Jesus was a hillbilly
(Particularly dedicated to those native souls in our region who proudly speak the King’s English with a distinctly Appalachian drawl and dialect)
We all know it’s not highly unusual for folks from around our nation, and even the world, to gaze a bit down their noses toward the people of our Southern Appalachian Highlands.
I have found the main reason for such a show of disrespect can be traced to one primary trait of our region’s people – the colorful dialect /accent by which we speak the English language. I’ve certainly experienced this sense of contempt myself, as has the native reader, no doubt, when travelling away from our elevated homeland.
Some from beyond (and even within) our region make the mistake of referring to the way we speak as “country”.
We proudly speak “hillbilly”, sir and madam, as we live in a mountainous land. Bona fide “country” talk is uttered further down South, the abode of flatlanders.
Whenever I venture to other terrain on the map, my mountain accent/dialect guides everyone within earshot toward my turf of birth. When I speak, all doubt of my ancestral origin is removed.
Although it disturbs me, the too-oft accepted assumption that a person’s general intelligence might be deduced from their particular elocution of a language surprises me not.
What perplexes me far more is the fact that I’ve found too many of our own native folk who are admittedly ashamed of their distinctly Appalachian articulation. Yes, a surprising number of our homegrown mountain clan would, if they could, trade in their drawling tongue.
To those who would do so, I cry, “Blasphemy!” in my most assuredly authentic hillbilly diction.
Several years ago now, I wrote the following personal letter to Ms. Andrea Mitchell, NBC news correspondent, in response to an internationally televised comment during which she insulted and defamed the honorable people of our Appalachian region. Somehow I never mailed the letter, but I found it did me unspeakable good to write it.
Here is the letter, in its proud colloquial entirety:
By the way, Ms. Mitchell, Jesus was a hillbilly too. Yep, it's the Gospel Truth. Jesus was a bona fide hillbilly, a heap of a whole lot like us present day Appalachian Mountain folk. And if'n you're already a-countin' yourself among the unbelievers regardin’ this here right provable fact, be prepared to repent and be born again.
Yep, Ms. Mitchell, you can take the boy out of the hills, but you simply can't take the hills out of the boy. If we could, we might ask Jesus’ right hand disciple, Simon Peter.
Ms. Mitchell (I know you know this already), the followin’ scene took place on the night of Jesus' crucifixion: