Sunday September 15, 2002

By Amy Robinson

For the Sunday Gazette-Mail

In 1993, Jeff Eberbaugh bought the farm. In Wirt County, that is. The poetic humorist moved from Charleston to the rural digs, which no doubt provided plenty of inspiration for his unconventional redneck humor stories.

Eberbaugh was working as a registered nurse when he published his first, tongue-in-cheek book of "roadkill" recipes. It became a hit, and now Eberbaugh is up to his fifth book, the recently released "Redneck Book of Home Remedies."

Aside from his popular roadkill cookbooks — "Gourmet Style Road Kill Cooking" was followed by "Road Kill Cooking Redneck Style" (which feature recipes for Black Bear Stew, Possum on a Half Shell and Road Kill Squirrel Squares, among other things) — he is also the author of "Bull Hockey," a series of humorous poems and "A Good Book," a retelling of Bible stories in children's verse.

He said that writing in verse comes easily to him. The hard part is trying to find topics about which to write, he says.

In "Home Remedies," he has no shortage of medical subjects to examine, tackling a variety of health-care problems ranging from toothaches, nosebleeds and earaches to breast discomfort, "old timer's disease" and kidney problems.

"Cures" for scabies, cooties and even bad breath are included. ("There's one way to fix it and it's the cure of the year/Just gargle some goat pee and rinse with beer.")

There are even nonmedical advisories on "How to Have A Party When You're Flat Broke" and "How to Cure Your Dog From Beggin' For Food at the Table." The last one advises, in part:

If you're sittin' at the table eatin' meat from a hog/And ya can't hardly eat for a stinkin' ole dog/I'll tell you how to cure it if ya say you won't tell/Just load up a biscuit full of hot sauce from hell ...

Other topics less suitable for publishing are covered as well, including ... well, just look at the table of contents, which ranges from "Constipation" to "Hemorrhoids." But Eberbaugh sees nothing wrong with his sometimes crude humor.

"I know [my books] don't appeal to everybody, but I don't think any book does," he said. "This is my own style of writing, this is what I do. I don't mean to offend anyone. I'm not making fun of 'The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies' or rednecks. It's all in fun."

He does admit, though, that sometimes his fun goes a little too far. That's where Leah, his wife of 13 years, comes in.

"She kind of helps me keep it clean. There was one poem called 'How to Cure a Backtalkin' Old Lady' that she wouldn't let me put in because it was too bad. I need that direction sometimes. I can get a little out of hand."

Besides his redneck books, Eberbaugh also had a line of redneck cards for a brief period of time.

"Those are off the market now, but I'm thinking of bringing them back," he said. "They're just something to send to someone that's different from those lovey-dovey cards you find in the stores."

Different indeed. A sample card features a cover photo of a man scratching his rear, and on the inside is the message, "I was scratching my butt and thought of you."

For now, though, books remain the focus of Eberbaugh's redneck humor.

He already has another one, a selection of hunting and fishing stories, halfway done and has plans for several others. He doubts he'll revive his cookbook series, but he doesn't discount the possibility of a sequel to "Home Remedies," if this one sells well.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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