2014-03-26 / Editorial


Don Lively

The two ladies spoke to me as I entered the restaurant. One of them commented on how late I was taking lunch. I acknowledged and explained that I had a tough time getting out of the office. Then they went back to their conversation and I went to my regular table.

I’ve known the ladies most of my life. They were classmates at our high school and have remained friends forever, still finding plenty to chat about over lunch.

That’s how it is in small, Southern towns like ours.

Decades don’t dim the friendships that are forged in our young years; in fact, the Blessed South seems to create bonds that are lifelong.

I was pondering that fact when the sweet Japanese hostess came to my table. She didn’t bother to bring a menu. She knew what I was going to order even though it had been weeks since I’d been in. She asked about each item that I nearly always get and she got it all correct right down to the salad dressing.

That’s how things work in small, Southern towns.

One afternoon I was driving somewhere, deep in thought. My best thinking is done behind the wheel, so, there I was mindlessly minding my own business when suddenly, out of nowhere, a pickup truck swerved into my lane and headed directly for me. It was far enough away that there was plenty of time to avert but close enough to make my heart clutch. Then the truck veered back into its own lane and as it passed by I saw the unmistakable profile of my nephew laughing his fool head off at having intentionally scared the perdition out of me. It’s an old trick that I almost always fall for.

Just one of the ways we amuse ourselves in our small, Southern town.

I needed to have my property surveyed. My part of the homeplace is entirely on the south side of the railroad track so it seemed like a simple proposition to have the acres plotted and mapped out. But I also expected it to cost a few pretty pennies to get it done. Still, I needed to move forward so I contacted a local surveyor. After less than a day he called me back and told me that the parcel had been surveyed years ago and that a separate plat was already legally registered. He explained that I could re-do the whole process if I wished but it wasn’t necessary and would just be money thrown away. I know it’s hard to believe but there are folks in the world who would have done the job, cashed my check and not felt a second’s guilt. Not around here.

Not in my small, Southern town.

I was overdue on a long, boring report and was just about to jump on it when a friend dropped by my office. We started chatting and before long we were joined by another friend. We had a grand old time and it was actually beneficial to my job, both of them being integrally involved in local affairs, but the result was I was even further behind on the long, boring report. And I didn’t mind a bit.

That’s how we roll in our small, Southern town.

Like no place else on Earth.

Where asking a neighbor if he thinks it’s going to rain will get you a half hour of uninterrupted pontification about weather, politics and religion.

Where we know what to call a soft drink. They’re called sodas if you’re from Up North or pops if you’re from Out West. Around here they’re all Cokes. We keep it simple.

Where at pretty much any country store you can still buy a real cane pole, crickets and red wigglers, hooks, lines and sinkers, whatever you need before you head to your favorite honey hole, allowing you can avoid the big box sporting good stores.

You can’t beat living in a small, Southern town.

It might mean you have to be alert for vehicular high jinks and be ready to dodge for the ditch when you least expect it.

And that you might need to work late because of friends and kin who drop by the office unannounced.

You might even get to keep more of your own money because most folks around here are too honest to take what isn’t theirs.

At this juncture of my life I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I kinda like it here.

In our small, Southern town.

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 www.DonLively.com.

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