Living the old way (kinda)

As I sit here 24 hours without power I have to think how it was in the days before electronics. I woke up this morning at 7am and didn’t realize what time it was. As I am sitting here now, it is 8pm and I am felling like I need to go to bed. It is dark in here, except for the light of the fireplace and very quiet. I can’t help but think of days before television, computers and things that keep me up late.

I also have to think of what families did in those days, without tv and video games. Kids had to entertain themselves, maybe reading or playing some sort of board game, or imagine this, family time!

Now I know I am not roughing it, I have a gas fireplace, I have a propane cooking stove, running water and this iPhone to keep me “in touch.” But it seems to me that this is just what we as people need once in a while. We need jolted Back to a simpler time, a time when families talk, a time when it got dark, it was bed time and when daylight came it was time to get up. Sometimes I wonder if technology has killed the way you should live. Yeah, I am writing this on my iPhone, and yes I am bored silly, but really I think if families did this once a month, maybe everyone would appreciate what we have just a little more.

Many people without power are swearing at the power companies, me, as much as I would love to have my power back, would thank them for the job they do and sash “no rush, it is peaceful here tonight.”

Rednecks Vs City folk: Why I am Proud to be a Redneck!

Yes folks, I am a redneck from West Virginia and proud of it. I have never claimed to be anything else. In the past 31 years since I graduated high school and moved around the country, my status as a redneck has stayed with me.

Now, before I go any further, let me explain to those who think that the term Redneck is a bad word, it is not. It actually came to be known because of the coal wars (1920 – 1921) in southern West Virginia, when the coal companies were forcing the miners to work in unsafe conditions and the coal miners wanted to join the union. A fight broke out, and several company thugs were killed in Matewan, WV. Then the union coal miners from northern West Virginia marched south to help the miners against the coal companies. The northern coal miners wore red bandanas so that they would be recognized as the good guys and thus, the term Redneck was coined. Yes, I know there are a thousand and one other thoughts as to where the term was coined, but I am pretty sure that this is the one that is the true meaning of the word!

Now that we know where the term Redneck came from, we can discuss the differences between them and city folk. We rednecks are tough, resilient and resourceful! We all like to laugh at someone who puts a metal watering trough above a fire and then uses it for a hot tub, but really, how many city folk would think to do that? Instead of spending $4,000 to buy a heated tub, the redneck used what he had and it worked just fine (maybe after a few comedy of errors).

The point is, Rednecks are not dumb people. They know what they have and they solve problems using what they have.

Now, I recently got into a conversation that was started from the Duck Commander’s suspension being lifted (I won’t get into the whole A&E thing) and one person who was clearly from the city (when I use city, I am talking about NYC size, not small town) and he was so appalled by all the redneck reality shows on TV now and how the world would be better off without rednecks. That is where I entered into the debate.

I explained to all who read that if ever something happened to our infrastructure, electric grid, electronics etc… that those people would be complaining about not having any food, TV, or any modern convenience that they enjoy now and that many who live in the city would perish! Well, I set off a firestorm with that comment!

He went on to say “Shouldn’t you be off researching what seeds Glenn Beck thinks are best to have for when the apocalypse comes ?”

When I explained to him that being ready is not a bad thing and that most rednecks do not need to have anyone tell us what we need to survive, it only got worse in the debate as another city person stated this:

Oh yeah – I forgot all about Doomsday Preppers (mostly just paranoid ignorant rednecks too).

You don’t fool me. Most people on welfare, sucking off the teat of the government, are white – and almost all of those who aren’t black or Hispanic are white trash rednecks or southern hillbillies.

The “lazy ignorant Southerner” label is more than just a stereotype – for many it’s a fact. Many blame it on ‘the humidity’. As transplanted yankee living in the South, I realize that could very well be.

Well, after I quit laughing at them, I said, well, I am not a prepper, I am prepped! Meaning that I know what to do when the time comes. I do not need to watch reality TV to know what to do and I certainly do not need anyone else giving me advice when they think that “the meat in grocery stores are from animals that are not harmed!”

So, the city folk quit debating me when I asked them what they would do if ever something happened. Not one could answer and they clammed up. I ended by saying:

“I know exactly what to do, I don’t have to research anything. unlike people like you. You will go steal what you want, or try to. Won’t make it far, because the people who are able to survive will not put up with looters like you.”

Well, maybe I was a little harsh, but such is life and if you want to survive, you learn how to take care of yourself. I have no problem in saying that if anything ever happened, I would still be fat and happy as I am right now. City folk, not so much. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how things go!

So, with that being said, I am very proud to be a Redneck from West Virginia!


Coming home: It’s that time of year again!

It is a week before I begin my travels to my hometown for the Thanksgiving holiday and some much needed time in the woods deer hunting.

But this year, it is a little different. You see, my hometown is in a bit of spot with City Hall not being transparent, people feeling harassed and intimidated when they speak out against those in charge of the city. Well, I have a bit of advice for the residents of my little town, stand up, be heard and do not back down. Just like the lack of transparency can cause chaos in the federal government, it can crush a small town and when residents allow that to happen, you can’t blame anyone but yourself.

Now I am one who does not take to intimidation very well. I will tell you what I think and if you don’t like it, walk away. You can discuss differences and come to middle grounds or even an agreement, but you have to know all the facts.

Now, someone might ask, “what do you care, you don’t live here?” or “you don’t know all the facts!” I would agree with that, except for two points:

1. I care because that is my hometown and I am moving back.

2. I have seen what both sides have said in public forum as well as watch clips from local news and articles written about what is going on.

Now this little town has gone on social media and has an “Official” information page. But the problem is, they do not post relevant information, like when the next council meeting will be held, where it is and what is on the agenda, and the minutes of the previous meetings. When businesses use social media, they allow the customer to originate posts when they have questions or comments, good or bad about the host page. On this particular page, that is not allowed. So, I took it upon myself to post the city council meeting just an hour before it began, so that those who did not know would be informed.

After the meeting was over, I went back to the host page and my comment had been deleted, and I was magically banned from making any further comments on the page. My comment was simply “Don’t forget the city council meeting at 7pm.”

Well, I had written to the administration asking why it was deleted and why they banned me, but they have yet to respond to me. Instead, they posted this “This facebook page is for city information only any negative posting will be removed.  Let’s keep it clean.  Thank you.”

I wrote them another email asking about why they deleted my post again and have yet to get a response to that as well.

Now I am not going to go into the weeds as to all the problems of the town, or name names on here. What I will say is, that it is time for the residents of this great American town to stand up and take it back. The residents own the town, the city government serves you and you as residents deserve to be treated with respect and honesty.

I make it home at least once a year and really look forward to getting back there. Yes, I can see that my trip home will be interesting to say the least, but it will be even more interesting when I finally move back there for good!

Even with all the problems of this great town, I can’t wait to return, it will always be my home. See you soon!

Mountain State Proud: The Reason West Virginia Rarely Makes National News.

I just finished reading a post and all the comments that several friends, my sister and I had written on FaceBook about my hometown, Sistersville. It began when I made the comment about how proud I am to be from West Virginia.

“You know, when I saw the news for the past week about the storms that hit from the great lakes to the east coast, I wonder why the emphasis on Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia was what was in the national news, and only a few mentions of West Virginia. Then I answered my own question, West Virginians are a tough group of people, when something happens there, they don’t go begging for help, they roll up their sleeves, fix what needs fixing and then help their neighbors. They don’t wait for FEMA to get there and they definitely don’t expect help from Washington. This is what makes me so proud of the great state of West Virginia. I have traveled a lot in my life and have lived in many different places, but there is only one place I can honestly say that I was proud to live, and that is West Virginia!”

I was concerned about why the national media would not mention much about WV, but then realized the people there might not have let them in (there was a rimshot there, it was a joke! Ha!). But in all seriousness, West Virginians are probably the most resilient, toughest, yet generous people I have ever known.

Since the storms hit, I have been texting, emailing and calling home, seeing how things were going. A lot of people were telling me, “they have the electric in New Martinsville,” or “the crews are just down the road, we should have electric in a couple hours.” But not once I did I hear anyone complain about anything except maybe how hot it was.  As I read on FaceBook from other posts that were trying to find out how their family members were doing, it was amazing to me how many people would take the time to answer a post with “I am going to be out toward your family’s place, I will check on them for you,” and still others that would post that they had water and ice for those who needed it. To top off the generosity of the people back home, was no matter how much was going on, they would take the time to walk outside and offer water to the crews who worked tirelessly on restoring power to the state.

What I have been talking about, has been just one area of West Virginia, but I can say that the whole state is like this. I mentioned to someone the other day how they should look at people from West Virginia,

“There is no place in the country, let alone the world that has more people that would give the shirt off their backs to help out others, but don’t talk down to them, because the same kindness can turn to a fast butt whoopin by the same people.”

It is funny when you mention West Virginia in another part of the country, they often reply, “Is that the western part of Virginia?” Then when you try to explain that West Virginia is a real state of its own, you get the “Are you kidding me,” and the not so nice jokes that most of us just laugh along with. I mention this because, to most people, West Virginia is a small state, with coal mines, mountains and bad roads, but to people like me, West Virginia is where I want to be, and I long for those “Country Roads, Take Me Home!”

*Note: When I speak of West Virginia in this post, I am also including the entire Ohio Valley, because basically, we are all pretty much the same from there!

A Taste of Heaven: Mister Bee Potato Chips.

If you are from West Virginia everyone has their own reason for going home, family, holidays, Alumni and Mister Bee Potato Chips. I know that sounds funny, but if you are within 200 miles of Parkersburg, you probably know what I mean. You know the old slogan “200 Miles Fresher,” well I can attest in my case it is 600 miles fresher!

Mister Bee has been in continuous operation since 1951 minus a small hiccup in the past couple of years the company is back in operation and in my opinion, better than ever. You see, growing up, there was always a bag of Mister Bee chips in my house, for times when we had burgers, hotdogs or just as a snack. You could not go to a ball field in the local area without seeing the chips being sold there. Mister Bee was without a doubt the best in the state.

Fast forward to now…

When I left home several years ago, before the internet took off I had no idea you could order them online, but in 2006 I had the bright idea to look online to see if they were there and to my delight, they were. I ordered a three pound bag immediately and when they arrived to my door, I devoured them (it took a few days, I promise). A couple of years ago, the economy got in the way of production like it had for so many small businesses and Mister Bee’s future didn’t look bright. Many of my friends and I discussed how we missed being able to go home to get some chips, or order them online, it was truly sad. Mister Bee, being resilient, hired Christie Mallett as the president of the company and now it is back to doing what it has done the best for many years, putting smiles on the faces of those who loved them! Just to tell you how good they really are, on June 3 I left West Virginia with two 1-pound bags of original chips. By Tuesday evening June 5, they were gone. yes, they are that good!

Mister Bee has several different types of chips and even some new products:


  • Original
  • Sour Cream and Onion
  • Barbeque
  • Dip style
  • No Salt
  • Tortilla
  • Cheese Curls
  • Salsa

Now I can say from all of the places I have been around the world that Mister Bee Potato Chips are the best I have ever had anywhere. I challenge anyone who reads this, no matter where you are, order some and then tell everyone about how good they are. I promise, you won’t be sorry.

You can visit Mister Bee on FaceBook and order them online here.