Mike was born and reared in Oklahoma. In his 20s he became the bass player for a rock band. For 10 years they played for college events, conventions and parties. They traveled where the work took them. In the process, Mike discovered the southeast. He felt so comfortable in the southern environment that he promised himself to someday make it home.
After leaving the band, he became a chauffeur and eventually bought a limousine business in Dallas. He had a contract to drive Sony artists such as the Eagles. He seized another opportunity to drive for a limousine service in Nashville and was delighted to move to Tennessee.
A cousin in Arkansas sent Mike genealogy information, which revealed that his great-great-great grandfather had fought for the Confederacy. He applied to become a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The night he received his acceptance call from the Franklin Camp Commander he was ecstatic. He soon became involved in historic preservation.
As a chauffeur, Mike drove famous clients. He remembers none more than country artist Trace Adkins. In their conversation, Mike mentioned that they shared a common interest in historic preservation and he told Trace that he was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. When Trace replied that he had also joined in Louisiana, the common heritage gave the two men an immediate bond.
Both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, of which Mike’s wife is a member, do worthwhile projects for the preservation and education of southern history. Beginning with the Woodrow Wilson Administration, The Veterans Administration has recognized Confederate Veterans.
An 82-year-old gentleman in Tullahoma has been instrumental in helping families get grave markers for relatives on both sides of the war. Mike was able to locate his ancestor’s grave and place a historic marker. He hopes to learn how to continue this work.
Mike had long dreamed of finding a wife and, in spite of family urging, he was willing to wait. As he told his grandmother, “You can’t go into Wal-Mart and pick one off the shelf!” At 47, he was introduced to Julie by a friend. Although it took months for their relationship to spark, Mike relates that after their first kiss, “fireworks exploded and the earth moved.”
They were married within a year, six blissful years ago.
Mike’s attention was drawn to a magazine advertisement offering the only Dixie Outfitters franchise in Tennessee. He and Julie visited the home office in Georgia and they became excited about opening a store in Manchester, Julie’s hometown. Because of her retail experience, Julie managed the store. When the economy recessed, she returned to her previous job and Mike became manager.
Lynchburg appealed to Mike as a good fit for Dixie Outfitters. When an opening became available, he moved his store, first sharing a space with another shop. About a year ago, he moved to his current location, appropriately on the south side of the square. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Tennessee’s Backroads and is grateful for their help.
Mike was attracted to Dixie Outfitters because it tastefully promotes southern heritage and culture. He carries a variety of shirts, which he imprints from his stock of almost 2,000 silk screen patterns. Not everything in the store is a Tennessee Outfitters product. He chooses merchandise such as belts, buckles, knives, historic prints and books that are consistent with the southern theme. Beer and wine making supplies attract repeat customers.
Davis is a man living his dream. A southern gentleman, he treasures his wife and his ancestry. When he speaks about southern history, issues that prompted the tragic Civil War, the symbolism of the Confederate flag and the contribution of Confederate Veterans to Moore County, he speaks from love and study of the subject.
If you would enjoy talking with him, or if you are just curious, Mike issues you a warm invitation: “Y’all come!”
By JUNE PUGH (Award-winning author June Pugh is a contributor to the Moore County News. Her ‘More about Moore’ column appears every other week. You may reach her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>)