Gut Rumbles

April 20, 2005


I believe that I was corrupted as a youth by my grandmother's tales of living in the mountains. There was a Code of the Hills that everybody abided by.

If a stranger came to your cabin at nightfall seeking shelter for the night, you fed him and let him sleep in the barn (The house was already packed with young'uns). In the morning, you fed him breakfast and sent him on his way, maybe with a sack of biscuits to eat on the trail.

You performed that act of kindness because next time, it might be YOU or one of your sons seeking shelter for the night. And you expected somebody else to do the same thing.

We've lost that sense of hospitality that once was a common part of life. People are distrustful and paranoid today, and I really can't blame them. I once hitch-hiked my way all over Georgia. Now, I don't pick up hitch-hikers anymore. Too many crazies out there.

I miss the Good Old Days.


I hitched cross country twice while I was in the military and evryone was great to me most went outta their way to do something nice. I agree we are damn sure missin something ..civility perhaps or maybe the belief that yer here means you gotta be a fairly decent person anyway.I`m sure I don`t know what it is......I just know I want it back.

Posted by: arathorn on April 20, 2005 07:59 PM

I used to hitchhike back and forth to college (about 250 miles) routinely. Much faster than bus or train.

However, today, most honest, hardworking people, drug free, have access to cars, thanks to the greatly improved standard of living in this country.

Therefore, anyone you see hitchhiking is assumed to be a potentially bad person.

Really is progress of sorts.

Posted by: joel on April 20, 2005 08:16 PM

That Code of the Hills you speak of is very likely an export of those for the Highlands in Scotland. A lot of Scots-Irish folk immigrated to the Appalaichas and places like Kentucky.

The Clans had a similar code, as it would get VERY cold many nights, and next time it might be you stuck outside. Even if you arrived at a member of a clan who was in a fued with your clan, hospitality would be afforded to you to be allowed into the home for a meal, allowed to sleep in the safety of the home, and provided with a breakfast to get you started on the way.

Of course, the Clan Campbell, in trying to stay on the good side of the English King and gain territory, took advantage of Clan MacDonald. The Massacre at Glencoe is the description of that event.

I'm sure you might have heard of it Rob, but if you didn't, you might be interested to read upon it >here

And you thought hitchikers are dangerous only in recent times!

Posted by: KenS on April 20, 2005 09:01 PM

I used to hitchhike all over the place as a kid. Hell, sweet young girls could hitchhike and be confronted with nothing but a beer or a bud.

Sleep in the barn? Sho. There were only three or four crazies out there then, I think. You could trust people. No more, no more. Transient living is the problem. You don't even know your next door neighbor now.

Posted by: Velociman on April 20, 2005 09:23 PM

The best you can do is offer that hospitality to people you know to be OK. Like at the blogmeet. Your mama & gramma taught you right.

Posted by: og on April 20, 2005 09:27 PM

My own reading on Highland customs matches Kens -- and according to one story the worst episode in my Clan Gregor's history came about because the Colquhouns (read it as "Calhoun" because that's the modern American equivalent) wouldn't afford proper Highland hospitality to a couple of MacGregors who were crossing their country as night fell.

The MacGregors killed a Colquhoun sheep to replace the supper the Colquhouns denied them, and in the morning they were arrested for the sheep, and ultimately hanged. The MacGregor clan retaliated, and the Colquhoun clan chief got squeamish King James to issue the Scottish equivalent of a fatwa against all MacGregors everywhere.

And when those dang Colquhouns came to make good on it, the MacGregors cleaned their clocks yet again. Ain't no dang King gonna tell us to lay our heads on the chopping block all peaceable-like.

Anybody want to try to tell me blood don't run true?

Posted by: McGehee on April 20, 2005 09:28 PM

Velociman is never know nowadays. Things have changed.

Posted by: Sam on April 20, 2005 09:36 PM

OT, but to quote AllahPundit

The greatest blog post ever.

Posted by: DavidB on April 20, 2005 10:09 PM

Hey McGhee and I are related. Straight MacGregor too. :-) *waves*

Never hitchhiked, but I'm only 20. These are the only times I've ever known.

Posted by: Alli on April 21, 2005 12:30 AM

I remember picking up hitchhikers when I lived down in Texas...but then we also left our keys in the ignition and our house doors open day and most nights.

Some places I travel these days I check to be sure my car doors are locked when I'm driving around.

Crazies are not just your run-o-the-mill nuts, but violent....just plain mean.

Posted by: Maggie on April 21, 2005 05:55 AM

Ard choille, Alli! ;-)

Posted by: McGehee on April 21, 2005 11:36 AM

S'rioghal mo dhream(sp?) McGhee. :)

Posted by: Alli on April 21, 2005 11:53 AM

Back in the 30's and 40's when there was a lot of hoboin/ goin' on my mother used to feed the transients who came to our door from the railroad tracks 3-4 blocks away. Now I'm not sure I would do the same thing.....a sad commentary on our times.

Posted by: AnalogMan on April 23, 2005 11:11 AM
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