Though the names used in this story are fictitious and no celebrities mentioned in this story actually participated in it, the following is based on a true story about a good friend I know who actually overcame several odds in order to lose enough pounds to, in fact, wear Daisy Duke’s signature shorts. Though it doesn’t take place in Hazzard County, it does show how the television show The Dukes of Hazzard and its every participant has the ability to inspire and move human beings just by simply being there.
by: Carolyn Gates
“Rebecca, by medical standards you are considered obese.”
The words she recalled almost left her in tears. Her former doctor, though surely it was unintentional, it seemed, had put a curse on her. A curse that seemed it would make cold, cruel people stare in utter disgust and start gossip, make teenage girls who were spoiled to the hilt by either ignorant, cowardly or equally spoiled-as-children parents, take a look and laugh, just like they did to her in sixth grade, junior high, high school…
She praised the Christian God she worshipped–which was quite difficult to do, but she did out of the fact that she had nowhere else to turn to– that she had left that doctor, that town, that cold, cruel urban sprawl, forever, never intending to return. Never to return to the hate-filled verbal abuse she had received from her emotionally and mentally unstable biological father for being overweight since age five. Never to return to the cold, utterly cruel, sometimes unemotional bullying, without remorse, she had received from elementary school, all the way to high school. Some former classmates, unbelievably, in their thirties, had still shouted cruel comments at her while driving by in their cars anywhere she went. Never to return to an unemotional clinic that treated her Juvenile Diabetes, unemotionally, in a strictly professional manner, with no true care from the heart.
Rebecca Belle Spring had had enough of Houston.
She had settled in Hazard, Kentucky a small, country-like area, not completely rural, but certainly not urban, and hoped she would find inner peace for her heart, soul, spirit and mind. It would take time, but surely not too much, and certainly not a lifetime, she wouldn’t have it that way. Her God had always seemed distant and aloof to her and seemed to simply not wish to take notice of her and the fact that she had suffered so much, but she believed that He was much bigger than a mortal being, anyhow, and, through a mighty chain reaction of events that he had orchestrated (some that she wasn’t able to be aware of), gave her someplace to turn.
Rebecca went to the one small room of her townhouse that she called “The Entertainment Center” about two nights after she moved in, and pulled a DVD set out of a cardboard box, a small part of a show she hadn’t seen since the 1980’s, when she was just a little girl. Back then, it was simply a television show, though she loved it then, she never knew what a phenomenal impact it would make on her life as an adult. She gazed at the two provocatively handsome men on the front cover, posing beside that certain orange 1969 Dodge Charger she always adored, The General Lee, with that provocative woman posing on top of the hood.
The Dukes Of Hazzard, the gorgeous font read.
She slipped into her bedroom and perched on top of her bed, and opened her MacBook, and switched it on with anticipation. With a resounding chord and the Apple logo welcoming her, it was ready for service.
It prepared its usual control panel, and the wallpaper was a picture of one of the people she treasured in her heart, John Schneider’s character, Bo Duke. He was sitting in the General Lee with a beautiful, diamond-bright, open-mouthed smile on his face, the passenger’s seat empty beside him. Oh, how she wanted to somehow crawl through that liquid crystal display screen, and into that passenger’s seat!
Rebecca certainly wasn’t an unattractive person despite her being overweight. In fact, she was one of those rare women who looked gorgeous despite their extra pounds. She didn’t always believe this, though. But she had to. She had to believe she was gorgeous, pretty, beautiful on the outside despite her weight. It was the only way she could feel alive spiritually as well as physically. And she always had to immediately rid herself of thoughts such as, why would a guy like Bo Duke want to be with you, as overweight as you are? Haven’t you seen the show? He only hangs out with skinny girls. No, it was important to replace them with such thoughts as, Bo Duke would want me, and no, not because of my inner heart or personality. Beauty starts from the inside, and then makes the outside beautiful no matter what one looks like.
And this was quite a hard art to master.
She slid the DVD inside the MacBook’s provided slot, the first one of the First Season of The Dukes Of Hazzard, and let the fun begin.
Just the good ol’ boys,
Never meanin’ no harm
Beats all you never saw,
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born…
Rebecca could relate. It seemed, ever since she learned to to walk and talk, that her scheming father had found ways to abuse her and get her into trouble, situations she never deserved to be in, then covered up his tracks to his “little” wife like an Apache, twisting the story around so it looked like she was the one to blame, a truly cold, cruel man.
Unlike Bo and his cousin, Luke Duke, Tom Wopat’s character. Despite the fact that they had been former outlaws, they were generally kind, considerate, good-natured, fun-loving, full-of-life men, the first she’d ever recognized as such, being that her tormentors over the years were mostly male, thus initially giving her a very horrible impression of the other gender. But it was Bo and Luke who had changed all that.
She drank in, deeply, every episode on that disc that night. How she loved the little details, the way Luke ran in the midst of being shot at, the way Bo’s pectoral muscles could not hide beneath his light-blue shirt, the way Luke’s huge, incandescent blue eyes simply…well, simply stood out, Bo’s particularly sexy, sensuous assertiveness when having a bow and arrow in hand.
Yet, she noticed how awkward she felt when she saw their female cousin, Catherine Bach’s character, Daisy, in action. The feelings inside were terrible, as she was reminded that, back then as well as to this day, men marveled over her, fantasized deeply about her, simply savored the look in her eyes, her long, scrumptious hair, her gorgeous smile…and, of course how her figure looked in those shorts…those Daisy Dukes.
It wasn’t that she disliked Catherine or her character; Daisy, in her eyes, was one of the most beautiful women, inside as well as on the outside. Who could portray this character as flawlessly as Catherine Bach? No one could touch her at portraying Daisy Duke (goodness knows, Jessica Simpson never could in that sorry excuse of a recent attempt to do a movie about the Dukes).
She nevertheless felt awful feelings as she watched her on the laptop screen. She fought off feelings that seemed to, spiritually, speak and say, men want her, not you. Men want someone who can be more than just kind, with a good heart, a blessed soul and whatnot. They want a girl who can fit into her clothes, who doesn’t have to order from the Plus-Size section of BabyPhat.com, girlfriend. They want Daisy.
No! I won’t have these thoughts, Rebecca’s spirit said sharply as she hurried to the mirror in the bathroom and looked at her body. She thought it shameless that she weighed 237 pounds at five feet, eight inches. She believed, after a long time, that she was beautiful on the outside despite her weight. Nevertheless, something deep inside the bottom of her heart spoke out as images of Daisy filled her mind.
I have to change.