howard’s Shell pumping gas and fixing tires while old Bobby Ray was laid up from his stockcar wreck. Made $60 between us and went to the drive-in with different girls every night. Mama let us drive her 56 Buick since Cletus was using the Dodge.”

To this day Cletus won't eat chicken.

Monday, February 16, 2004
Cletus has never gotten over the shock of the creation of "President's Day". His two big heroes in American history are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and he thinks we should be honoring both birthdays and he doesn't really care if thye are national or state holidays. He can't figure out why government workers should get off to honor men who seemed to never take time off for themselves.

Every year, Bubba tries to assure him that George and Abe probably had some leisure time, but Cletus says he can't see how what with going to work as mere children and working until they died. Seems to him that a good celebration of George and Abe's birthdays would be taking some time to study their lives and contributions to the nation. Cletus says sure they had some warts, but he thinks people should be judged by the totality of their lives rather than any particular event or action and he thinks George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have much more on the positive side of the scale than the negative.

Cletus said that if Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman were to come in with the Wayback Machine, he would ask to visit George and Abe.

Bubba said he thinks the great Presidents were Washington, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts. Cletus says that proves Bubba favors the Republicans. Elroy asked how Cletus could think that since FDR is the Democrat all good Republicans love to hate.

I figure they'll be able to fill up the rest of the day with that argument.

We were supposed to have snow and ice yesterday and today, but it is forty degrees. Looks like Tennessee saved us again by taking all the snow.

Back to the Wayback Machine: who would you visit if you had the choice?