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Field Stories

People Don't Believe They Exist

Published on Friday, January 10, 2014

“People don’t believe they exist, but they do.”

Those were the first words out of a man’s mouth as he approached me at a farm show a few years ago. I was standing behind a sales counter when he came up and started the conversation with those words, followed by, “Can I have one of those yellow bags?”

Well, of course I said yes. But, I wasn’t about to leave that odd introduction alone.

“People don’t believe who exists?” I asked in return.

I was already formulating potential answers in my mind: fairies, goblins, elves, angels, unicorns… you name it. Those were some of the answers I was waiting on, not what he was about to say.


What?!! People don’t believe hillbillies exist? Is this guy joking? He wasn’t joking. He proceeded to talk to me for the next 15-20 minutes, explaining how they moved to Indiana from Kentucky to find factory work and how they live in the woods around a reservoir. At night “the hillbillies” come out and move tools in their shops, move their tractors a few feet just to mess with ‘em, and the best one of all…he explained to me that “hillbillies”, yes… “hillbillies, climb onto his roof at night and take their little fingers and pick the mortar out between the bricks of his chimney!”

I asked him several times if he was sure that hillbillies were to blame. He was adamantly certain that they were the culprits.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I know that hillbillies exist. In fact, I would even consider myself one from time to time.

                                          This is me being a hillbilly in a swamp.

I also joined a big group of my fellow hillbillies in Mt. Sterling, KY this fall when I went to Court Days, otherwise known as the GrandDaddy of all flea markets. This thing has been going on since 1794! Yep! 1794!

It basically started as the annual court hearings. Once a year, a Circuit Judge would come to Mt. Sterling and try all of the criminal cases. While they were there, people would bring their wares, anything from animals to guns to goods and services, and trade. Eventually, the judge quit coming, but the people never have. The cool thing is that Court Days extends beyond the borders of Mt. Sterling. As you drive through the small little burgs around Mt. Sterling, you’ll find the largest yard sales you’ve ever seen. And then, travel on east to Preston, KY and you’ll step back in time and see what Court Days might’ve looked like 200 years ago.

               Mt. Sterling Gun Tradin’                  Preston, KY Chicken/Rabbit/Dog Tradin’

            Preston Hang out joint                                 I even got in on some of the action.

Although, I looked high and low, and I never saw a hillbilly pickin’ mortar out of a chimney. I’m not sayin’ that it doesn’t happen. I’m just sayin’.

It’s not only flea markets and hunting that some think make me a hillbilly. I have family members that want to escape this snow and head south to a beach somewhere. I look forward to that too. But, according to some of my extended family, who aren’t lovers of the farm, I must have a little hillbilly in me because I’d be just as happy walking down that hot and humid field of Beck’s corn, standing like a champ, with ears the size of baseball bats.

                                            (That’s BECK 6175AMX™* by the way.)

If that makes me a hillbilly…I'm proud to be one! Now, I don’t know about you, but when that man told me that people don’t believe they exist, I guess he must’ve meant in other parts of the country. I not only believe they do, I think there’s a little bit of hillbilly in us all. (Can you picture me picking the mortar out between some chimney bricks, just to mess with ya’?) Ha!

Well, for now…Hillbilly out!

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Ryan McAllister
Ryan McAllister>

Ryan McAllister

Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.

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Practical Farm Research Director at Beck's.


2 comments on article "Field Stories"

Cindy bailey

1/14/2014 7:43 PM

Enjoyed your article. I'm curious about the "court days" you mentioned in the article? Love reading the "why We Farm" articles. I'm most inspired by those who share their faith and give credit to The Lord and what He has entrusted to them. Grateful our family works with a faith based organization such as yours! Blessings Cindy bailey(wife of darren:)

Cathy Hosier Paler

1/15/2014 6:33 PM

My father's given name was Billy Ferrall Hosier. He was born in a log cabin on White River. His father was a Tennent farmer on a farm near Perkinsville, In. Bonge's tavern is still thiere and famous. I met Bonge when I was probably 5 years of age. I rode around in the old truck with dad and loved to go to the sale barn to beg for a bike with training wheels when I really wanted a horse and to marry Roy Rogers. My grandfather Hosier died when my father was in highs school and my father took over the farming and eventually purchased the . We still have it. My father could fix most farm equipment and was a a friend to all. I am proud to say that I was a Hill Billy's daughter, a daughter who has a doctorate in psychology and a private practice; like my hill billy father I am in the business of being a friend to my fellow man, like my father.

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