Redneck, a term used disparagingly by many and a stereotype fomented by the likes of Jeff Foxworhy, yet born proudly by those of us who understand where the term comes from. Back in the days when many wore neckties even around the farm, there was a hardy lot of men who eschewed such things and bore the mark of the sun upon their exposed necks. Necks that were exposed to the elements as they went about their daily lives doing what men do “to get the coon” (whatever it takes to obtain what is needed or desired for daily sustenance.)

Such are the backwoodsmen and farmers, miners (black necks?) and stockmen that built the infrastructure of what we know as The United States of America. Rednecks. And leaving Jeff Foxworthyisms aside, what tends to indicate a redneck or someone with such a background? A pocketknife in their trouser pocket and a vehicle containing “the bare necessities” to jumpstart civilization and/or take care of needful tasks that may crop up along the way are just a couple of common denominators of the breed.

The year was 1998 and it was cold. We’d gone into town for something and found a lady with a car that wouldn’t start – dead battery. As we were up from S. America for a few months on “Home Service”, our vehicle didn’t contain all the paraphernalia we’d learned to carry with us down south. So I told the lady to hang on and I’d be right back. Down to the local wallyworld I went, straight to the automotive section where I got a good idea of the options – and chose not the cheapest but the best I could afford at the moment. Heavy gauge wire, heavy duty clamps, long enough to stretch across the front of two vehicles if needed, those were the cables I selected and carried back to get the lady out of the cold and on her way home. And those cables were included in our luggage upon our return south where they’ve resided in the trunk of various vehicles over the years, being brought out only occasionally, but always with appreciation from the person being helped. Machete, small hatchet, a tool box with basic things, a multimeter, two extinguishers, wheel chocks, a tow rope, hydraulic jack, a small set of sockets and a ratchet along with a decent 12v compressor – these are the type of things that reside in the trunk “just in case”. A quart of oil, radiator fluid, brake fluid – you never know for sure what you’ll run into or need along life’s journey.And at one time or another, all these and more have come in handy.

So, getting back to the title, “How do you make a redneck happy?” – give him a chance to use the tools, knowledge and abilities he’s been carting around for years. “See? I TOLD you it’d come in handy some day!” he’ll say, or at least think, as the situation at hand is resolved due to his forethought and preparation.