Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back Where I Come From

Oh my gosh. I love Tennessee. It is hilarious. Especially, I think, to people who are not from here, but as an old Tennessean, I think I have the right to laugh a bit louder.

We had a terrible thunderstorm last night. That's not funny, of course, but the rednecks reacting to it just cracked me up.

My mom and I went to visit my grandfather yesterday, and he lives about two hours from Knoxville. Mom drove up there so I was driving back. I kept desperately searching the radio for the new Sugarland song (Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo!) when we heard a severe thunderstorm warning for the area we were driving into. We heard that at an exit along the interstate we hadn't yet approached, there was a powerline down on the other side of us so we knew we'd hit some traffic. Those rubberneckers. Gotta love em.

All of a sudden, it hit! Thunder, lightening and a monsoon of a downpour. My mom is, of course, freaking out next to me offering helpful suggestions like "Slow down!" and "Be careful!" About as helpful as when I advise Peyton Manning to "Throw the ball!!" and tell my Vols to "Get a touchdown!"

The worst was yet to come, though, because soon it started hailing. This really sent her off. She continued with her helpful remarks.

"Oh my gosh! It's hailing! Can you see that?"

"I don't see why it has to rain so hard. Do you??"

"There's a truck next to you!"

Yes, thank you. My mom is the ultimate backseat driver. Her gasps and tight grip on the door didn't help much either. She was really concerned about the hail, which is understandable, but there's not much that can be done about it at the time. I really hate it when people pull over on the side of the road during a storm. Be tough, and weather it out, people. Parking on the highway for half an hour just seems useless and chickenshit to me.

"It's hailing so hard, I think we should pull over." - Mom

"Ok, it's your car. I will if you want me to." - Me

"It's hailing! Ooo look at the size of it!" - Mom

"Yeah. Do you want me to pull over?" - Me

"It's raining so hard! Watch out!" - Mom

"Mom. Do you want me to pull over or are you ok?"

"Look at the hail! It's soooo BIG!" - Mom

I decided to keep on driving, but became rather alarmed when she started shouting, "Be careful! My brakes don't work!" Not the thing you want to hear as you're navigating on an interstate in a thunderstorm. I yelled back, "Why am I driving a car with brakes that don't work!?! Are you crazy?!?"

I had the radio turned up because music calms me, and eventually they stopped playing songs and started talking about the traffic and the power outages. Then the rednecks started calling. To the station's credit, the first caller was legitimate and offered important information. She was stuck on the other side of the interstate, where it was closed, and told people the best way to turn around and get away from it. After that, though, every Jim Bob and Ellie Sue wanted to hear their voices on the radio.

"Yes, we have a call from Ellie Sue. Are you there, Ellie Sue?"

"Oh sure, uh huh. I'm here. I'm out here on Cedar Lane. There's a tree down."

"Ok, a tree down, you say?"

"Yuh. It's down, but itaint in the road or nothing. Ain't blocking traffic any. But there is a wreck. It's at the traffic light."

"Oh...ok...the traffic light?"

"Yuh."

"Ok, then thanks for calling."

I asked my mom why the woman thought anyone needed to hear about a road that had only one traffic light. She said, "All the rednecks have cell phones now."

More ridiculous calls followed. And they aired all of them. Rednecks (and I can call them that because they're my people) just love to be on the radio or on TV. Before a UT football game, every drunk idiot calls up from his tailgate just to say "Go Vols!"

And I just hate it that whenever a tornado hits in the Southland, they find the most ignorant redneck - always fat, sometimes in a moo-moo, sometimes with a mullet and/or handlebar mustache. I remember I was in Birmingham about ten years ago when a tornado ripped through downtown Nashville. I remember this exactly. A man with a blond mustache and mullet, wearing a ripped up t-shirt and jeans, was on CNN, and this was what he said:

"Uh huh. Well, we was comin' on outta that there Nascar Cafe, and I looked up in the sky. And you know what the first thing I thought was? I thought about that movie Twister, ya seen it? And I thought about how them Hollywood movies are spot on. It looked just like them twisters in that movie. Just like em, I say."

Oh, thanks for makin' me proud to be from the Great State of Tennessee.

In the town where I was raised
The clock ticks and the cattle graze
Time passed with Amazing Grace
Back where I come from
Now you can lie on a riverbank
Paint your name on a water tank
Or miscount all the beers you drank
Back where I come from

Back where I come from
Where I'll be when it's said and done
I'm proud as anyone
Back where I come from

We learned in Sunday school
Who made the sun shine through
I know who made the moonshine, too
Back where I come from
Blue eyes on a Saturday night
Tan legs in the broad day light
TV's, they were black and white
Back where I come from

Back where I come from
Where I'll be when it's said and done
I'm proud as anyone
Back where I come from

Some say it's a backward place
Narrow minds on a narrow way
I make it a point to say
That that's where I come from

That's where I come from
Where I'll be when it's said and done
I'm proud as anyone
That's where I come from
Back where I come from
I'm an old Tennessean
And I'm proud as anyone
That's where I come from

1 comments:

Mel said...

1) I *heart* Kenny. And I *double heart* that song. -teenage moment over-.
2) I am from LA. Meaning Lower Alabama. Actually Pensacola, but believe me, they don't call it the redneck riviera for nothing. I feel like Melanie in Sweet Home Alabama everytime I go home.

That story warmed my heart. Funny stuff D. The "all rednecks have cell phones now" is classic.

One of the only things that's worse than this is that someone gave my best friends Mom a computer and showed her MySpace. Oh dear lord.

M

 
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