2013-07-03 / Editorial

STAY FREE

Don Lively

That hurt.

When I pulled my hand away from my nose that had seconds before been smacked by a broken piece of a supposedly unbreakable ax handle, all I saw was blood.

Lots of blood. Like a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Okay, slight exaggeration there.

But it looked bad. Really bad. I immediately wondered if I should call 911 or at least drive myself to the ER for stitches.

Something had to be done.

So, naturally, I took a picture of the carnage and posted it on Facebook.

Hey, this is the 21st Century, that’s what we do!

Only after I’d taken care of the social media necessities did I consider the ramifications.

Firstly, since I live alone, things like splitting firewood and thereby busting up my nose will probably be the reason my kids make me wear a Life Alert pendant when I get old.

Secondly, it’s Fourth of July Week, which means that I will be greeting arriving friends to a large Independence Day celebration and fireworks event, and kinfolk to our big family reunion, with a snout that looks like a grizzly chewed on it.

Does anybody have any pancake makeup I could borrow?

It’s been an eventful week to say the least.

Once again it’s time for The Fourth.

In my family The Fourth only applies to July, no other month.

For the past eight decades or so we’ve assembled at The Pond on The Fourth for a family get together that these days draws upwards of two hundred folks. It requires that The Pond be cleaned up, spruced up, trimmed up and decorated before the clan gathers. The work is ongoing but the main cleanup day is the Saturday before The Fourth.

This year, for reasons beyond my control, okay, I was nursing a butchered nose, I didn’t make it to the cleanup until late afternoon, just as the others were leaving. Miraculously, I didn’t catch too much grief for not participating.

So I decided that my contribution would be along the lines of after-the-fact affirmation and confirmation of a job well done. I walked around The Pond property, every now and then muttering, “ Fine work, men “, in my best General Patton voice.

It’s a tough but necessary job critiquing my kinsmen.

It was hard to imagine that a few days hence the place would be crowded with people since, at the time, I was totally alone.

At least I thought I was alone.

Suddenly, not ten feet from me, I heard a loud snort and a lot of rustling in the grass. Then I saw a flash of gray scramble out onto the footbridge. About a six foot flash to be precise.

Gator.

I’d heard that there was one hanging around The Pond but hadn’t seen it myself. Now here it was, up close and personal.

Another dilemma.

Should I shoot it?

After all, there will be lots of little kids hanging around on The Fourth.

Should I try to scare it off?

How exactly does one scare off a gator?

Should I heed one friend’s suggestion and call the Department of Natural Resources to relocate it?

Seriously, a redneck country boy like me? Call DNR? For ANY reason?

Never.

Cause another option would be to grill up some gator tail tenders, something that DNR might frown on July not being gator season.

I opted to do what any redneck country boy would do.

I took a picture of the gator, and, you guessed it, posted it to Facebook, then left it in The Pond.

I suspect when dozens of my kin people show up Mr. Gator will seek his freedom and strike for the river.

Tis the season.

The season to celebrate our freedom in America The Beautiful.

That’s what my family will be doing on The Fourth.

Oh, we’ll all eat like starving pilgrims, though most of us don’t look at all deprived.

We’ll tell tales about things like pond gators.

Flying ax handle shards.

Mangled noses.

We’ll reminisce about loved ones we miss and about other Fourths long gone.

We’ll enjoy watching fireworks, drinking hand squeezed lemonade and listening to patriotic music.

But mostly, we will be free.

Freedom.

The globe is dotted with countries that were once free but that took that freedom for granted and watched as their leaders sold or stole that liberty and can now only imagine what it means to be truly free.

May we, as a nation, if it’s not already too late, never make that mistake.

God Bless America.

And God bless each of you.

Let Freedom Ring.

Happy Fourth Yall.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of Howlin’ At The Dixie Moon. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com and visit his website, www.DonLively.Com.

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