Hello from Hogan Holler: Hogan or Trantham?


Each morning at the Hogan House, Margo and I must determine if I’m a Hogan or a Trantham. It doesn’t take long. How we proceed through the day is largely shaped by whether the traits of my father (Hogan) or my mother (Trantham) are dominant.

If I’m a Hogan, I’ll be extroverted, talkative, and occasionally even romantic. If I’m a Trantham, I’ll be introverted, quiet, and require lots of space.

I’m no geneticist, but decades of observation and experience have revealed to me obvious personality differences between the Hogans and the Tranthams. Empirical evidence leads me to believe that genetics play the major role in these differences.

My dad was the type who’d stop and ask a stranger for directions and end up eating supper with him. The same was true of his two brothers and, indeed, most of the Hogan clan.

Dad was a preacher and often conducted revival meetings, usually at country churches. It was customary for the preacher to spend nights with members of the host church’s congregation. Dad was in his element with these folks, frequently staying up late, telling stories, and sometimes playing music.

Even as a child, I hated these arrangements. So did Mom, but being the good preacher’s wife that she was, she never complained. I was thrilled when I became old enough to stay home and handle the chores on our small farm. This provided me with long periods of time to spend alone.

Many members of Mom’s Trantham family are independent loners. They mind their own business and expect people to stay out of theirs.

Few of my Trantham ancestors held jobs in which they were told what to do and when to do it. And they generally avoided work that required them to deal with the public on a regular basis. Most of them lived off the land: farming, hunting, trapping, digging ginseng; or operating some sort of cottage industry, as my Uncle Ernest did. He repaired, rebuilt, and sold clocks out of his home.

Since we often seem lost in our thoughts, these Trantham traits are sometimes misinterpreted as unfriendly, unsocial, snobbish, even conceited.

It may seem a contradiction that someone like me whose career was radio, public speaking, and emcee work could be an introvert. Fact is, the majority of people I’ve known in any form of show business are introverts. Probably the most famous showbiz introvert was Johnny Carson.

Those Trantham traits sure do get around!

Mountain folks have a word to describe my Trantham kin and me. The word is ‘quare.’ It rhymes with ‘square’ or ‘star,’ depending which holler you live in. “Boy, that Trantham feller sure is quare,” I’ve heard said. And I’m sure it’s been said about me.

The Collins English Dictionary says the word is Irish dialect, probably a variant of queer and, in this case, meaning remarkable or strange. I’ll take remarkable!

Margo says I’m a Trantham about seven days out of ten. I’d say that’s about right.

I often wish I could have more Hogan days, but there are definite advantages to having so much Trantham DNA. For one, I don’t have to deal with loneliness, even when I’m alone.

Fortunately, Margo has an even disposition and is the same person virtually every day. I was gifted with someone who understands that God didn’t make us all alike. Therefore, she cuts me lots of slack.

Chances are, someone in your life—your spouse, a neighbor, a friend—acts quare from time to time. Like me, they’re probably doing the best they can with the genes they inherited. So, please remember to cut ’em a little slack!

(Author’s Note: To my knowledge, I’m not related to any of the Hogans or Tranthams in Northeast Tennessee.)

After 57 years in the radio industry, Dave Hogan is enjoying his retirement in North Carolina. He’d love for you to say ‘howdy’ to him via email: davealtonhogan@gmail.com.


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