2018-02-07 / Editorials

Don Lively


(Please enjoy this reprint of my very first column from August of 2007.)

Living Out West for 30 years never caused me to feel any less Southern. I believe that if you're born in the South, even if you are moved away as a child, you carry with you some innate ability to always remain southern. That being said, there are certain things that every Southerner knows, or at least understands.

Here are a few things I know about the South.

In the South, everybody goes to church somewhere. Think about it. How many people do you know who don't attend services fairly often.

In the South most of your best friends are your kinfolk. On the weekends I hang out with my brothers and cousins and other sundry relatives. Bet you do too.

Speaking of kinfolk, in the South we all have relatives who we'd rather not claim. But we still claim them.

In the South sober deer cause more traffic accidents than drunk drivers by about three to one.

In the South you can get better biscuits at a fast food place known as Bojangles than you can find at the best establishments in all of the other regions of America.

Noseeums really are invisible. I've got the bites to prove it.

Speaking of insects, you don't go anywhere in the South in the spring or summer without industrial strength insect repellant.

In the South, daddies have influence even after they are long gone. How many times have you wondered "What would Daddy do about this?" Or said out loud "Your daddy would be proud/ disappointed/rolling over in his grave"?

Incidentally, in the South, 50 year-old men still refer to their fathers as Daddy ... proudly.

In the South you can, if you are so inclined, get up early, drive two hours and be at the ocean, drive two more hours and be in the mountains, mosey two or three more hours and sit beside a white water river and be back in the piney woods before dark.

The South is a place where a state can have three official state flags within a few months and, depending where you are, you can see any of the three still being flown.

Here in the South folks will pay $50,000 for a boat, then use that boat to ride a couple of miles down the river to a sandbar where they anchor and stand knee deep in the river with other boat lovers for the rest of the day.

In the South, many people consider fire ants to be on a par with Sherman's legions.The tiny little demons from below can bite through socks, or find a way around them, or find a little hole in them. Insidious creatures they are. Daddy (see what I mean?) used to say fire ants would gather on your foot or ankle unfelt and unseen and then wait for an order. When that order came they'd all bite at once. It's true. I'll show you the scars on my left foot if you ask.

Down here crickets, cicadas and whippoorwills provide better nighttime music than the world's best composers.

Over 93 percent of all males in the South are alpha male warrior types. The rest are unaffiliated.

Many Southerners share the belief that there is no need to learn Spanish or any other language when we are still trying to master English.

There's not a more humid spot on Earth than Shell Bluff, Georgia, specifically Lively's Pond on the 4th of July.

When Southerners my age or older catch the smell of freshly turned soil mixed with diesel fuel fumes, we are taken back to a time when we all were agrarians, or most of us were.

Sweet tea is the real nectar of the gods, little g, and every lady in the South, and most of them men, know how to make it. You order ice tea at a restaurant and you WILL get it sweet.

You never really leave the South. The South is part of your being. I'll never regret living in my adopted state of Colorado for thirty years, but I'm blessed to be back in the South.

Back home again.

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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