Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Hillbilly Knows No Fear!

 Happy Summer, everyone!! Officially, it's not summer yet; that's about 3 weeks away. Here in Crazy Land though, school's out, so it's summer! Vacation has begun, and I'm going to let The Hillbilly do the heavy lifting today. Today he's going to tell you about growing up manly in the fifties and sixties.

Growing up as a hillbilly boy, there were a few things that I came to understand.  They were basically, that you will not be a wimp, sissy, scaredy-cat, or any other such weenie-sounding descriptive term.  I learned to overcome my fears, be a man, be tough, work through the pain, etc.  Rah!  I learned to respect the danger but not necessarily be fearful.

 For instance, Dad told me to beware of rabid foxes.  People were being attacked and bitten by rabid foxes, so beware.  He would tell me to carry a big stick when I was out tromping around in the wilds so that I could beat off those rabid foxes.  

Actually, because of his continued warning of rabid foxes, they became about the only thing of which I was particularly worried.  But instead of carrying a big stick, I carried a broken piece of cast iron that looked like a medieval weapon that could split a man from stem to stern.  It looked cooler than a stick!  I never got to use it though.  Never did see one of those rabid foxes or for that matter, any other kind of fox. 

Being afraid of the dark was a big no-no!  After dark, my parents would make me deliver things to neighbors who lived a quarter mile away.  And I would say, but there are rabid foxes out there!  That excuse didn’t work.  So I became unafraid of the dark.  I was taught that there were no ghosts.  So I would ride my bike or walk through cemeteries in the dark.  I was fearless!  Come to find out,  after having it instilled in me to not be afraid of such things, I found out that my fearless dad had not been that fearless of the dark, or that brave about walking through cemeteries at night.  Oh well!

If we went to the river where there were cottonmouths, copperheads, rattle snakes, and so on, he would stomp through the snakiest looking places and not be watchful.  I would be following him and thinking, it is usually the last one in line that gets bitten.  I grew up doing the same thing.


Since we were not allergic, we stomped through poison ivy the same way.   I was taught to not show fear around animals because it might provoke their predator instinct.  

Actually this worked pretty well with animals and those who might try to bully me.  That was a good thing, because my mom was a little careless about picking me up after baseball practice and the coach would leave with me all alone there.  Which, realizing that I was 8 years old, I don’t understand at all.   I would sometimes wait for an hour!  

One day, 3 boys, (2 larger boys, and 1 smaller boy), came to me and said this boy can whip you!  And I just looked at them and said I don’t think he can!  Fortunately, they decided to keep on going.  Did I mention that this was the park where they found the friend of mine that I spoke of being murdered by the hitchhiker in my last post!  Mom and coach, what were you thinking!

I had to be tough because I rarely went to the doctor.  Mom had a doctor book!  Mom studied the doctor book.  It was probably from back in witchcraft days.  You know what I mean.  With cures like, step on a nail – step on a cats tail!  I am kidding, don’t call Peta!  Actually, when I stepped on rusty nails and had to pry boards from my foot, Mom had me soak my foot in kerosene for 30 minutes.

By Longhair at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
  Kerosene had great healing powers.  Who knew?  A friend of mine was jumping a creek and put his foot in a copperhead’s mouth.  What did they do?  Yep, you got it!  They soaked his foot in kerosene.   

Yes, sure it had lead in it, but so did all the paint with which I was surrounded.  I am sure it didn’t harm me!  Wait what were we talking about?   Okay, maybe it affected me some?  But what if I did lose 30 points or so of IQ because of lead.  That would still leave 170 points or so.  Oh!  Wait!  170 was what I once weighed!  Maybe it was 17 points.  It is making my head hurt just thinking about --- whatever we were talking about! Maybe I should go soak it in kerosene.

From the Hillbilly’s corner

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