A Tale of Ladies and Gentlemen

My graduating class size was twenty one hillbillies. Everyone fought their friends sooner or later, and you were still friends. By the time Senior year rolled around, you had known most of these people all of your life.

Small schools. My high school principal had dated my sister when they were in school, and i got away with murder.

Father was country minister. He had grown up in one room schools. Even back when i was growing up, moved to a new place, you were going to have to fight some of the hometown boys to prove yourself.

Studying history, and my genealogy explained to me some of the things that were done in our family. In olden days, if your family wanted to retain their lands and status, you had to raise your sons to be the biggest baddest mothers in the valley.

Father taught us to fight. Stressed that we never pick on people. Stand up for those who can not protect themselves, never go looking for trouble or start fights just because. However, if someone messed with you, you were expected to kick their ass.

In Jr. High, had this Principle. Every time someone started trouble with me and i kicked their ass, we would both get sent to his office, where we would get our asses busted with the paddle of knowledge. He would always tell me, “And you are a ministers son. When you go home tonight, i want you to tell your father you were in a fight!” I would say Yes Sir!

Get home, tell my dad, principle told me to tell you i got in a fight. he would make sure that i did not start it. Then he would ask who won. never did have to tell him the other guy did. If i had, i would have been taken outside for remedial training.

Next day, principal would ask me. “John, did you tell your father you were in a fight?’ I would say yes sir. Now everyone was happy, except perhaps the guy got his ass kicked, but he started it so, no problems.

Now to the Ladies and Gentlemen. Was just giving you a feel for hillbilly Texas in the 60s and 70s.

Senior year, some of the girls in class, decided that none of the boys in class were gentlemen. Our home room teacher, a lady i will say, told the girls, in front of the whole class.

“I am tired of hearing you girls gripe that their are no gentlemen in this class. Let me tell you one thing! In order for there to be gentlemen present, there must first be ladies present!’

That has always stuck with me. It is the truth. There can not be ladies without gentlemen, and there can not be gentlemen without ladies. Guess we are just stuck with each other.

Now lets see if we can teach our kids and grandkids that lesson.

The best teaching method is by example.

John C Carleton