2015-07-08 / Columns

Don Lively


My friend was laughing and shaking her head at the antics of me and my kinfolk.

" Y'all crack me up. One minute you're discussing Scripture and Bible prophesy and the next you're shooting your brother a bird! "

True, but it was a friendly bird sent with love and affection.

We'd shifted gears from religion to politics and he'd made a semi disparaging remark about my current but ever-evolving choice for president in 2016. So, a genial inappropriate gesture seemed to be the appropriate response.

We're brothers, it's what we do.

Any of you without sin feel free to cast the first stone my way.

My family is a little different from most. We have been around this neck of the woods for over 250 years so we figure we've earned the right to a little pride in our clan. We are close. Closer than most families which is saying a lot since the heart of our family is dead center in the Blessed South where family ties are sacred.

My family has three, count 'em, three reunions every summer.

We just had the biggest one, the annual Fourth of July reunion.

Even though the Fourth fell on a Saturday our numbers were down due to rain washing out the road to The Pond and threatening to strand everybody at the bottom of the hill. So we only had around 220 folks there.

Count 'em, 220 folks.

And two pigs.

It takes two whole hogs, two big pots of hash and a ton side dishes and desserts to feed the small army that is my family.

This year, as in most recent years, the talk among the family members often centered around our extreme dissatisfaction with the direction we see our country going. A large part of that discontent stems from the fact that men from our family have served in every war and every conflict and every police action since before America was founded. They fought for freedom and seeing many of those freedoms being eroded will never sit well with our hardheaded, fiercely patriotic family.

I can imagine Daddy and some of his brothers and cousins in the late 1930s as the world was seeing Hitler's aggression starting to take root, one Fourth at The Pond discussing the possibility that America might have to go to war with Germany again.

Then, after the Greatest Generation had defeated Hitler and Tojo, some of those same men at the same location on the same day, different year, arguing over how we ended up right back in another war in Korea.

Later a different generation of warriors served during the Viet Nam era and I'm sure " that crazy Asian war " was a topic of discussion during several Fourths.

Then Desert Storm.

Then Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On and on.

" And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."

Jesus said that so you can take it to the bank.

My family has never been afraid to fight.

Because freedom comes at a cost.

And freedom is what my family cherishes most.

Freedom to periodically gather around a firepit and equally cuss all political parties and every branch of the government for miserably failing the very country that put them where they are.

The freedom to believe that the Bible is the one and only Word of the one and only God and the freedom to oppose laws that are contrary to Scripture.

Freedom to, at the age of 50, swing on a vine across a gully simply on a dare. It resulted in a broken leg, but, he did it.

The freedom to howl at the moon any time I take a notion just because I feel like it.

Even the freedom to occasionally raise a good natured one finger salute to those I love the most.

Just a few of the reasons my family has been willing to go to war.

For freedom

For Independence.

For family.

Yours and mine.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of the new book, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com and visit his website, www.DonLively.com.

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