COL Jed Clampett was rich; but it wasn't oil

Another hero has passed away. Loved by all, hated by none, the name of Buddy Ebsen will always bring a smile to our faces when we remember the television show, "The Beverly Hillbillies."

It was not just a program for the kids; but rather, family entertainment where mom and dad would also sit down, relax and have a few much-needed laughs as we'd watch it together with our children. And, as is often the case, there was a lesson to be learned in most every episode.

Jed Clampett was probably the most down to earth and unspoiled man that ever lived. Striking oil in his modest Tennessee hills home, his family became multi-millionaires overnight and were persuaded to move to California, where they would then belong to the jet set of rich and fashionable people who lived there. However, he refused to change and never left wealth go to his head. He continued to find the American dream in the simple things of life.

Yes, Jed stood his ground, followed his gut feelings no matter what the neighbors did, and was portrayed as the ideal father-figure by holding his family together. He continued to instill in them the ideals they had brought along from their former poor and humble beginnings, even though family and friends did pose quite a challenge.

As I recall, the cast included Jethro, who didn't graduate from grade school and was always ready for a good time. Elly May, who was a real beauty but never let it go to her head and could handle any man; or live critter, for that matter.


And who could forget hard-nosed Granny, who didn't hesitate to use her sawed-off shotgun and who just couldn't get used to "California" and wanted to go home. Plus, there was the not-so-good-looking Miss Hathaway and then the rich Drysdales. Together, they made every day interesting.

But Jed Clampett didn't change.

He could have given all his treasurers away and still been happy. No matter the crisis, he remained the sensible, kind and humorous person he had always been. All he and his family needed was a roof over their heads and some possum or grits to eat and all was well.

Now I don't think we'd go quite that far and say that's all that is necessary to get along in life. (What would we do without chocolate?) But I do believe the character Buddy Ebsen played would frown on all the "Enron" type executives in the world; the Martha Stewart's of today; or the large corporations involved in agriculture.

People who don't know when enough is enough, who put on airs, and who forget what is really important in life. Some times the simplest things are still the best things in life, but we fail to see this.

I'm sure Jed Clampett would have existed better than any of us without big-screen TV., credit cards, or cell phones!

Marianne Bianchi is a retired farm wife who lives in New Ulm, Minn.

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