by: Marty Chrisman
Bo and Luke Duke were bent down under the hood of their stock car, the infamous General Lee, giving the engine some minor adjustments. The General Lee was a 1969 Dodge Charger. With its bright orange paint job, black O1 painted on the doors, the rebel flag painted on the roof, and the name “The General Lee” painted above the doors it was as well known in Hazzard County as the boys were. It was the fastest car in three counties and the boys were considered the two best drivers around. The boys had built the General from the ground up and they each owned half of the car. It might be just a car but the Dukes still considered it to be part of the family.
“Wonder who Uncle Jessie invited to supper and why he’s being so secretive about it?” Bo said, as he wiped his hands on a rag lying on the General’s fender. Bo was in his early twenties with a lean, muscular build and boyishly handsome good looks. He had baby blue eyes and light blonde hair that he wore moderately long.
Luke straightened up and slammed shut the hood on the General. Slightly shorter then his cousin, he was just handsome with the same lean, muscular build. Where Bo was blonde, Luke had thick curly brown hair and sapphire blue eyes. “Don’t know” he said “But I reckon we’ll find out soon enough. He’s sure got Daisy busy cooking up a regular feast so it must be somebody pretty special.”
“Hey, ya don’t think ole Jessie has himself a lady friend, do ya?” Bo asked with a grin.
“Maybe.” Luke said, grinning back. “After all, he’s a Duke” Both Duke boys were considered the best two catches in the county, at least by the female population. Their Daddies, on the other hand, weren’t always so crazy about their little girls dating one of the infamous Duke boys. Laughing, the two boys went into the house to get cleaned up before supper.
Their cousin, Daisy, was busy fixing supper and ignored the boys as they walked through the kitchen. Daisy was one of the prettiest girls in Hazzard County with a figure that drove a man crazy and the face of an angel. Long reddish brown hair hung around her shoulders in soft waves and her bright blue eyes sparkled with life. She could shoot like Annie Oakley, drive like Richard Petty, and knew the words to every Dolly Parton song. And when she put on a dress, tongues hung out all over Hazzard.
Jessie was sitting in his chair in the living room reading his paper. He smiled as he watched the boys amble through the kitchen towards the stairs that led to the second floor. Kelly should be here soon and he knew that they were all going to be surprised and delighted to see her. They’d been pestering him all afternoon trying to find out who their guest was for supper, but Jessie had held his tongue.
Bo and Luke had just come back downstairs, when there was a knock at the back door. “I’ll get it.” Daisy called out. A few moments later, her excited squeal filled the air and Jessie grinned broadly. Kelly had arrived. The boys hurried into the kitchen to find out who their supper guest was and what had Daisy so excited. They both skidded to a stop in the archway between the kitchen and the living room, stunned looks on their faces, when Kelly entered the kitchen with Daisy. She was dressed in a yellow tank top and jeans, with her hair pulled back into a ponytail.
Bo was the first to recover. With an exited yelp, he rushed forward and grabbed Kelly around the waist, lifting her into the air, and whirling her around. As Bo sat her back on her feet, Kelly looked in Luke’s direction and smiled faintly. “Hi, Luke” she said
“Hi, Kell” Luke said with a lopsided smile. Stepping forward at last, he took her in his arms and gave her a hug, then stepped back somewhat self consciously. Nobody seemed to notice Luke’s reaction, they were all too excited to see Kelly after so many years, especially since they hadn’t known for sure if she was alive or dead.
“Well, let’s eat before it gets cold.” Jessie said, motioning for everyone to sit down at the table. Automatically Kelly sat in her old spot at the table, with Daisy on her right and Luke on her left. Daisy had gone all out, fixing a cucumber salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade biscuits, green beans and fried chicken. Daisy was one of the best cooks in Hazzard County. Jessie had made sure the boys could cook too but they couldn’t even come close to being as good as Daisy. They both had a tendency to burn things if they weren’t careful. And Jessie’s crawdad bisque was considered a rare treat, so was his rattlesnake Chili.
Daisy and Bo kept talking at the same time, both of them trying to ask Kelly questions, until a stern look from Jessie warned them to talk one at a time and give her time to answer them. Daisy perked up with interest when Kelly told them that she had been living in Nashville for the past five years.
“Nashville? Did you meet anybody famous?” she asked in an excited voice.
“Actually, I opened a couple of shows for Randy Travis and I was a regular at Tootsie’s Lounge.” Kelly replied “And I was offered a recording contract with RCA just before I left.”
“Are you going to take it?” Daisy asked, growing even more excited at the idea of someone she knew being offered a recording contract with a major label.
“I don’t know.” Kelly said “I’m not sure that’s what I really want. I already have a writer’s contract and I’ve had some of my songs published. I even had one recorded by Loretta Lynn.”
“Why wouldn’t you want a recording contract?” Bo asked “You were always a fantastic singer.” When the boys were teenagers, they had formed a band with Kelly as their female vocalist. The group had gained quite a following in the area with people coming from miles around to hear them perform.
“I guess it because I’m not sure I wanna give up that much of my life, being on the road all the time trying to make it and then being on the road all the time if I do. It’s a hard life and you give up a lot to be a star and there’s no guarantee that you’ll make it big, no matter how good you are.” She smiled faintly “Besides, I still like the old stuff the best and now days Nashville don’t want none of that if they can help it.”
The boys nodded in agreement. They had all grown up listening to, and later singing, songs by Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, and Ernest Tubb. None of them cared much for most of the singers they heard now days, except for Randy Travis, Alan Jackson and the more traditionalist artists. The boys leaned more towards the “country outlaws” like Willie, Waylon and Hank Jr. And Daisy was a devoted Dolly Parton fan. Daisy didn’t sing much except in the shower but she did write songs and dreamed of having them recorded someday.
After supper, they all went into the living room and continued visiting. The subject of why Kelly had left Hazzard so many years ago was carefully avoided. Around eleven o’clock, Kelly told them that she had to be getting home. She knew they had to get up early in the morning. “I’ll walk you out.” Luke volunteered.
Once they were outside and out of earshot of the others in the house, Luke looked at her and said quietly “I’m glad your back, Kell.”
“I am too.” Kelly admitted with a simple smile, looking deeply into his sapphire eyes. She took a deep breath and added “I guess we need to talk.”
“Yeah, I guess we do.” Luke agreed “Will you meet me tomorrow? Around noon, I’ll buy you lunch at the Hazzard Café.”
Kelly nodded in agreement. “See ya then” she said, as she slid into her car and started the engine. Luke stood there, watching until her taillights disappeared in the darkness, then he turned and slowly walked back into the house.