I recently spent some time with the man known to those who
matter as the Old Swamp Yankee. He was
born and raised in New England and is damn proud of his heritage, and he imparted
some of his wisdom to me.
Now a Swamp
Yankee may be defined by different terms in various parts of the country, but
here's the only bona fide, authentic definition - straight from the depths
the Old Swamp Yankee's vast experience in being one, living among them, and
dealing with them over many years.
A Swamp Yankee
Is frugal past the point of being cheap. Lives by adage, “Use it
up, wear it out, make do or go without.”
Right or wrong he speaks his mind, and he's rarely wrong. Disagree
with him at your own risk.
Installed electricity and telephone after the rest of the world and
considers both a little wasteful.
Is honest when trading or selling something, unless he thinks you're
trying to cheat him.
Then he'll bamboozle you beyond what you had thought possible.
Won't cheat you as long as you're honest. If cheated he never
forgets and always gets back.
Believes in hard work, and has no use for those who don’t.
Doesn't trust the damn fools in Washington or the state capitol either.
Keeps an eye on the local town hall just in case they get some damn fool
ideas from watching the damn fools in Washington or the state capitol.
Hates taxes, but eventually pays them, then insists on road improvements
in front of his woodlots.
As a child, he walked 2 miles each way to school every day, barefoot, uphill both ways,
carrying his brother, in
the snow, etc.
Puts up with those damn summer people, as long as they spend a good deal of money
in town, respect his property and don't shoot his cows during deer season.
Doesn't hunt out of season unless he needs the meat or feels like it.
Firmly believes that jacking deer is a given right.
Keeps a flashlight
close by just in case.
Goes fishing or hunting when he wants to, knowing that the Fish & Game laws are
for those damn summer people.
Will paint the barn as soon as he figures it really needs it, and then
gets around to it. (In that order.)
And last of all, is honest, self-sufficient and will do what he
damn well pleases.
Almost forgot. The Old Swamp Yankee asked me to pass on
this bit of wisdom. He says it applies to most everybody.
"Never miss a good chance to shut up."
He also said that it is better to "Live Free or Die"
and to remember that this nation (including Swamp Yankee Land) was started
by, and intended to be governed by, "We The People."
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple,
but only God can count the apples in a seed.