I was country, when country wasn't cool

I was country when country wasn't cool

Country singer, Barbra Mandrel made the bold announcement in one of her major hits, “I was country when country wasn't cool.”

At that time, Urban Cowboy’s popularity had mainstream teenagers wearing boots and dancing the two-step. It was cool at the moment, to be country, or at least dress the part.

Like all fads, it faded and those who were really country continued to be real and did not care about the fashion trends of the runways of American style.

Lately I have noticed, a resurgence of being country has hit the closets of American teens again, as young, girly girls are wearing cowboy boots as trendy fashion statements.

But it is what’s on your television screen that is driving the re-popularization of being country, redneck, or maybe more specifically, Southern, it’s the driving force of reality television.

Sure, some of its pretty extreme and scary! Have you seen My Redneck Wedding on CMT?

These are the kinfolks you want to remain hidden, but someone decided to promote, box it up and sell it on television. It’s highly entertaining and somewhat disturbing.

Is it a good idea that being Southern proud is being displayed in all its glory?

I am country born, as South as you can go, before hitting the Gulf. I have the pleasure of country and Cajun influence in my cooking because of my unique Southern roots. All those Swamp people shows, I grew up with those kinds of folks.

I have grown up with Honey Boo Boo’s family, not literally, but many like them, they are familiar to me. While many watch in amazement, I am thinking, what’s the big deal, no big reveal for me.

Plus, I now have the recipe for Sketti. However, I am not ever going to make it.

My sons watch all the Southern bred shows, Diggers, Swamp People, Billy the Exterminator, Moonshiners, Ax men, Rocket City Rednecks and now they have a new one, Swamp Hunters.

As I have said, these shows not only are like the types of people I grew up with, but are actually, people I grew up with, from my own high school. These Swamp Hunters sit on my local country store porch and plan their daily excursions. Dustin, D’Roy, James, Bo Bo, Big Al, and Kacey Taylor are the actual people I grew up around.

Yet, as popular as Southern is, there is one show that is atop of them all, and is making Camo clothing sexy, Duck Dynasty.

Last week’s premiere smashed its competition both on cable and broadcast stations. Over ten million TV’s tuned in to see camo-wearing, bearded men go duck hunting.

It’s the characters on the show that drive the popularity. Who doesn't have a few of these guys in their family?
I feel like I am related to Uncle Si who is filled with colorful stories which he claims are 95 percent real and his fun sayings, “There are things you just can’t fix. Can’t fix stupid, can’t fix a neutered dog and you can’t fix junk!”

Who on television carries his own glass of Sweet tea every where he goes? Uncle Si does.

The Learning Channel has brought us Honey Boo Boo and now because it’s surprising success has ordered more southern style reality shows such as Myrtle Manor about the drama of people in a trailer park.

Really? Do we need to air all our dirty laundry?

I hope they don’t title one, White Trash Southern Style, because they are basically snickering behind the camera and insinuating this on a few of these reality shows.

Would you want a camera at your family reunion? Should we reveal all to the public, warts and all?

Am I ashamed of my heritage? No. Just don’t want those who do not understand this culture and subculture to make fun of that which is not as sophisticated as the city dwellers opinion of what is refined.

In their opinion do they look down on the earthy people of the world?

Yet, it’s those country music loving, hunters, gardeners, pea-picking folks that make this world great.

I was born country and maybe our conversation is not laced with specks of highfalutin words, our clothes are missing fancy labels, and our lifestyle strange and exotic to the city life, but look pass the exterior because true Southern country-folk are some of the best people on earth.

They are loyal, faithful to their God, will lend a helping hand and clean up their own messes. Family is cement and fervently valued.

The country family is a strong powerful unit and though life is throwing them the same hardships and temptations: financial crisis, drugs, and moral depletion, there isn't a Southern family that doesn't have a praying mom or grand mom somewhere in the midst.

I miss living amongst the country folk as it seems I am to live in a metropolis, although a nice one with many transplanted country folks which helps, but it’s not the same.

I miss my front porch. I miss simple, country folks.

As I visit home often as I can, I get a giant dose to keep me going, by sitting on our rustic cabin’s porch, listening to the farm sounds, smelling the hay and cow manure mixture, talking to my very country Granny (mother-in-law) and eating home cooked dishes.

It is these things that feel real. It is these things that seem to matter. Watching my sons, camo-upped, traipsing through the woods and being country boys for awhile.

We ain’t city folks, just visitors.

So, let the worlds watch our country folks on television, learn to appreciate what we know is real, is good, and is a special thing.

On Duck Dynasty, they bring it all to a hilarity filled conclusion by gathering the family over good home cooking and prayer.

Now that is what I am talking about.

Country is always cool to me and it’s always the most popular fashion trend to me and though Nielsen folks may grow tired of it in the long run, its what’s on my playlist forever.

You haven’t lived until you pick peas, shell them and eat them all in the same day. You haven’t really lived until you breathe in farm air and run through a field and listen to the sound of crickets at dusk and the frogs around the pond at night while gazing up into a dark, starry sky.

Now, God is very real and it’s in these moments that I understand why country folk cling to their God. He is given them an amazing gift of being Southern born and bred, and country to the roots.

Of course, the nation has many country folks that understand, from New York to the plains and beyond that are just as country. I am more partial to the Southern ones.

Apparently, so is America. They can laugh at us, but we got the last laugh.


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