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21 Reasons You’re A True Hillbilly

1. Your Great-Granddad and Great Uncles weren’t bankers.

Your Great-Granddad and Great Uncles weren't bankers.

I think my Great Granddad (middle) was one cool-looking badass.

family photo

“Hillbilly” is of course in today’s world, a pejorative word.
But, most of us hillbillies wear the label with pride, a big pride flatlanders can’t understand.
Though I’ve been in New York City for 20+ years, and actually grew up in Southern New Jersey, I am still a hillbilly, because I came from hillbillies. And, I will always be a hillbilly, dagnabbit.
Now, let’s take a country road to West Virgina.

2. You learned how to fire a minimum of four guns by the age of 12: BB, .22, 12-gauge, and an assortment of pistols.

You learned how to fire a minimum of four guns by the age of 12: BB, .22, 12-gauge, and an assortment of pistols.

13-year-old me taking shots with a .22 at Hills Bros. coffee cans.
My 17-year-old mom coolly blasting away in the snow down in the holler.

family photos

Dad (foreground), trying to look like Clyde, but he’s more of a Cletus.

Dad (foreground), trying to look like Clyde, but he's more of a Cletus.
family photo

3. Guns are simply a part of life. Hunting (along with fishing) are two of your main sources for dinner. And not merely because of money, though that’s a big reason. It’s how you live.

Guns are simply a part of life. Hunting (along with fishing) are two of your main sources for dinner. And not merely because of money, though that's a big reason. It's how you live.

PHOTO: The Hatfield clan, 1897.

4. You’ve eaten deer? Of course. Bear? Check. And, yes, squirrel (below). It’s a bit gamey.

You've eaten deer? Of course. Bear? Check. And, yes, squirrel (below). It's a bit gamey.

5. You’ve not eaten skunk, but you know folk who have.

6. There is only one kind of tea.

There is only one kind of tea.

7. You’ve had moonshine, the real stuff, and, yes, it’s better’n sunshine.

You've had moonshine, the real stuff, and, yes, it's better'n sunshine.

8. You’ve shit in multiple outhouses (minimum: 2).

You've shit in multiple outhouses (minimum: 2).

One time, as a kid, I was staring at one of these while taking a shit in my grandparent’s outhouse. Her hourglass glows in the dark, by the way.

One time, as a kid, I was staring at one of these while taking a shit in my grandparent's outhouse. Her hourglass glows in the dark, by the way.

An outhouse is never “out of order”

An outhouse is never "out of order"

9. You grew up in a log cabin (a real one) in a “holler.”

You grew up in a log cabin (a real one) in a "holler."

10. “Holler” is how you say “hollow,” which is a small valley, which is everywhere in Appalachia.

"Holler" is how you say "hollow," which is a small valley, which is everywhere in Appalachia.

Photo of a cabin in Butcher Holler, Kentucky.

11. During the day, you hunted for crawdads (good fishing bait) in — not streams, not “creeks,” but “cricks.”

During the day, you hunted for crawdads (good fishing bait) in — not streams, not "creeks," but "cricks."

12. While hunting for crawdads, you’ve had one of these slither between your legs. Water Moccasins move unbelievably fast.

While hunting for crawdads, you've had one of these slither between your legs. Water Moccasins move unbelievably fast.

13. Summer nights, you hunted for nightcrawlers (bait) amongst fireflies.

Summer nights, you hunted for nightcrawlers (bait) amongst fireflies.
Photograph by Teruo Araya  /  via: photography.nationalgeographic.com

14. Your Grandfather was a coal miner, as were/are many of your relatives. Your Grandfather and maybe a few other relatives died of black lung disease.

Your Grandfather was a coal miner, as were/are many of your relatives. Your Grandfather and maybe a few other relatives died of black lung disease.

Not my Grandfather.
Portrait of a coal miner in Omar, West Virginia, 1938.
Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart, National Geographic.

B. Anthony Stewart  /  via: natgeofound.tumblr.com

15. You bathed like this (our tin bathub was much smaller) with well water heated on the biggest cast iron stove ever made. You took turns. Everybody used the same water.

You bathed like this (our tin bathub was much smaller) with well water heated on the biggest cast iron stove ever made. You took turns. Everybody used the same water.

16. You have this many cousins (this is your extended family at the beach).

You have this many cousins (this is your extended family at the beach).

“Coney Island Beach” by Weegee, 1940.

Weegee  /  via: aphelis.net

17. But you’ve never had sex with any of them.

But you've never had sex with any of them.

18. And even though you’ve been here for 20+ years, you are never ever comfortable in New York City.

And even though you've been here for 20+ years, you are never ever comfortable in New York City.

19. Because this…

Because this...

20. …and this, are always in your mind.

...and this, are always in your mind.

21. Finally, this will always make a grown Hillbilly man cry.

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