Redneck roots hard to hide

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

If you have a bass plug mailbox in your driveway …

You just might be a redneck.

The mailbox might have started out as a joke, but it’s true that it’s in my driveway and I are a redneck.

My sister and my niece have been teasing me about the outdoor print shirts I wear. I’ve got elk, deer and muzzleloaders, ducks and a variety of fish species and fishing scenes in both long and short sleeves. Not T-shirts or sweatshirts mind you (though I have them too), but good-looking button-down shirts you can wear to church.

My sister thought my redneckness needed to be taken to the next level so when the niece found a neon chartreuse mailbox in the shape of a bass chugger she phoned her mom and they made plans to give it to me at Christmas.

I made out like I was prouder of that mailbox than a speckled pup. My wife was horrified at the thought of that being out front of her house and couldn’t contain herself. Her protests were what made the gag gift so good. By the time she had quit rolling her eyes at the sight of it, I had promised myself that I was actually going to install it.

As I put the final touch of attaching the tail-hook with its green skirt onto the mailbox this week on my day off, a touch of redneck pride swelled inside me.

Sure, I have a portrait of my extended family that when you look at it, you can actually begin to hear the theme to “Deliverance.”

Yes, I’ve lived in a trailer house. Twice. Even lived in a trailer park in one of those fine residences.

I’ve told my wife over and over that those two homes were the best places I ever lived, but I don’t think she believes me. Somehow, mobile home living left me more time to hunt and fish. Maybe it was because the heating and cooling in both left a lot to be desired and I figured if I was going to endure the elements, I might as well be out on the lake.

I’ve owned pickup trucks that would have made any redneck proud. You know the type, $500-worth of tires and wheels and $400-worth of truck with a tick-bitten dog in the back, tongue lolling and ears flappin’ in the breeze.

It’s also true that during the summer those trucks were never without a fishing pole in the back of them and in the winter the truck always carried a shotgun and often duck or goose decoys and waders.

I don’t know if all that makes me a true redneck or not, but I did once own a “Dueling Banjos” eight-track.

My wife refuses to let herself be classified as redneck but I think she’s worse than I am.

For years I’ve come home only to find her absorbed in a of “Dukes of Hazard” rerun. She laughs so hard at the Blue Collar Comedy Tour gang that it makes me wonder whether she’s laughing at rednecks or with them. She was also the one who insisted on seeing Larry the Cable Guy’s health inspector movie.

If you ask me, her redneck roots are showing.

With the mailbox up, I told my wife I could hardly wait to retrieve my first Bass Pro Shops catalog from its mouth.

I asked if she wasn’t proud enough of the mailbox to let me go ahead and put our name on it. She suggested I just put the name “Clampett” on the bass bug’s side and the redneck transformation would be complete.