Don Lively



(Reprinted from 2013)

It’s confession time once again.

Not that kind of confession. I’m Baptist.

But it’s time to come clean about a few things that could very well lead to somebody trying to revoke my certification as a bona fide Southerner.

My latest battle with my Dixie conscience started innocently enough. I’ve recently attended a couple of oyster roasts, those iconic, nearly revered features of life in the Blessed South. In the years that I lived away oyster roasts were perfected to a near art form. Special cookers and seasonings, etc. Folks around our neck of the woods love them, right?

Well, I love a good oyster roast too.

Just don’t make me eat oysters.

That’s right, I don’t like oysters roasted, fried, grilled or, mercy sakes alive, raw. I once tried one raw at the insistence of my nephew. It didn’t make it to the back of my tongue before I spit it into The Pond.

Forgive me.

See, here’s the thing. When you eat them right out of the shell aren’t you eating everything? Eyeballs. Innards. Bones. Do oysters have bones? Maybe not, but they presumably have un-expelled bodily fluids in them. So when you swallow one whole aren’t you swallowing the … well, you see what I mean.

Let me hasten to add that I do like shrimp, about the only crustacean I’ll eat. Are shrimp crustaceans? Who cares, cause with shrimp you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it, gumbo it. You know. You saw Forrest Gump.

Love me some shrimp.

But, now that I’ve nearly committed apostasy by confessing my disdain for oysters I might as well go whole hog.

I don’t like deer meat either.

That, in itself, could threaten my Southern credentials. I just never liked it. Maybe because whenever Daddy served venison roasts I always got the portion loaded down with double aught buck shot resulting in me nearly breaking a tooth on more than one occasion. Eating lead is not appetizing.

I do like fried rabbit. Does that count toward my atonement? Rabbits were once a Southern staple.

Here’s another thing.

I don’t like the sun.

I appreciate what it does for us and all that. Vitamin D for humans, photosynthesis for our roses and tomatoes. Yada, yada. I get that. I just don’t like being out in it. Most Southerners are worship- ers of Ol’ Sol and take every opportunity to catch some rays. Not me. There’s a reason I built sixty feet of wraparound porches on my house.


I’m a shade worshiper.

If you could get tan sitting in the shade I’d be as brown as a berry.

Wow, this is kind of liberating, getting all this off my chest.

Let’s continue.

I don’t like working on cars.

I understand that all good Southern boys are supposed to be motorheads obsessed with gearboxes and rpm’s. We’re supposed to enjoy laying on our backs up under cars letting burnt motor oil drip on us. Like Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show The Goober Pyle on Mayberry, RFD. Cooter on Dukes of Hazzard. Why is it that all Southern based sit-com mechanics have weird nicknames? I just don’t like grease under my fingernails or reposing underneath a two ton vehicle that could fall and damage my personal assets.

On the other hand, I have become a true NASCAR fan. I have a Daytona 500 koozie to prove it. So I do have an appreciation for finely tuned engines that somebody else worked on.

Maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Maybe not.

Cause I don’t like mud.

I don’t like mud on my porch. I don’t like mud in my house. I especially don’t like mud between my toes. I grew up on a farm where mud was a fact of life. Muddy shoes, muddy clothes, muddy brothers and sisters. Farmers are supposed to like mud. Not this farmer.

But, hold your horses. I love the Southern dessert delicacy known as Mississippi Mud Cake that my neighbor and sister-in-law Debbie makes, except she calls it Dirt Cake.

So there.

Maybe I’ve been too honest. As I said at the beginning I do like the oyster roasts. Cause they always attract folks from around these parts who I enjoy rubbing elbows with. And there are always plenty of sausage on the grills for the persnickety folks like me who aren’t seafood lovers.

So, I hope my confessions won’t cause me to get disfellowshipped and banished from the South. Exiled to someplace way Up North. Like Atlanta. That would be a fate worse than swallowing raw oysters.

Innards and all.

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