Jeff Foxworthy really gets on my nerves. I am sure you have heard one of his comedy routines which always begin with, “You might be a redneck if ...” Jeff has parlayed all the really tacky jokes about rednecks into a huge career. Under any other circumstances, I’d be happy for the man’s success. While I do admire Jeff’s success, I resent the fact that he has probably set back the social standing of the people of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia at least 50 years.
As a native Alabamian who has lived in Texas for over 30 years, I have worked hard to educate others about how progressive Alabama is and how many fine, intelligent and cultured people we have in our state. I felt certain that I was gaining ground in that effort. That is until a week ago, when I learned that a fellow Alabamian who also migrated to Texas made such an enormous social blunder that I suspect she may have her Junior League membership revoked. I am speaking of my good friend, Mary Ann, who was returning to Houston from California where she went for the specific purpose of expanding her knowledge of one of America’s most famous scientists, Luther Burbank.
It was after spending three days immersed in scientific study at the Burbank Bean and Pea Museum that she boarded a plane in Los Angeles to return home. By using her frequent flyer miles from her pilgrimages to visit The Tupperware Museum in Tupper, Ohio, and The Minnie Pearl Hat Collection in Nashville, she was able to upgrade her seat to first class. Mary Ann had never been in first class before and it is possible that the excitement of that experience wiped out years of study at the Sadie Littlegreen Finishing School for Young Women of Lower Peachtree, Ala. Who can say?
After she was seated and the plane was airborne, she had a nagging feeling that the gentleman seated next to her looked vaguely familiar. Was he an associate of her husband, Wendell? Or was he the plumber who unstopped that nasty drain?
“Hello, I’m Mary Ann. You look so familiar, have we met?”
“No, I don’t think so, I’m Alec Baldwin and I’m in films. I live in Los Angeles. You may have also seen me on TV.”
“Oh, that’s nice. I don’t get to many films. You weren’t in ‘Gone with the Wind,’ were you? It’s my favorite.”
“No, I’m afraid not. Where are you from, Mary Ann?”
“I live in Texas now, but I am a native of Alabama. Alec, nice to meet you. I really wish we had time to talk, but I’ve just returned from a visit to the Bean and Pea Museum and I have some fascinating literature about purple-hull crowders I’m dying to finish. You know one cannot be too well educated or too well informed about the world around them.”
I’ve contacted other Alabamians living in the area to help me work with Mary Ann. Harriet, who has through years of speech therapy been able to finally say “alcohol” instead of “al-ke-hol,” and Linda, who now uses “ya’ll” only 15 times per day as opposed to 50, are helping me. We’re starting with simple flashcards, this week – our president and his cabinet, next week – national and international politics, and so on. I know it won’t be easy, but our home state’s reputation is at stake. I can tell you one thing, if I’m successful with Mary Ann, I’ll be happier than a tick in a hound’s ear. Oops!