East Tennessee is on my mind today, mostly because the area surrounds me with natural beauty, homegrown folks and very odd wildlife. I was driving on the Interstate today about a mile from my exit and noticed what I thought was a black cat. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a wild hog. It was just grazing along the interstate as if this was a perfectly natural thing for it to do.
East Tennessee has also been on the television screens of CMT viewers across the country. With the writer's strike still threatening the quality of our television choices, many of us (myself included) have turned to reality TV for our viewing pleasure. CMT premiered a new program a couple of weeks ago entitled, My Big Redneck Wedding. It's sure to be a classic: 30 minutes of pure redneck glory, interjected with random comments from Tom Arnold that make me want to beat my head against a wall. Seriously, it's like nails on a chalkboard and completely unnecessary. Trust me, the content of this show requires no narrative. It is totally self-explanatory.
The most recent episode features a young (18 & 19) couple from Copper Basin, Tennessee, just up the road from yours truly. They got married outside. The bride wore a green dress. The groom wore a camo suit and the entire bridal party wore camo. The bride arrived on a tractor and the reception featured beans and cornbread. It was Southern to the core. The groom's gift to the bride on the wedding day was a pink rifle. Her gift to him? A skink. Classic. I enjoy this show a great deal for two reasons:
- The couple on the second episode lived in California. Ha! There really are country folks in California. I thought this was a myth.
- I see these people every day in my community at the stores, on the road, on my street. I wouldn't be surprised if they filmed an episode of MBRW on my street. They are unapologetically country and cross all socio-economic lines in the great state of Tennessee. As long as they aren't waiving a rebel flag the size of Texas from a flagpole in their front yard, I find them to be good people, good friends and good neighbors.
The episode failed to shock or surprise me except for one thing. The minister said and the bride promised to honor her, "commitment to be submissive to his leadership" while all the groom had to promise was to, "love and care for her." I was a little stunned that the bride was willing to make such an antiquated promise, especially with zero reciprocation from the groom. To each his own, though. Who knows what I would have said if I had fallen in love and married at age 19?