November 25, 2017

My undergraduate degree is from Stamford which, from time-to-time, is a college football power.

I admit that I have no current knowledge as to the Cardinal’s record or prospects.  But tonight when John and I were cleaning up the kitchen and Molly hollered, “Alabama and Auburn are still playing,” everything stopped so we could watch Auburn defeat Alabama on a miraculous “jump pass” and uncharacteristic Tide fumbles.

The only college football I ever watch on TV involves the Crimson Tide.  That’s because John and I were residents of Demopolis, AL for six weeks in 2012 during our Great Loop trip due to a simple engine problem that took a long time to diagnose and fix.

We went to the Alabama State Barbecue Championship.  We went to the downtown Christmas parade featuring southern belles in crinolines and black hip-hop marching bands at least sharing the same streets.  We spent time with the Demopolites instead of just passing through.  And we  learned that nothing on earth is more important than college football — Crimson Tide football.

But some things about Alabama made us nervous.  In casual conversation, people would threaten our President Barack Obama with violence that I would never wish on our President Donald Trump, not my favorite politician.  More than a few Alabamans seemed to feel that the other 49 states of the Union were bearing down on them trying to enforce change that they didn’t want.  It seemed to us that the way things were going some change wouldn’t hurt, but as Yankee foreigners we couldn’t really say anything.

Then came the night of the Parade of Floats on the Tombigbee River.  Our marina friends arranged for us to watch from a tow boat at the gas dock, so we could see all up and down the river.  There were thousands of people and RV’s and campers and tents lining the shores.  The barges lit with elaborate Christmas scenes were to come down river just after dusk, but that passed, and then it was totally dark and getting late and the spectators wondered just when the spectacle would begin.

But then the public address system announced the reason for the delay — the Alabama-Auburn game was still being played.  Auburn was winning, so Christmas would have to wait!  Immediately every radio, TV and cell phone was turned on at full volume and you could hear the play-by-play up and down the river.  Alabama pulled ahead to win, the fans roared, and the incredible floats came majestically downstream.

There was a true feeling of hope and fellowship and joy in the air that night.  John and I didn’t feel so much like foreigners.  It was one of the highlights of our trip.

But even in this holiday season, marked by another Alabama-Auburn game, I am pulled back to reality:  Is the Alabama that figures so prominently in my memory the Alabama of Christmas on the River or the Alabama of Judge Roy Moore?  We shall soon see.



3 comments on “Alabama-Auburn

  1. davidcalloway
    November 26, 2017 at 12:29 am #

    I would expect that our world views are more similar than they are different, and I too hope that we, all Americans, can place truth above dishonor, compromise above conflict, and country above party.


  2. Daniel Swords
    November 26, 2017 at 8:28 am #

    Thank you for writing this.


  3. memsahibsvoyage
    November 26, 2017 at 9:00 am #

    Well said, Dave. I would note that a huge majority of the adults we met in Alabama were military veterans. Service to country isn’t a bad foundation for realizing the hopes you express.


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