"Where, oh where, are you tonight?"

I am watching a show on CMT, called Twenty Greatest Country Comedy Shows while making some crunchy-granola vegetarian blue-state chick pea dish. Why? Because John Schneider is hosting it, that’s why: do you need me to spell it out? (But funny, because I was more of a Tom Wopat fan.) I realized I had been weened on nearly all the shows featured.

But one stood out. Hee Haw.

I loved Hee Haw. It was so much fun. My family watched it together. It is the epitome of what Unitarian Universalists aren’t, if we believe our own crepe-hanging. We’re Prairie Home Companion people, right? I don’t believe it (and don’t like Prairie Home Companion, though my family used to listen to that, too.)

I think some of us Hee Haw people heave learned we needn’t talk about the little homespun parts of our backgrounds, and this skews what we think we are. Swap black-eyes for chick peas. One reason someone converts to a new religion — and we’re certainly a convert-intensive — is that there’s an opportunity to improve one’s social standing. Maybe not the only reason, but common enough, or at least a collateral benefit. “Upward and onward forever and ever” indeed!
That can’t be good for our internal sense of being. A cure is disowning the “benefit” by owning your past. So, dear ones, of you like here’s your chance to make yourself known.

4 Replies to “"Where, oh where, are you tonight?"”

  1. What’s fer dinner, Grandpa?

    Waaal, I grew up with my whole family watching Hee-Haw every week. (Thankfully, this did not extend to watching the spin-off, Hee-Haw Honeys.) AND I grew up Unitarian. Was dragged to bluegrass festivals as a teen, where my parents sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the music and I sat on a blanket reading Rolling Stone and wishing I were anywhere else. Did I mention I was a teen?

  2. Gee. Lizard Eater; Ive seen UUs at bluegrass festival, and i even know of one UU Church that had it’s own inhouse Bluegrass Band (with a song about the Church as well). But bluegrass music fans arent the same as country music fans (although i would guess 60-70% of bluegrass fans are country music fans – we cant say the same for the country music fans who are bluegrass fans – at all). Bluegrass fans tend to be either very rural or very urban… Anybody want to guess if the church mentioned by me above was rural or urban?

    As to standing up for Hee Haw; the best I can do is say: sure, I used to watch Hee Haw.
    Indeed I used to watch it after I became an UU –

  3. Yes! I am glad to see that there are some UU’s who don’t like Prairie Home Companion!!! Being from South Dakota (and a Lutheran, but married to a UU), I am frequently told. . .”Oh, you’re from South Dakota?! You must love A Prairie Home Companion!” I usually don’t have the heart to tell them that Garrison Keillor should never, ever, ever be allowed to sing or perform sketch “comedy”.

  4. I grew up watching Hee Haw, listening to Prarie Home Companion, and going to the nearest Unitarian-Universalist church. All of these are parental influences of course: they had the power over the TV knob, the radio dial, and the car (and me). But all of them are remembered fondly (haven’t had a chance to see Hee Haw in perhaps two decades) and continued to this day when possible. Also a mega-helping of folk, bluegrass, and country in my upbringing, much of it attended at UU church: we host a monthly folk etc concert, many of the performers have stayed at our house. My tastes these days run toward more classic country–Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, etc–and contemporary bluegrass, but I’ll listen to new country pop in the car if my wife’s not with me.

    I did add chick peas to my diet, but I’ve retained the black-eyed peas, which if anything probably show up more often during any given week than the garbanzos. I nearly wept when I discovered they’ve started making veggie corny dogs; now if only they can come with a good vegetarian chicken-friend steak. I do wonder if I’m the only UU who follows rodeo closely. I can’t find the line between my rural South roots and New England suburb childhood: maybe the example that most brings my hybrid status home to me is that I plan to name my firstborn after my Buddhist teacher and my favorite cowboy, who happen to have the same name. Maybe I’m yuppie trash? Converting from rural Presbyterianism and depressed Houston Methodism certainly increased my parents’ social standing, but I seem to have stalled our march into a brave new social class. . .

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