Don Lively



(Reprinted from 2014)

I admit, I don’t have the patience of Solomon.


That’s not right.

The patience of Job, not Solomon.

It’s the wisdom of Solomon.

The patience of Job.

I think.

I get the two Old Testament axioms confused.

Honestly, I’ve never been accused of having much of either of those commodities, patience or wisdom. Being short of both has, at times, caused me some frustration.

You’ve heard the old nugget of advice, “take a deep breath and count to ten.”

It doesn’t work.

It’s a waste of breath and verbalized numerals.

A few years ago, I was driving my family across northern Nevada enroute to Oregon. Northern Nevada is, in the words of Red Skelton describing Texas, “miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.” Not a lot to look at except sagebrush and tumbleweeds. But the Oregon coast awaited and I’d picked what I thought was the quickest route.

Not so fast.

Somewhere along the way we were leaving a small town and got behind an old pickup truck with an old man driving and an old woman in the passenger seat. The bed of the truck held dozens of bags of groceries and I quickly surmised that these ranchers had come to town for a month’s supplies and were headed home.

That would normally be a quaint sight.

Americana at its best.

Not so much.

The old fellow drove at a steady forty-three miles an hour on roads so winding that there was no way to get around him.

For eighty-six miles.

I kept count.


At forty-three miles an hour.

Do the math.

And to make it worse his right turn signal blinked the entire time.

For eighty-six miles.

Finally, thank Jesus, he tapped his brakes and began to slow.

He turned left.

Finally free of his eightysix mile slow speed misuse of turn indicators, I was so happy to leave him in the dust that I stomped my accelerator at which point my wife-at-thetime told me that I should learn some patience.

I scoffed for about five seconds.

Until I smacked an errant prairie dog vaporizing him to kingdom come and putting a rodent shaped dent in the Blazer’s grill.

My wife-at-the-time scoffed for about five minutes.

And probably smirked.

I don’t do frustration well.

Recently I ran into a lady that I’d met at one of my book signings. She began to rave about my book and related how she had loaned her copy to “at least twenty-five” of her friends and relatives, all of whom had read it cover to cover.

While half of me was gratified, the other half was calculating “at least” twenty-five unsold copies sitting in my closet creating dust bunnies.

Twenty-five copies that could have sold for…well…mercy.

I just gave her my most sincere weak smile and thanked her.

I meant it; I was very grateful.

And a little frustrated.

A large part of my real job (the one that pays the bills, not the one where I write words that I pray you continue liking) is event planning, from 4th of July Fireworks shows to Christmas parades. With very few exceptions the weather has wreaked havoc on my planning.

There may not be a more frustrating experience than to sit in an office checking every hour trying to decide whether to postpone or proceed.

The problem is, Who are you going to blame? The One who controls the weather?


There are a few other things that just forevermore scorch my grits.

Like when I watch a movie where the story is based in the Blessed South but none of the actors have a clue about how to truly articulate an authentic Southern accent when there are dozens of amazing, talented performers who hail from below the Mason-Dixon who could.

When somebody who doesn’t have a job, and, from what I can tell, has never had a real one, feels compelled to offer his or her unsolicited opinion as to how I should be doing mine.

When I arrive at an airport only to find that my flight will have an unexplained and unapologized for five hour delay during which time I could ride a slow mule to my destination.

That happened last week.


Coming and going.

Or when I try to sell a used SUV and the prospective buyer declines because there’s a prairie dog shaped dent in the grill.

Breathe deep.

Count to ten.


Trust me, it doesn’t work.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of several books of Southern Humor. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at

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