country roots

I am a midwesterner... but I pride myself in being quite metropolitan. Unlike many of my high school and college peers, I grew up in an urban core. I had a french grand-mere, went to private school, own a ring designed by Cartier and went to cotillion dance classes. And by far my cousins considered me the fancy one...

This did not, however, stop my childhood fantasies of becoming a big haired country music vocalist.

My dad's family is all incredibly rural. So rural that I'm showing you where we're from on this map. 
A is for Alton,  Kansas and that is where the Hale family has been from for the last 150 years. Before that we were in Virginia for 230 plus years... yeah, we're a colonial family... Don't even get me started on my wanting to get my DAR.

My dad's family is incredibly tight knit, and has family reunions twice a year, every year. In fact, I've missed the last 10 for being at college "back east". On top of reunions, growing up I had a lot of cousins around my age, so we spent many summers and spring breaks out at the farm too. This equals a LOT of time for a city girl to be exposed to a country lifestyle.
It is because of this that I know how to be country. I have more than a few cousins with hyphenated names. Holla if you have a Billy-Don or a Melva-Dean! All in all I probably have about 65 first and second cousins.
Being country (and having rural country cousins) has taught me to ride a horse, a motorcycle, a dirty bike, four wheeler, go kart, tractor and a thresher. I've learned how to spin a car all the way around, dukes of hazzard style on a gravel road at 70mph. I know how to weld a BBQ smoker out of a 40 gallon drum to smoke a whole hog. I also know how to find a dear or a pheasant in a field (and shoot it so you can mount it) and how to spear a fish in a stream. Mmmhm, pretty darn Country...

Anyways, my fantasies live out now through entire afternoons playing old country ballads and gospel hits on youtube. I get a little hooked, put on a prairie skirt and my cowboy boots and wonder if I can force my accent into a twang.
These are some of my country idols:

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