Proud to be a rebel
Being born and raised in southern West Virginia was a good experience. People were friendly in my small town. I knew almost everyone. But my parents did know everyone. And people knew my mom’s car. Therefore, I could not even park outside a yellow line without my mom knowing about it before I even got home. I had enough to eat and a good place to sleep. Life was good and simple.
My first job and relocation was to Bristol, Tennessee. Another fine town. No language barrier because most people spoke in the same accent as me and my wife. Even now, I tell my wife I would not mind at all to move back to the Bristol area.
Then came our relocation to New York State, the Binghamton area. And things were different. People seemed less friendly; we knew no one, there was no eye contact when people passed on the street, no one spoke, and more hustle and bustle. Not all bad, we did make some good friends while in New York and #2 son was born there.
One of my favorite memories is of a lady from work. After hearing me talk in a southern drawl, she gave me the nickname of “Rebel”. I promptly gave her the name of “Yank”. We addressed each other by those names all the time I was there. When she gave me that name, I took it as a compliment, and I still would today.
Rebel, or Johnny Reb, refers to Confederate soldiers, or southerners in general. But it also can mean “insurrectionist, mutineer, traitor”, which could be considered bad. But it also means ‘someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action, or maverick”, which I would consider a good thing.
However this lady meant it, I took it as a compliment. A song by Confederate Railroad called “I Am Just a Rebel” puts it into words. It goes something like this…
…being a hillbilly don’t get down,
I like it like that, in fact
You know it makes me proud.
I’m American made by my Ma and Pa,
Southern born by the grace of God.
Proud to be a rebel
Till they put me in the ground…