The South Will Rise Again

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On our drive to adult day care (a.k.a. mom’s workplace, where she lends a helping heart and hand to those in need), mom and I sing songs.

And I mean when we sing songs, we sing with the volume turned up to TEN!

I think, even with the windows rolled up, folks in other cars can see ours rocking and rolling and hear us loud enough to clap and sing along.

This is nothing new. As a family, we sang together like this our entire lives. I sang baritone, dad was the tenor, my sister, Nel, was the soprano and mom the alto.

Together, we made a joyful noise.

It made for good times and shorter trips.

With mom and me the only two in the family choir left standing, we have to make up for the missing harmonies with volume, and with that said, we don’t miss a beat!

One of mom’s favorite songs is Dixie. She sings it like she is standing at full attention and saluting.

However, when she gets to the “live and die in Dixie” part she stops us both from singing, looks at me with a worried look on her face and says, “I just don’t like that part!”

That’s my prompt to say, “Mom, what don’t you like about it?”

She says, “I don’t like the … you know … the die part.”

“Well, how about we sing, “live and live in Dixie?” I suggest.

She smiles with one of her patented light-up-the-world smiles and shouts, “You’ve got it! You are so good, so smart. You are my bestest friend in the whole world. You know everything. I love you so much.”

She repeats, “To live and live in Dixie!”

Then we sing it again with that one BIG change. And, you know what? It gives a whole new meaning to an old, old song.

At the end of the song mom raises both arms skyward and says, “I love that song. I love the south. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I love living in the south … it’s called Dixie! To live and live in Dixie.”

It’s comforting to know the South will rise again tomorrow, same time, same place … driving mom to work.

My Side Note:

Mom was born in 1919 and raised in Richmond, Virginia, lived in Front Royal and Norfolk, Virginia before moving to Orangeburg, South Carolina and then Gainesville, Florida before coming full circle back to Richmond in 1970.

So, mom, and all of our family for that matter, have only lived in our beloved South.

There is something about the South that gets in your blood and does wonders for your heart and soul.

Thanks for being with mom and me on our journey. Please share your comments, insights and thoughts.

Oh, and please share mom’s and my blog with a friend.

The more on board, the merrier. 

About Tom Laughon

Tom Laughon (Pronounced Lawn) is President of Catch Your Limit, an organization whose sole purpose is to guide and grow leaders. His journey from lead singer in a rock-n-roll band, to a successful career in marketing & advertising to consultant, strategist, keynote speaker, facilitator, professor and writer is a fascinating one. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Tom and his team guide organizations, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to national associations, to "catch their limit" in areas such as leadership development, creativity, innovation, teaming and transformational change. His commitment to "practice what he preaches" has made Catch Your Limit a petri dish for round-the-clock discovery and learning. The firm's brand reflects Tom's personal brand: Fun, Inspirational, Strategic & Hot!

3 responses »

  1. Still proud, in a joyful way, of my Southern heritage. Still proud of Dixie. Few are left who understand it. The age before the “Almighty dollar”, and yankee factories driving men to quiet desperation….Strong memories to stay alive, not die, and strong feelings of heritage, and identity, and the reasons life is worth living! It has changed, but there is still a spirit in the lives of all those who knew her, of her class, her quality, and her stubborn refusal to leave behind the principles that others forsook for expediency…….and pragmatism. Your mom and the South are grand ladies whose influences will always be remembered.


  2. I can see Helen as she is singing Dixie. What joyful memories I have singing with Nel and Helen. I learned so many things from the Laughon family that have stayed with me my entire life. I feel the same as Helen about the south and the wonderful life we live in the south. I will now sing Dixie in that special way with a special love. Thanks Helen, I can now “Live and Live in Dixie”!!!


  3. She sounds like a total pistol. You are so very lucky to have her, love her and enjoy her — my mom, only 76, is in a nursing home a 6-hour flight away with dementia.



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