2017-08-30 / Editorials

Don Lively


Just call me syndicated.

Sniff, sniff.

Yep, that's me.

Well, okay, to be honest, I might be stretching the definition of syndicated just a scrimption but one published definition of "syndicated" reads; "to publish simultaneously in a number of newspapers".

Well, two (2) is a number, so, I'm covered.

I appear in whichever weekly that you are currently reading these words in, and one other, one county over.

Yep, it's a stretch.

This week marks exactly ten years since my first column was published.

Ten years = 120 months = one decade.

Daddy would call it "a good long while".

Seems like it.

Over the past few years I've begun submitting updated reprints on occasion, just to give myself a break. But, not counting the reprints I estimate that I've written somewhere around 450 columns during my tenure. 450 times approximately 800 words in each column is 360,000 words.

That's a bunch, y'all.

That many words would fill over five average novels.

Ten years.

So far, so good.

Ten years ago I wrote that first jittery masterpiece about having returned to the Blessed South after living Out West for thirty years. I had realized upon returning to the place of my youth that I never really left, never really ceased to "be" Southern. If you are born and bred below the fabled Mason-Dixon line you don't stand a snowball's chance in Death Valley (the one in California, not the one at Clemson.) of ever being anything but a Southerner, not that any of us would choose to anyway.

So, that first column set the tone for the hundreds that followed.

I call it Southern Humor.

Don't try it at home.

It's not as easy as it looks.

Here's a synopsis of how I've made it work, up to now.

Since I was knee high to a doodlebug until the present I have been immersed in a huge, eccentric, far-flung, diverse semicrazy group of friends and kin, mostly from the South but others from all over the globe.

I just write stories about them and about me and about you.

It's really that simple.

It's been a hoot.

I think I must be doing okay cause y'all would tell me if I wasn't.

I ran into my dear friend, Jim the other day. He's a ninety plus year old gentleman, a former Marine who was part of the Greatest Generation, and he's still feisty enough to fight Tojo again if called on. Jim taught me my love of arrowhead hunting years ago before government agencies decided that most artifacts belong to them and not the public that pays their salaries. He calls me every now and then to gently correct me about something or to further explain some question that I left hanging.

Jim's opinion is very important to me so I listen to what he has to say.

At church recently, another friend, Caroline, told me that she was sitting by herself and laughing out loud at something I had written that week. I've known Caroline and her husband, Allen, for a large part of my life. Getting somebody to laugh out loud is the number one goal and objective of any humorist, me included.

Caroline's comments made my day and that's what makes the aggravation of deadlines worth the trouble.

My friend Emma reads me too. She knows the history of our town and our county far better than I do. She's a valued resource, a wealth of knowledge, and a treasured friend.

The fact that Emma takes the time to read my scribblings honors me.

It can be trying at times.

Sometimes on Sunday nights before deadline the next day I have absolutely no clue what I'm going to write about. No ideas, no thoughts, not one funny turn of phrase.


But then I remember, I live in the South where telling stories is such a part of the culture that there are clubs and classes and seminars dedicated to the art. That being the case, normally all it takes is sitting down at the keyboard and starting to reminisce to spur a thought and, voila, a column is born.

So, I reckon I'll keep churning them out as long as y'all will keep reading them.

We have a pretty good thing going on here, you and I. We live in the greatest spot in the universe. So, let's us shoot for another ten years, at least.

Did I mention that I'm syndicated?

Sort of.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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