Tuesday, 31 January 2012

By the way, Rush

     From one who had people in his background who used the term and applied it to themselves at times, allow me to interject for all the people who are still actually sane out there.    Cracker, like the word Gringo, is a term of balance.  It is only an insult if it is said in an insulting way.  Red-neck, hill-billy, web-foot (Cajun), and a thousand other terms are used  to describe what is essentially best defined as the Upland South White Man.  Red-necks are normally associated with eastern Texas, northernmost Louisiana, and Arkansas.  Georgia, especially north Georgia is the home of the Cracker, Eastern Tennessee-Western North Carolina and South Carolina is hillbilly....and to a lesser extent southern Missouri and northern Arkansas (Ozarks and Boston Mountains people).    Central Texas has what the Mexicans call "posteros" or "cedar-choppers" ....people who make posts from cedar limbs.    And on, and on.
BUT!    Cracker is certainly a person of both great and small resource. But either way, he or she is a person who cracks a cob of un-shelled corn shortly after harvest, and throws different parts into different piles.   This base end of fat corn goes to the still'n, and the middle three-fourths we'll put'n in for grindin' into pone-meal.  And the tail of d'cob will go to the hogs.    Of course,  any leavings will be raked up and fed to the chickens.....but not that mean old rooster over there....he just won't share to be beaten.   (he is so obstinate that he'll take a beating before he shares.)
File:Georgia cracker peaches.jpg     When the song says, "Jimmy, crack corn, and I don't care....",  it refers to a person who is not qualified to judge which part of the corn goes to where, being allowed to  crack corn caus'n the one who is in charge just doesn't care how the job winds up.
     Oddly, the term applies generally to white folks, but in the good old days the black folks were as apt to be sittin' on the upside-down bucket singin' or gossipin' while "dey cracked de coin".    Further, in some of those places a Yankee would have to sneak up really close to tell if da talkin' people wuz a white cracker or a black cracker.....caus'n they sounded a lot alike.  The accent points and pronunciation written in this little paragraph, for instance, is how my Granma Mamie and Granpa Rex sounded.    They were from Eastern Tennessee.
corn sheller manual hand operated     Hand-powered kernelers or shellers pretty much destroyed the "cracking" of corn by the turn from the 1800s into the 1900s in all save the most traditional areas.

Pleasant Hill Grain
Corn Sheller

Tough cast iron construction
& fast, easy operation!

White Southerners wear our provinciality as a badge of honor.   We thought the Beverly Hillbillies and the Dukes of Hazard was genealogical about our own famblies.   We were rat proud of all o'dem.
El Gringo Viejo