2018-02-14 / Editorials

Don Lively

THE TRUE MEASURE

It was one of those times when I couldn't decide what to write about.

It happens.

Even with all the doings in my life and the lives of my friends and kin, there are occasions when I strike a dry hole. So, naturally, I went to the north porch, settled into my rocker and commenced pondering.

Lo and behold, I came up with a really good idea, one that I would enjoy writing and that, hopefully, you would enjoy reading.

I started to look forward to pounding the keyboard until it took shape.

I would put a fire in the fireplace, fix a cleverness drink and get to work.

A really good idea.

I should have known better.

"The best laid plans of mice and men..." and all that.

I had to totally change direction.

Cause Miss Doris came back to town.

She didn't actually arrive in person. Miss Doris went to Heaven in December. But the gathering that occurred, the subject of my discourse this week, happened because of the remarkable life that Miss Doris lived.

We gathered to remember her.

I'd known her my whole life having grown up with her children as schoolmates. She was also a teller at the bank where I had my first checking account and she helped me cash the very first check that I ever wrote. That was decades ago and there's no telling how many lives Miss Doris touched throughout the years.

If the gathering was any indication, she touched many.

Small town funerals are illuminating microcosms of the small town itself.

The folks who gather to honor the one who has gone on to Glory reveal a great deal about that person.

With Miss Doris it has to start with her own kids. Many years ago she blended her family with another after losing her first husband in a traffic accident. Together she and Mr. Luther raised six children all of whom are successful, outstanding folks. I got to visit with some of them and it was easy to see that they are comforted knowing that Miss Doris is in Heaven.

At the service I saw many fine folks who brought back wonderful memories.

Like the lady who as a girl in high school had pretty much every boy, me included, in love with her. She was beautiful and talented and most of all she was sweet and gracious. She's a retired teacher who is also a writer. I've had the privilege of doing a joint book signing with her.

Also in attendance was another friend I've known since the first day of first grade. He's a successful local farmer who grows the best pecans, pronounced pea-cans, in the state.

Another high school buddy who lives in Virginia now is a very successful insurance executive. We had a few minutes to catch up and in that short time managed to talk politics, mutual friends and old times.

Across the room I spotted a fellow who manages the hardware store where I've bought a lot of wood and other building materials including the posts and beams for the archway that we recently built at The Pond.

I saw two familiar faces that I decided could not be who I initially thought. Way too young to be schoolmates. I was wrong. They are sisters who I'd not seen since high school and they both still look exactly like they did back then, unlike some of us who actually aged as we aged. We chatted a while and in the it's-a-small world category, I learned that one of them is married to the physician that took care of Daddy in his later years.

Southern funerals are like bittersweet reunions where old friends become reacquainted.

And new friends are made.

I finally got to meet Boomer.

Boomer is married to one of Miss Doris's daughters. He appeared around these parts shortly after I moved Out West following my dreams. Boomer was friends with both of my brothers and over the years I heard many tales about their river running, dirt road riding, irrigation pond swimming country boy adventures. I'd heard so much about Boomer over the years that I felt like I knew him. We did some backslapping and tale swapping as if we were old friends.

Again, a good measure of a person is the ones they leave behind and the ones who come to celebrate them.

Rest in peace Miss Doris.

You did good.

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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