The claim to being a country boy is one made with pride for many who grew up when times in our society were far different that in the present.
Being a country boy relates much more to characteristics of lifestyle than it does distance from a town or city. We would all agree that a city lifestyle has moved far out to the countryside. Subdivisions, once true of new residential areas denoting the growth of an urban center, are now found far out of towns and cities. As urged in times past, take a trip out into the far reaches of Gordon County. What once were fields and pastures on dirt roads are now lined with new houses of style and beauty. And they are often close together.
That is enough said about distance and description of houses and roads. As already noted, those are not the things that make a country boy.
On Monday, Jeff Hawkins and John Allen conducted the funeral services at Belmont Baptist Church for one of the two remaining first cousins of my mother. It was John Allen referring to Sam Poarch as a country boy. He then affirmed that he himself was a country boy. Without doubt, he was referring to life in young days that made each of them a country boy. Allen listed some characteristics allowing the claim to be a country boy.
Both of Sam’s parents grew up in northeast Gordon County. Life took them to Whitfield County where they raised their family of four sons and one daughter in Houston Valley. Visits to Uncle Will and Aunt Myrt Poarch’s were a joy. Many summers allowed for extended stays on their farm. While going there was a passion for my late sister, Jackie McEntyre, I think it was Kayanne Walraven experiencing one of the greatest weeks of her life there one summer.
Sam was indeed a country boy. He knew Gordon County and Gordon County people well. His career away from the farm was working in the growing poultry business for the Strain Poultry (now Cagle) Company. It was that job as representative allowing him to meet and know Gordon County farmers and chicken growers.
Sam and Retha Pritchard were both widowed some three decades ago. They met and married and from that time lived at the corner of Curtis Parkway and the Dews Pond Road. That corner lot might have been country many years ago but it was close to town in these last years.
So, Sam, the country boy was taken out of the country. It is doubtful the country was ever taken out of him.
Whatever our status in older years, it might be that many of us living today might be country boys.
Let me borrow from Jeff Foxworthy’s popular saying, “You might be a redneck if…” I am going to simply say, no matter where you live and whatever your position in business or industry, you might be a country boy if you can claim certain lifestyles or memories from the past. Let us name a few.
You might be a country boy if…
You ate three meals a day at the table with your family.
You took a bath in a galvanized wash tub once a week, often after someone else had used the same water: or, if you often took a bath in the nearby creek.
Your family lived in the same room with the fireplace until mealtime or time for bed.
Your family spent restful summer hours on the front porch.
You walked plowed fields barefooted for long hot days while chopping cotton.
You watched hog-killing days with joyful anticipation of great food.
Your constant companions were chickens running in the yard.
You never ate a “store-bought” sandwich of any kind until you were well in your teens.
Kerosene lamps, wood stoves, fireplaces and candles were your source of energy.
You went to town only once a week on a wagon pulled by two mules.
You never had any money (as in “none”) in your pocket but plenty to eat at home.
You drew from a well every drop of water used at your house.
Yes, Sam was a country boy. And so are many living today.
To be continued.