Published on February 25, 2020

Advantages of being a redneck

By Janice Edwards / The Bulletin

Soon after we moved down here, (like a lot of other newcomers, we started out as weekenders), we were having dinner at Lisa and “Judgie” Schuble’s house. It was winter, and the north wind could really “blow the man down.”

It was one of those winters when it stayed gray and cold to the bone for days on-end with a non-stop north wind. That’s when Lisa asked me how I liked living on the river, because, she explained, it took a “certain kind of person” to live down here on the San Bernard.

Before she said that, I didn’t really think about it, but I’ve come to the onclusion that she’s right. If you are looking for a store around the corner, well, you are out of luck. You can’t go grocery or clothes shopping without a trip to town. If you are cooking something special for dinner, you better have all the ingredients, or have a neighbor with a good pantry.

But we who live down here don’t mind those inconveniences – we just make plans.

We let the river sing and wash the dust of the daily rat race off of our spirits. We know how to fish, and we know how to cook what we catch. We love the migration of the birds and plan our fishing around the migration of the fish and crabs.
At night, we lie our heads down on the chest of Mother Earth and hear her heartbeat in the palpitating diesel engines of the push boats in the Intracoastal Canal.

We still take joy in telling stories of times gone by. We have our fingers on the pulse of things that are both legendary and very real. And, I guess, some folks would call us “rednecks.” But you know, that’s not such a bad thing.

Roy once worked for the Harris County Sheriff’s Deptartment. He recounted the following story why we should be proud to be called rednecks. After all, Jeff Foxworthy became famous with the line “You might be a redneck if… .” It’s not a negative concept to Roy, either. Here’s his story.

“About 19 years ago, a fellow classmate in a law-enforcement instructor’s course asked me if I was a redneck. I was taken aback and slightly miffed at such a question. Apparently, it showed on my face. ‘I’m a redneck, and I’m proud of it,’ he said, and explained himself.

‘My great grandfather was a farmer in South Alabama. He had a nice farm, a pretty wife, and a passel of kids. He kept everybody fed and clothed by breaking up and cultivating 80 acres of land. He spent day after day following a team of mules across that rich loam with his hands on the plow handles, the reins across his shoulders and his head down - to make the rows for corn, cotton, peanuts and watermelon as straight as an arrow. That South Alabama sun gave him a redneck that he was proud of.

‘My grandfather was an itinerant preacher in the Piney Woods of East Texas. No one will ever know how many hours he spent kneeling before God with his head bowed. He prayed for the newlyweds and rejoiced over the newborn. He bowed his head to ask God for rain and good crops. He knelt beside the sick and he bowed his head over the dead. With his hat in his hands, and his head bowed before his maker, he developed a mighty red neck that he was proud of.

‘My father was a carpenter during the oil booms in West Texas. He spent up to 12 hours a day in that bright sunshine, bent over a sawhorse with a hand saw. He made a lot of sawdust helping build oil derricks and bridges. He built houses that are homes to families to this day. Commercial business buildings that he framed out are still in operation. He provided for his family and put four kids through college with a hammer and a saw. That West Texas sun gave him a redneck that he carried proudly to his grave.

‘If you ask me today if I am a redneck, my answer will be an instant ‘yes.’ You see, I come from a long line of rednecks, I am a redneck, and I am (darn) proud of being a redneck.’”

A lot of us down here at River’s End resemble the good qualities of being rednecks. We mow our yards, raise a few gardens, and fish and crab and cook in the sun. We help bring up the next generation, share our recipes, food and good ideas with our neighbors.

Well, the front is coming, and the snow geese, pelicans, roseate spoonbills and “Hank” heron are all around our “Music Bend” in the river, foraging for dinner. The river is beckoning with its siren’s song. I’m going out to enjoy the sunshine and the free wildlife “show” playing just outside our doors.

It’s great to be a redneck.

(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)