Waffle House

An example of a Waffle House restaurant.

    The term “redneck” is a very divisive one. While some wear it like a badge of honor, others get cold chills mixed with disgust whenever someone assumes we’re rednecks just because we speak with a southern accent. Last week my Managing Editor Cliff Sain sent me a humorous story from the website roadsnacks.net, roadsnacks.net/these-are-the-10-most-redneck-cities-in-missouri, which ranked Missouri’s Top 10 Redneck Cities.

    You guessed it, Branson was No. 1. Now before we all get our knickers in a twist, the article begins with “this article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as info-tainment. Don’t freak out”.

    The rest of the list featured, from 2-10, Dexter, Warrenton, Poplar Bluff, Farmington, Chillicothe, Bonne Terre, Lebanon, Hannibal and West Plains.

    While I haven’t visited all those towns, I must admit I’ve visited enough to know they’re all more “redneck-y” than Branson, at least they appear to be using only the naked eye. Apparently the  naked eye is wrong as the staff at roadsnacks.net actually did scientific research, which did not include randomly throwing darts at a map. First, they had to define exactly what a “redneck” was, so they went to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

    According to the dictionary, a redneck is “a white person who lives in a small town or in the country especially in the southern U.S., who typically has a working-class job, and who is seen by others as being uneducated and having opinions and attitudes that are offensive.”

    I can agree with that definition.

    The staff then added a few of their favorite “redneck stereotypes,” which included “facts” such as all rednecks liking to hunt, drink, smoke and shoot things. Also, we all like to shop at Wal-Mart. Wow, so far, they’re dead-on.

    The staff also used Yelp and Google Maps to cut the list of cities to 108, then added the following criteria:

•    Small towns

•    Least amount of high school graduates

•    Lives in the South or Midwest

•    Number of dive bars per city

•    Number of mobile home parks per capita

•    Number of tobacco stores per city

•    Number of guns and ammo stores per city

•    Wal-Marts, Golden Corrals, Bass Pro Shops, and Dollar Generals nearby.

    The staff also counted places within a city’s border, as well as within a short driving distance. Using that criteria, the roadsnacks.net staff took to the Internet, ran some scientific data on where rednecks might live in Missouri, and then put out a list.

    These were the Branson numbers:

•    Population: 10,463

•    Tobacco stores per capita: 1st in Missouri

•    Fishing/bait shops per capita: 1st in the state

•    Waffle House rank: 1st

•    Wal-Mart rank: 2nd

    After reading the article and sharing a good laugh, Cliff and I started discussing exactly how Branson could be ranked that high. We came to the conclusion that simply by including our three Wal-Marts (two in the city limits), Bass Pro Shops, (The World’s Largest) Golden Corral and the Dollar Generals, the criteria was probably weighted in our favor. Then came the big disagreement.

    The list claims Branson is ranked first in Waffle Houses, but that simply is not the case. There isn’t even one within less than 20 minutes of Branson. Cliff then started talking about the International House Of Pancakes, the Belgian Waffle place and a few other places which serve the same type of food. This poor, poor man wasn’t aware of the fact that comparing Waffle House to a non-Waffle House establishment is considered both blasphemy and fighting words in the south.

    I was appalled.

    The name “Waffle House” is sacred in the South, and while all those other establishments are mighty fine restaurants, they are most assuredly not the Waffle House.

    I proceeded to go on a 10 minute rampage about uninformed folks not paying proper respect to the yellow and brown building that has brought so much happiness to so many people for years.

    Cliff then looked at me and said “If you passionately defend the sanctity of the Waffle House, you might be a redneck.”

    He had me there.

    I have never, EVER, considered myself a redneck, only a proud man of Southern heritage.

    So I guess if I’m a redneck, that makes Branson the most redneck city in the state, and it might not be a bad thing.

    I say we adopt the title and run with it ... who knows, maybe it’ll result in us getting an actual Waffle House.

    Hey, a man can dream, can’t he?

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