Johnita: Christina said her son Hunter has the ability to hypnotize chickens.
Megan: Where'd you hear that?
Johnita: Aunt Virgie told Dad up at the molasses-making.
Megan: God we're hicks.
That bold truth bothered me when I was Megan's age, and it's likely that I wouldn't have uttered it aloud at 16.
Both sides of my family, Hensley and Blessing, settled in this country about 200 or so years ago and they've been in the Southwest Virginia-Northeast Tennessee area since before the Civil War. (My mom still has the document my however-many-greats Grandfather Blessing signed re-pledging his allegiance to the United States of America after the war ended. It's cool.)
We are far closer to the Clampetts than to the Southerners portrayed in "Gone With the Wind" - if either of those works of fiction ever truly bore resemblance to real people. Both sets of grandparents still had functional outhouses during my lifetime, farming was a way of living, and Grandma kept chickens until the day she died.
By no means am I saying that when I was Megan's age I was embarrassed by my country family. Far from it. I simply longed to be sophisticated, much like the beautiful women I admired in all those classic black-and-white movies.
Ever seen the TV series "Green Acres?" I identified with Lisa. Still do somewhat, to be honest. "New York is where I'd rather stay. I get allergic smelling hay ..."
It warms my soul that my darling niece embraces our family, even though it would be more accurate to say we are "high-tech hicks."
Every 21st-century innovation exists here, and at this point a great many of my relatives probably would have a very difficult time minus their cell phones, 200 channels, high-speed Internet and the like. Cousin's pimped-out pickup truck sporting a gun rack includes Sirius Satellite Radio, TomTom and cell phone integration. You get the picture.
God we're hicks.
Yes, sweetie, we are. Now would you PLEASE put down your iPod Touch and cell for just FIVE minutes?
* Cornhole is a game in which approximately 5-inch-square, cloth bags of corn are tossed toward an angled wooden target, about 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, with a hole about three-fourths of the way to the top. Similar to horseshoes, but even more countrified if that's possible.
** Dinner on the ground is what most Baptists (and likely many other non-Catholic and non-Episcopalian groups but for sure Baptists) call the semiannual after-Sunday-church-take-lots-of-homemade-food-outside-and-eat-until-you-can't-move ritual. Prayerful potlucks, as it were.
*** Pronounced "Catern's."
**** That's right: Kermit.