Up-Country, In-Country, Down-Home Country

My first exposure to Country Music occurred some eight-thousand, three-hundred and sixty-odd miles from Country Music’s epicenter in Nashville, sometime around 1966.
I was eight years old and recovering from a nasty, life-fight-bought with dysentery, where I had shit my guts out – overseas in a hot South-Asian sub-continent country celebrating Christmas in a creepy-crawly, bug-filled place where only at night would the temps dropped below seventy.
We had missionary friends up-country in a “very rural” place where my parents hoped-to (and must have thought we could-have) move-to – until the Gov. intervened and said NO. Another story.
Anyhow it was about Christmas-time, and we all piled into the Willy hard-top Jeepster, and hit the bumpy roads to go to ~DINNER~ with a bunch of other folks. We always relished any get-together, since there were so few of us. I always sat in back on the jump-seat, an pretended to be a tail-gunner with twin 50’s, blasting away at the local’s shrines and temples… I was not well-adapted, I had issues.
My big sister was excited about Christmas and talked about looking forward to hot buttered rum – Sorry, WTF? What? RUM? She was boy-crazy, but there were few boy-pickings for her to attack at the party.
As as Missionary Dude-Kid on the make and with mistletoe in the air I also attempted to prowl the local Missionary girls. Same problem as my big sister- no opportunities in my age-group, Mainly not our Denomination either – so not much going on there.
As a “reader” I went into the house to peruse the living-room-bookcase and see what they had. Like Bathroom Vanities, bookcases reveal a lot, especially among The Missionaries. Seems like everybody had “The Ugly American,” as if it had been issued to them – but I really think it was a self-selecting group. Also very common was Ian Fleming. I don’t think ANY of them knew that their children read several grade-levels above the norm, and that WE were as intrigued as the Adults, by the action, and THE action…
As it got dark the evening’s entertainment involved somebody with a little foresight, perhaps a Country fan, or else it was just the random lottery of what was available on the traveling Missionary Movie-Reel circuit. The adults set up the projector, but as always, “Get the kid with some A/V experience.” — Try not to damage the celluloid and keep the “loop” intact.
The movie was thrown up on a stretched-out bed-sheet, and there might have been a cartoon, but the feature of the night was a couple-three reels from something produced in the early 60’s , “The Hank Williams Story” — or something… But it was compelling enough that I forever-remember, “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and a climactic car-crash scene.
As a life-lesson I was taught not to EVER get caught drinkin’ and drivin’ or mixing with floozies – and I yearned for floozies from then on, forever.
Merry Christmas.