21 Reasons You’re A True Hillbilly

You’ve eaten squirrel. You’ve shat in many an outhouse. And you’ve shot guns. Many guns.

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

family photo

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

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“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.

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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.

family photos

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

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

family photo
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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.

PHOTO: The Hatfield clan, 1897.

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

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

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6. There is only one kind of tea.

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

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

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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.

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An outhouse is never “out of order”

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

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

Photo of a cabin in Butcher Holler, Kentucky.

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

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

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

Photograph by Teruo Araya / Via photography.nationalgeographic.com
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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.

B. Anthony Stewart / Via natgeofound.tumblr.com

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

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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.

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

Weegee / Via aphelis.net

“Coney Island Beach” by Weegee, 1940.

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

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

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19. Because this…

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

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

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