The visitors sauntered into Cafe del Sol, ordered two lattes and spread their maps and real estate brochures out on the table and started talking about where to buy land.

As usually happens, they turned to a stranger at the next table and asked:

"Excuse me, sir, do you live here."

"Yes," I answered, "I do."

"Tell us about the community."

So I went into my well-rehearsed litany about lifestyle, government, schools, cost of living and community attitudes. It’s a lot like a political candidate’s stump speech. I’ve delivered it so often that notes aren’t needed.

The came a question that caught me off guard.

"Are there a lot of hicks around here?"

I took a sip of coffee before answering.

"Absolutely," I answered. "There’s a lot of us hicks around here and we’re damn proud of it."

Hicks. Rednecks. Bubbas. Over the years, the names have changed but the intent is the same. They were afraid they might encounter some dumb country bumpkins out here in the sticks.

They left, probably headed for Asheville where the imported sophisticates outnumber the hicks.  I finished my coffee and went back to the studio to work on a new video about the growing artist’s community in our little hick town.

But I did stop to scrape the cow dung off my boots first.


  1. There are “hicks”, and then there are totally uneducated “HICKS”. Try going down into the woods of the Ouachita mountains of Arkansas. There you will truly find the type that the people in the cafe’ were referring to. No education, half of them meth-heads or alcoholics, most of them spouting religion right and left like the “buckle of the Bible belt” dwellers they are. Be afraid.. be very afraid……

    It matters not that a person is a “country bumpkin” with poop on their shoes.. what matters is if you behave and think as if you never read a book in your life, and then judge others by whether they have a “church home” or not. Sheer ignorance.. that’s a true hick. The people of Floyd don’t even come close.

  2. I have never written on one of these websites before, but I just couldn’t help myself. I look at Dougs page everyday to start my day off just right with all the beautiful pictures and nice fragments. But then when I was reading this article – I just don’t understand how someone can be so arrogant and self rightous to someone that does so much good in our community and yet would want to give the benefit of doubt to someone traveling through our community using such a outdated and hurtful term as “hick”. I do not feel that anyone in this day and time with all the “political correctness” should use any term such as this and noone such have to hold up any mirror to them. They should know better. I would have told them, they better keep their seats and stay inside. The hicks were getting ready to have a rally outside and the best place for them to be was under the table.

  3. Sorry Bubby, but I have no idea how Mick Jagger’s alcohol, drugs and sexual conquests are germane to the conversation

    Rick, Rick, Rick: The song hits on a refusal to give up, come loss, disgrace, power-outage, pump failure, tomato beetle, or dung clod upon the shoe. So towel off and cue up the song. Hear that fine country blues. Feel the build to the chorus and I dare you to not join in. We may be mud-spattered hicks, but we have pride, and we can and will survive.

    In fact, here’s a prescription: Everytime you lose, cue up Sweet Virginia, turn up the volume, repeat until your mood improves.

  4. Even if your “prescription” goes unfilled (remember, you can carry a horse to water…), your message is dead on.

    Any idea what ol’ “Rick, Rick, Rick” can take to clear up that condescension?

  5. I like that, Bubby and I see what you mean! One of the great things about Floyd is that it’s filled with music! Even when it (the town) faded a little bit (briefly), the music kept going. Now it seems like it keeps it going and going and going. Floyd allows unlimited refills on that prescription.

    I think we all connect with music on a primordial level and that’s why (almost) every culture and religious tradition has it in some form. The few that have banned or abandoned it may have lost an important connection with the divine and (in my mind anyway) it seem like they are denying its divine origin.

    Oh, and by the way, paying/tipping the local musician is like tithing– you’ll go straight to heaven! 😉


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