Tammy Wynette and Shag Carpet

March 7, 2010

Allison Glock reviews the new bio of Tammy Wynette, the country singer and antithesis of feminism, in the NY Times Book Review. While working through the antebellum mansions of Middle Tennessee, I came across the following Tammy Wynette story. From Tennessee Guy:

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Bootleg Turn

March 3, 2010

This blog began after I wrote four editions of Moon Handbooks Tennessee, a guidebook to the state that, for the most part, comprised the the most fun writing project I have ever done. Tennessee Guy was to be the storefront for my website, Tennessee Guy, which contains almost everything from my most recent 500-page edition. I no longer write the guidebook and don’t update the website, and my visits to Tennessee anymore are mostly to Kingsport, where my parents still live, so I’ve decided to take this blog in a different direction.

In the Thunder Road days of moonshining, a bootleg turn was a maneuver done to elude pursuing law enforcement officers. It involved making a high speed 180-degree turn, usually on a dirt road, that resulted in the pursued car suddenly reversing directions and heading straight toward the police car, which usually did not have the ability to turn so quickly. The bootleg turn bought time, and thus the bootlegger got away.

I actually perfected bootleg turns when we lived in Massachusetts, and would delight my offspring–and annoy my wife–on snowy days by driving down our street, pulling up on the emergency brake, and turning the steering wheel sharply to the left. Our car would smoothly slide around. I would usually stop at 90 degrees so as to turn into the driveway, but it was just as easy–and a lot of fun–to do a 180.

I am planning to write a memoir about growing up in Tennessee, so this blog will now do its own bootleg turn. While I will still address the occasional tourism topic, I plan to use this outlet as a place to share vignettes of people and places from the past. I’m always eager to hear from readers, so stay tuned in coming weeks to see the first entries.