It has been over a year since I posted a blog. And what a year! I’m not ready to write about it, but I want to write something, so I decided to start off the year with a brief explanation of hillbilly praise.

Hillbillies are among the least understood ethnic groups in America. Others think they are lazy and shiftless when they are merely laconic. Hillbillies love understatement. They tend not be very expressive or dramatic. How do I know? Because I am a hillbilly.

It’s true.

My mother tried hard to cut us off from our hillbilly roots, but some things are bred in the bone. I grew up unaware that I carried within myself all the characteristics of a true hillbilly. Not until I began to notice that other people had a hard time reading me did I wonder why. Then my wife began to point out certain turns of phrase.

For example, she would ask my opinion of a movie. “Pretty good,” I would say whether I liked it or not. Over time she learned to detect subtle differences in the way I said “pretty good.” If I really liked something, I would say “pretty GOOD” with a subtle emphasis on the “good.” But if I thought it was dreck but didn’t want to offend, I would say “PRETty good.” For something mediocre or if I had no opinion, I would just say it without inflection.

Once I got started, I saw all kinds of things that marked me as a hillbilly. I’ve learned to embrace it, but it hasn’t been easy. People ask me how I’m doing. And now you know my answer: Pretty good.