Don Lively




There’s really not much that I fear in the world, not real physical fear. Since I was washed in the Blood all those years ago in the muddy waters of Brier Creek there’s really nothing to be afraid of.

True, the unexpected encounter with a snake, any breed, color or size, can startle the pure fool out of me but so far I’ve never met up with one that, once my heart recovered, I wasn’t able to dispatch before he dispatched me.

Most red blooded Southern males don’t scare easy, or, if they do they would never say so out loud.

But while we might correctly believe that we could single handedly whip any two of any person or thing that meant to do us harm, we do have certain other non physical trepidations.

We all have them, even me.

Like spiders. Now to be clear, it’s really not the spider I fear. What concerns me is that I might stick my foot into an unshaken shoe or boot and before I know it there’s a black widow or brown recluse munching on my big toe. I probably wouldn’t notice it right away and it would end up infected. Then I’d have to go to the hospital to have it amputated. That doesn’t even bother me much. I’d still have nine spares. But the recovery would require eating hospital food and having to wear one of those gowns that don’t cover your backside. No, it’s not the spider I fear.

It’s the pureed cauliflower and forced semi nudity. And the thought of all the new nicknames I’d pick up around the firepit.

I fear that the powers that be will eventually pave every last inch of dirt road in our neck of the woods. Lord forbid. Dixie fellows need dirt roads to remain sane. Even young Southern boys understand the essential ritual of spending countless hours cruising the clay and sand. My brother Willie’s son, Pookie, was not even ten years old when he figured it out. He’d apparently been uncharacteristically paying attention in church one Sunday and heard the preacher say that all the streets in Heaven are paved with gold. He told Willie in no uncertain terms that if there weren’t any dirt roads in paradise he wasn’t sure he wanted to go.

I understand that sentiment but I suspect there will be plenty of dirt roads in the hereafter.

I fear that even more of our Yankee friends will discover that the best folks in America reside mostly east of the Mississippi and south of the Mason-Dixon line. I say mostly cause sometimes we allow Louisiana and Texas, and parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma to count themselves among the Southern states too. Sometimes. I don’t mean to disparage other parts of our great nation, I’ve been in all of them, but, think about it, do you ever hear of anybody retiring and “ moving north “ ? Not hardly.

And how many folks do you know who have moved away from the Blessed South only to return and settle down.

I fear that one day I will be online, laughing myself silly viewing the ridiculously dressed folks on the People Of Wal-Mart website when lo and behold there I am in all my glory. Once, long before I knew the site existed, I was on the road in another state. I was already settled into the hotel when I decided that I needed to pick up a few things. I was wearing sandals with white socks, bright orange and blue paisley sweat pants that somebody gave me as a gag gift, and my favorite “ Ski Your &@##s Off “ tee shirt. Nobody knew me here, what could it hurt? I had no clue that somebody could be lurking about with a camera ready and willing to humiliate.

That’s a big fear.

I have a few others.

I fear a shortage of garden tomatoes, sweet corn and spare ribs.

I fear an abundance of fire ants, gnats and skeeters.

I fear that Levis will go out of style.

I fear that bright orange and blue paisley sweatpants will make a comeback.

I fear that Jimmy Buffett will retire to a salty piece of Earth and never tour again.

I fear that Oprah will never retire and I’ll have to spend another thirty years hearing my women friends and kin tell me how every aspect of my life would improve if I paid more attention to the Queen Of Talk.

I fear that I will run out of ideas to write about.

Actually, forget that one. As long as there’s a Dixie, that ain’t going to happen.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of Howlin’ At The Dixie Moon. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at [email protected] and visit his website,

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