I have yet to fully adopt my husband’s appreciation for new country music. As a friend recently commented, "It sounds like bad 80’s radio". I mostly agree, but there are a handful of standout artists and songs that offer a signature flavor and timeless songwriting.

I listen to my fella’s favorite country station, drink from his most beloved coffee mug, and wear his dog tags while he’s away. It makes me feel closer to him when we’re separated. And that country station out of Hagerstown, MD, features comic relief that is hard to find elsewhere on the dial…like "Crooks are Stupid" stories, and colorful local weekend happenings.
So earlier this week while he was in Raleigh, I spent a few morning minutes on the deck with French press coffee in a faded orange Limbaugh "Jihad Java" mug and twirled the Army issued aluminum tags between my fingers. My (former) soldier’s social security number is there alongside his full name and "Roman Catholic". I love how the sound of dog tags are so distinctive.
Seeing them around my neck a few years back my little brother (38) asked, "Hey, those are cool…did you buy them at Urban Outfitters?"
"No. Only a schmuck would do that. If you like dog tags then why don’t you ask Dad for his?"
"Oh yeah, I think I will."
Of course, my brother more recently made the grave mistake of wearing a vintage "Airborne" t-shirt over to our house, much to the chagrin of my husband who was actually in the 82nd.
"Your brother’s gonna get his ass kicked if he wears that into the wrong bar…" smirked Ranger Joe.
"He doesn’t even know what *Airborne* means. Be nice!" I ordered (with a smile). "…and he doesn’t understand what it takes to earn that title…like most other people not at Fort Bragg…"
As I sipped my favorite brew, a song called "Redneck Crazy" was playing…a borderline disturbing melody about a jilted guy with a Silverado who stalks his girlfriend and her new side dish (who incidentally drives a comparatively puny truck). I’m coming to understand that in the country music genre, the measure of a man is in the cubic square feet of his truck bed…
Next came the catchy tune entitled, "Little White Church". A song about a girl who isn’t giving her man "no more chicken and gravy" unless he takes her "down to the Little White Church". The lyrics in that song are hilarious…a chippy gal withholding future canoodling until her man buys the proverbial cow…"I might be cheeeeeap, but I ain’t free" she scorns.
Then a commercial break interrupted my country-over-coffee song set to announce the upcoming Maryland "Redneck Games". I generally ignore ads but was curious about this particular event. I imagined shirtless big boys sporting overalls in a scrapple eating contest…or the crushing of beer cans on unsuspecting foreheads in pursuit of a smoked ham. But a toilet seat toss instead of horseshoes? I may need to see that.
Maryland has a long standing history of unrefined entertainment such as the debunked "Running of the Urinals", a revered Preakness tradition of acute debauchery on set course for revival, much to the dismay of high-brow attendees and local law enforcement.
Pimlico will never equal the likes of Derby or Belmont "polite" society simply because Maryland’s core has always been working class. Despite her century-long stint as a major city in America (only topped by Philadelphia and New York), Baltimore has too much character to be blue blood. And we are certainly proud of our lack of scruples, especially when it comes to having fun.
Which is why the Maryland Redneck Games promise to be so amusing…and not just to fun-loving uncouth Mid-Atlantic Americans. It seems that the Redneck Games (previously called The Redneck Olympics) which began in Duluth, Georgia in 1996, has even caught the attention of the BBC.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t make it to the original RNG in Georgia or to Maryland to witness the armpit serenade or mud belly flop competition. There are similar demonstrations of honky, drunken prowess in Maine, Arizona, and Arkansas, just to name a few.
Best part about the Redneck Games? Proceeds go directly to charity, feeding and clothing the truly needy.
Which makes bobbing for pigs feet, infinitely more delicious.
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