Column | Have pride in being called a Bumpkin
Like a huge number of current residents of this Arizona paradise, I am also a former Californian. And like so very many others from the west, I had to decompress when I came here 20 years ago. Making that transition from the hurry-scurry and hubbub of the major metro life’s pace was something of an adventure. As a proud geezer, I can look back on that process and grin as I refer to it as becoming a proud Bumpkin.
Webster’s dictionary defines Bumpkin as: an awkward and unsophisticated rustic
My dictionary says: Tain’t necessarily so
I will proudly, even gleefully, answer to “Bumpkin” because there many positives buried in that term. While we may seem to be dullards from a city-dwelling sophisticate’s perspective, their view glosses over a great number of gracious and dignified and honorable personality traits found in a genuine bumpkin.
We bumpkins do, indeed, speak and act more slowly than the frantically hurrying city slicker. We have no need to rush about. We have a beautiful city and county in which to calmly enjoy visiting with friends. We make time to be polite and courteous to both friends and strangers. We gear our lives to planning our day and our week doing what needs to be done in a fashion that allows us to avoid hypertension.
We do stop to open a door for our neighbor and we do address people as “Sir” and “Ma’am.” We believe that we not only belong to our community, we work to support it. We volunteer to be of service on various committees and boards and support groups, and we work on fundraisers and flea market sales to benefit good causes. We are members of numerous clubs and organizations that work to better our community and to preserve it from decay.
We also (mostly) drive within the posted speed limits, and we move to the right and stop for emergency vehicles. We actually stop for red traffic lights and stop signs. We stop along the road to assist stranded motorists and help them out of their predicament. We drive our elderly citizens to doctor appointments and church. We respect the privacy of our neighbors, and we strive to earn their respect by being both good neighbors and good examples for others to emulate. We tend to keep to ourselves and not disturb our friends and neighbors ... except, when they need help, then the whole neighborhood turns out to help. We bumpkins try to keep our homes and yards clean and tended so it reflects well on our neighborhoods. We watch our neighbors’ houses when they have to be gone and they do the same for us.
We bumpkins try to raise our children and our young people to respect those around them and to set an example for others to follow. We try to teach them to honor all the things we honor and to do worthwhile things as they go through their normal day. We support youth organizations and we believe our young folks can find honor and dignity in serving in our country’s armed forces or our law enforcement agencies if they choose.
We bumpkins believe in the value of hard work and in possessing a true work ethic. We see no shame or indignity in working for a living. Our great country was founded on the premise of honest effort and production bringing well-earned reward. We don’t believe in the idea of something-for-nothing. We believe in our right to be justifiably proud of owning property that we’ve worked long and hard to possess. We are also caring and supportive to those less fortunate than we are. We believe in giving a helping hand to those in need.
We believe in our right to speak our mind when we wish, as long as it doesn’t hurt someone. We also believe we have the right to call B.S. when someone is spouting wrong and hurtful things about our great country and our friends and our chosen way of life. We believe in our right to defend our loved ones and our hard won property. We believe in helping and defending our good friends and neighbors and those who are helpless.
We bumpkins also believe in the sanctity of our bodies and in trying to stay healthy. We do not feel the need to pollute or contaminate our bodies and our minds with recreational chemicals. We believe in that old idea that the world and clean living bring their own uplift of spirit. Manners and grace and morals and ethics are things we practice and aspire to rather than demean.
We believe in God, country, honor, duty and family and we support our troops who protect our way of life. We believe in the sanctity of life and we respect those who work to preserve it. As bumpkins, we try to go out of our way to show our pride in our country and our state and our county and our city and our neighborhood. We proudly fly our nation’s flag and we are not ashamed as we place our right hands over our hearts and pledge our allegiance to our flag and sing our national anthem with tears of pride and thankfulness running down our cheeks.
Being a proud bumpkin does not require a person to be old, but the majority of us generally are in our “golden years.” A great number of us answered the call of the drums and bugles and went away for a time to serve our country. Many of us didn’t make it back home. Those of us who were fortunate to return to this land of the free and the home of the brave can truly and deeply appreciate the glory of living in this grand country with its wonderful, caring and giving people.
I believe there is room for having a special pride in having become a bumpkin. All my foregoing chatter barely scratches the why of it.