Hillbilly, or Not
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by Frank Shortt
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2016 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
Throughout life, while traveling around, I have been many places, seen many things, and met many
interesting people, from statesmen, to those who are in a homeless condition.
Due to a lingering
Virginia/southern Appalachia accent, I have been called many things by different people of all locations. I have been called a hillbilly,
ridgerunner, stump jumper, an Okie, and have even been referred to as ‘white trash’! If my life and accent is what identifies me,
then all of those monikers must be true.
I served my country during the Vietnam War awaiting
any orders that might come my way. My outfit assisted in keeping the B-52’s flying 24/7 as we were in the Cold War with Russia and
figured that they could attack at any time. The way things looked back then, we were looking for a quick trip to Heaven if the enemy
broke our barriers of defense.
I married a good American wife about eight months before my hitch
was up in the Air Force. After we were released from the military, I worked two and three jobs to support her, and the children after
they arrived. I got awfully tired back then and was not always the best of company for my wife and children.
In 1964, I was working for Norton Abrasives Company, and Barry Goldwater was running for president. Having just been released from
the military, and Goldwater being a General in the Air Force Reserve, I figured I would support him. As I grew older, I found out
a lot about him that I had not known previously, so I decided to only vote the person and not the party. If I am asked “Do you love
America? I emphatically reply, Yes, I do!”
Is it my accent that gives me away? Is it because
I have been accused of having one leg shorter than the other? Is it because when I meet my fellow man, I tend to call him brother?
You can keep calling me whatever you want if that is what makes you feel good about yourself. You can call me lazy, no good, or you
can refer to me as a louse. But maybe it would be a good idea to get to know me a little while before you call me all those names.
Since my retirement from the San Jose School Department, I have ventured out to attend the local
college taking a Creative Writing course. Since then, I write for at least three newspapers, three college journals, an online magazine,
and wherever else I can get published. I am now 73 years old and still have many traces of a Southern accent.
There is one thing for sure! I do not care what you call me. As long as you call me when it is chow time, I’ll continue to be as happy
as a mouse allowed to run loose in a cheese factory!