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by Marshall A. Dean

Rednecks are a popular target of humor these days. I've read jokes about rednecks on e-mail, web pages, even books. My problem: I enjoy the humor (at least some of it) but I have an uncomfortable feeling. Redneck humor puzzles me because I can not identify what or who a redneck is. I have read numerous descriptions of rednecks but I have never spotted someone who truly fits the description. That is strange because I live in the heart of Dixie which I understand is supposed to be a central section of redneck country.

I thought about that last summer when we went to Wetumpka's beautiful city park on the Coosa River to enjoy the annual 4th of July celebration. The place was swarming with people, young and old and in-between.

I thought to myself, Surely this is the place to be to spot a true redneck. So I studied the crowd. Everyone was dressed casually. The temperature was close to 90. Most of the men had on shorts and T-shirts. Most of the T-shirts had printing on them indicating they were either Auburn or Alabama fans. Many were wearing caps with various logos on them. However, I could not identify for sure a single redneck, although many of them, including me, had red necks from the hot sun.

Maybe, I thought, I can spot a redneck by his lady friend.

While my wife, Betty, was off getting a snack, I looked closely at the females, young and old. I only spotted one who might have been a redneck lady friend. She was arm in arm with a tall young man who was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, and stripped to the waist. She was wearing an abbreviated blue tank top and an eye-catching green and black striped bikini bottom.

I watched as they ambled across the park. For some reason, I couldn't get my eyes off that bikini bottom. It moved in a figure eight pattern. I'm sure she knew that just about every male eye in the park was focused on that rotating pattern. Mine included.

Much to my surprise, when they were bout 30 feet away, she turned her head and looked directly at me. I really couldn't make out her expression but I felt that she was saying to me, "You're a dirty old man." I was tempted to run, catch up with her, and tell her, "I'm just doing research. Are you and your young man rednecks?" My better judgment told me that would be an unwise thing to do.

I can spot red bellied woodpeckers out of my kitchen window. But I still don't know how to spot a true redneck person. If anyone out there can clear this up for me, I would appreciate it. Maybe if you are a redneck you can tell me what a redneck is and how they can be identified.


Reproduction rights reserved by the author, Marshall Dean.
He may be contacted by mail at 450 Canyon Road, Wetumpka, Alabama 36093
or by e-mail at marshdean@mindspring.com.

The author is a retired Air Force officer and a converted Yankee.
His column, Rambling Prose, appears each week in the Wetumpka (Alabama) Herald.


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