Posts Tagged With: Clemson

A Cold Day for Clemson Baseball in Rhode Island

A Cold Day for Clemson Baseball in Rhode Island (and an Excellent Day for Gamecock Basketball in New York City)

Yesterday, March 24, the fourth day of Spring, I drove to Kingston, Rhode Island, from New Canaan, Connecticut, to watch Clemson University play Boston College in baseball. Boston College’s home field was a mess, we were told, so the game was moved to the University of Rhode Island.

As a Clemson fan and a baseball fan, this was close enough for me, a two-hour drive, each direction. I took the day off and headed up I-95 to watch a 1 p.m. game. We were having a warm spell, about 39 degrees with a wind chill making it 30ish. I wore long underwear, a beautiful orange and white checked Clemson Tiger Paw shirt nobody ever saw, a pullover Clemson jacket, an L. L. Bean outer coat, a Scottish wool scarf with some orange in it, a Clemson baseball hat, a Clemson stocking cap, and some New England rated winter gloves. It was not enough.

The University of Rhode Island has 16,000 students compared to Clemson’s 21,000. The town of Kingston is much smaller than Clemson, however. You must drive on a sorry two-lane road to get there. Intended ironically, considering the size of the state, the campus theme was BIG, as in “Think Big.”

My buddy Larry Abernathy, who was Mayor of Clemson for 28 years, went with Clemson City Council members to other small towns (with major Universities) around the US to compare town and gown experiences. I’m glad he never wasted time in Kingston. Clemson does town-and-gown about as well possible, thanks to a good mayor and fine Clemson Presidents, especially R. C. Edwards, Jim Barker and Jim Clements.

The baseball game was scheduled for one p.m. but was mysteriously postponed for an hour because of weather. So I walked around the hilly Rhode Island campus to get in a three-mile walk. Much smaller campus than Clemson, but with a very traditional quadrangle and granite buildings. A few modern buildings. Nothing very exciting. Not very Big.

The baseball “stadium” was a joke, not Big, so I can’t imagine how bad the Boston College field must be to have the game transferred to Kingston. The smallest high schools in South Carolina have more seating. The field was green and nice enough, but one small set of movable aluminum stands was all that existed for the fans. A few brought their own folding chairs and the rest of us stood and walked around to stay warm.

When the sleet finally started (yes, you read that correctly) at 2 p.m., the umpires said, “Play ball,” and the game was on. Clemson is the better team, ranked number six in the nation right now. The collegiate national player of the year, Seth Beer, is an outfielder for Clemson. I met his parents who were there in the cold to cheer their son and Clemson. We had two runs after four batters. After two innings we had five runs. Final score was 8-2. Attendance was announced as 107 but that may have included both teams.

After the game, I found a beautiful, old, local bookstore and bought a couple of John D. MacDonald novels, then drove to the coast, just a few miles away, for some seafood. The bookstore owner had called ahead for me to make sure her favorite restaurant was open: Champlin’s. It was. This is a fish-camp, picnic-table type establishment, and, since March is off-season, I had the entire place to myself. I watched the fish and lobster boats return to the Galilee Port in Narragansett. I ordered fried oysters and fried scallops, more grease than I’ve had in six months. I paid for it on the two-hour drive home with a tummy that was desperately unhappy.

When I retuned to my apartment, my day ended with watching the University of South Carolina Gamecocks obliterate the Baylor Bears. It was a nice ending to a cold winter New England day.

Categories: Baseball, Holiday, Humor, South Carolina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Take My Breath Away

“The most completely lost of all days is that in which one has not laughed.” Nicolas Chamfort

Birthdays with a Zero in them are fine times for reflection. February 11, 2017, I turned 70.

I’ve enjoyed hundreds, thousands of moments that have taken my breath away. I’ve fallen in love and married. We’ve celebrated 44 anniversaries. I’ve watched the birth of two daughters. I baptized both of them.

I’ve been blessed to participate in the spiritual growth of many folks. I’ve helped alcoholics get sober. I’ve seen people whose lives were pure chaos find order, salvation and peace. I’ve watched rigid, self-righteous people discover grace. More importantly, I discovered grace for myself and for others.

In Mauritania, I got stuck in the Sahara Desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle. That might have taken my breath away but I found a small tent village and took a nap. You must have priorities!

I’ve watched Clemson win two National Championships in football. Exhilarating!

It’s a rush to hold a book you wrote that’s been published. I’ve had that privilege four times.

I survived two serious car wrecks, one with a fully loaded logging truck.

Sally and I were on a transatlantic flight when one of the plane’s engines blew. We heard it. No doubt about what had happened. Potentially breathtaking experience. Literally. When we landed, two dozen emergency vehicles followed our plane down the runway.

My two best friends died. Soul-crushing experiences. Even at their memorial services, we found ways to laugh.

I’ve listened to Ella Fitzgerald in concert. Magnificent.

I’ve seen Greg Maddux pitch. Incredible.

In Kenya, I’ve seen elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and ostriches in their natural habitat. Wow!

On Folly Beach, South Carolina, I watched loggerhead turtles bursting from their brittle eggshells and clawing their way across the sandy beach into the Atlantic Ocean. Awe-inspiring.

With my grandson, Lake, we peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon, then rafted on the Colorado River.

With my daughter, Julie, we watched whales and caught lobsters off the coast of Massachusetts. Incredible.

With my daughter, Jenna, my grandson Lake, and my wife Sally, we climbed to the top of Machu Picchu. Then, we hiked in the Amazon Rain Forest. Mindboggling experiences.

Two pieces of advice I got from Jerry and Jane Howington when I was a teenager: “Keep on keeping on” and “Hang in there.”

“I’m so excited. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” The Pointer Sisters

Categories: Baseball, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Football, Humor, South Carolina, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

One Month in Connecticut, December 2016—Survived!

South Carolina friends asked me to keep them posted on my second winter sojourn into the great Frozen Northland, otherwise known as New England. It snowed again last night, about an inch where I live in the woods of Wilton, Connecticut. It’s not supposed to get above freezing for a week, with a low temperature predicted to be 9 degrees.

Wilton Baptist Church is the reason I’m here. There were 75 worshipers on Christmas Eve and 25 Christmas morning. Average attendance seems to be 35-45. The church is fully organized and functioning with different folks responsible for flowers, the Lord’s Supper, children’s choir, Sunday school classes, and other typical church activities. I’m impressed.

But, it’s a church, and there are always surprises. The congregation cannot support a full-time pastor without being creative. They own a manse (parsonage) where I am living, and they have made the difficult decision to sell it to help underwrite their salary expenses for the next three years. Property here is high, so that will provide a half-million dollars income ($500,000). Since I have been here, volunteers have been working day and night to paint and prepare the house to be sold for top market value.

Yesterday, our fine part-time secretary/administrative assistant told me she has a new fulltime job requiring her resignation here. Phooey. We will be sorry to lose her. She is a faithful and good worker, and we will need to replace her. Churches don’t just run themselves. People behind the scenes make organizations work.

Last week, the first Sunday of the New Year, a family of four joined the church. I’m having dinner with them tonight to talk about their faith journey. This is the fun part of being a pastor.

My friends want to know what kind of foolishness I’m up to with regard to sightseeing and traveling around the area. Facebook is the easiest way to participate in my over-sharing! I post too much there, I’m sure, but I enjoy the humor and the sometimes-lively discussion.

Sally flew up for our 44th anniversary and Christmas. The truth is we ate, slept and churched our way through the four or five days she was here. Oh, and we went to the movies to see LaLa Land, which we both liked. I was glad the Wilton folks got to meet Sally and she got to meet them.

I drove over to Boston to visit with Julie and Tom for two days and watched the Clemson-Ohio State game with them. Since I was a nervous wreck, I’m not sure that was exactly fun. But we won, so I’m going back over on Monday to watch the National Championship Game. Go Tigers!

Finally, I went into New York City. Because of poor planning, I went two days in a row. I had a ticket to see The Great Comet of 1812, a musical about a portion of War and Peace. The very next day, I had a ticket to Front Page starring Nathan Lane and John Goodman. Best part of either trip was a long subway ride to The Cloisters, a recreated Romanesque and Gothic showcase for Great Art. Not on most “must see” lists, but it has been my favorite thing in New York City so far.

 

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Football, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Missing Fuzzy

Seven years ago today, May 3, 2009, my best friend died. Fuzzy Thompson and I were roommates at Clemson. We were roommates after Clemson. After Sally and I were married, he ate more meals at our house than I can count. He was in our wedding. I spoke at his funeral.

Fuzzy spent Christmases with my family and went on vacation with us. We lived on the same side of town in Columbia, South Carolina, where his Orange Volkswagen Beetle with the “Fuzzy” license plate was ubiquitous. He threw at least three Big Parties annually—one during the Christmas season, one for the Super Bowl, and an end-of-school outdoor extravaganza known as the Porch Party. We had our last Porch Party after Fuzzy’s funeral. Actually, it was an important aspect of Fuzzy’s funeral.

I keep thinking I will write something longer, something funnier, something more substantial about Fuzzy sooner or later, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m not sure why.

I’ve missed him even in New Hampshire. Memories there, too. He and I took a trip to New England one year at the peak of the fall leaf season. Sally taught school and didn’t take time off for all the destinations I wanted to see. So Fuzzy and I traveled together. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the beauty of the colorful mountainsides, then we’d argue about directions—turn right or left?

Fuzzy would have enjoyed many of my New England experiences this winter—especially the fine dining. Of course, he would have complained endlessly about other things. That, too, was part of his charm.

We traveled lots of miles together, literally and figuratively. Fuzzy went with my family to England, Scotland, and Wales one summer. We stayed six weeks, driving from London to Yorkshire to the Isle of Mull in Scotland and back again. When I wasn’t getting on Fuzzy’s nerves, my daughters were. Once, we stopped at a small museum in Wales and Fuzzy didn’t come inside with us. When we got back to the car, we realized we had locked him in. Apparently you can do that in English vehicles.

Sally and I celebrated her 40th birthday in Paris. Fuzzy was, of course, with us.

Fuzzy spent Christmases at the Aldridge’s for over thirty years. As a bachelor, he felt the need to cut some of the apron strings from his mother in Manning, South Carolina, so he started coming to our home in Batesburg on Christmas Eve. He helped me assemble play kitchens and bicycles and a hundred other toys for Jenna and Julie.

Together, Fuzzy and I went to the Holy Land, to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, and a whole bundle of Clemson football games. We went to a John D. MacDonald/Travis McGee conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We chaperoned teenagers at a Young Life Camp in Colorado. Different events had different configurations. Ted Godfrey, Marty Kearse, Fuzzy and I shared season tickets to Clemson football games for over thirty years. The Wrights, the Shepherds, the Snellings, and other regulars tailgated with us in Tiger Town. Larry Abernathy, Fuzzy, and I took a baseball trip to the Northeast, seeing games in Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Camden Yards.

Not enough experiences. Not enough memories. Fuzzy died too young—at age 60. I still miss him, even in New Hampshire.

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Football, Holiday, South Carolina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tonight’s Big Game

This is how sports fans think. (By the way, neither Jesus nor Buddha approved this message.)

Since Clemson plays Alabama tonight for the National Championship, I am in Big Game mode. Though I am not a superstitious person, I have certain clothes I have worn on each Game Day this season and we have a 14-0 record. Why take a chance? The socks are covered in tiger paws and the underwear is orange. The clothes, unlike those of seriously superstitious folks, are clean.

I traveled to Framingham, Massachusetts, to watch the game with my daughter Julie and my son-in-law Tom. This event is not to be watched alone in New Hampshire.

This morning, as always, I took a walk. As usual, I found money. Since I haven’t walked on these roads and in these parking lots in a while, the pickings were plentiful. Pennies here and there. A nickel. A couple of dimes.

28 cents, then,

33 cents, then, I began thinking like a sports fan. What if Clemson scored a point for every cent I found?

33 points? Not sure that was enough, I kept walking. 34, 35, 36 cents. 37, 38.

Ordinarily I love finding quarters and five-dollar bills. But I thought such gaudy numbers might invalidate my thesis.

Then I saw a dime. Perfect. 48 cents, 48 points. Sounds like enough to beat even Alabama.

That, for you sad souls who don’t follow sports, is how sports fans think!

Categories: Family, Football, Holiday, Humor, South Carolina, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The National Championship Game–January 1, 1982

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One of the great trips of my life was to Miami, Florida, with my friend Fuzzy Thompson, to watch Clemson play in and win the National Football Championship on January 1, 1982.

 I’ve traveled to a lot of “away” games to watch the Clemson Tigers play.  Victories “on the road” are always fun.  But, for me, no sporting event ever came close to competing with the 1982 Orange Bowl.  I don’t know what the opposite of the “perfect storm” is, but that’s what we experienced.

 Every component of the sojourn fell together perfectly, as had the entire season.   A team has to be very good and very lucky to win a National Championship.  The ball literally has to bounce the right way.  To climb into the Top Twenty and then into the Top Ten requires events to happen over which your school has no control.  Other teams have to lose.  During the 1981 season, it all came together for the Clemson Tigers.  The year before, our record was 6-5 under still-new head coach Danny Ford.  Losing even to Duke, Clemson had been 2-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.  Nobody predicted a turn toward excellence for the next season.  When Clemson squeaked by Tulane, 13-5, in their second game in the fall of 1981, it looked like another mediocre season. 

 A victory over number four-ranked Georgia made people notice and Clemson vaulted to number 13 in the nation.  The rest, as folks say, is history, well-documented and beautiful memories for Tiger fans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Clemson_Tigers_football_team

 When our bowl destination was announced, the Orange Bowl in Miami, my buddy Fuzzy and I decided to go.  We bought a “package” that included bus tickets, two nights at a motel in Ft. Lauderdale, and game tickets.  We got plenty of $2 bills from the bank since these are the signatures of Clemson fans at a bowl game.

Not planning very shrewdly, decades before cell phones, we did not think of connecting with other friends until we arrived in south Florida.  We did not know where any of our buddies were staying.  One of our fraternity brothers was an aide to Senator Strom Thurmond, so we called the Senator’s office in Washington, and found out which hotel was hosting the official delegation.  We called that hotel and asked for our friend and were connected.  We made plans to get to his hotel after the Orange Bowl Parade, which is a Huge Deal in its own right.

Our tour bus took us to the Orange Bowl Parade where we bought two tickets from scalpers to watch the procession of decorated floats.  We sat next to a Nebraska assistant coach and his family, some of the nicest folks you would ever want to meet.

Just as happened with our football team, the pieces were falling together miraculously. 

We found the hotel, the Four Seasons, if I remember correctly, and we found our friend and his wife:  John and Lynne Steer.  He managed to get us into the “official” Clemson party, attended by every important person in the pantheon of Clemson dignitaries, the University President and the Deans, Senators Thurmond and Hollings, the Governor, all living former Governors.  Lots of food, open bar, dancing.  Fuzzy, a confirmed bachelor and a disco king of the 1970s, was the star of the dance floor.

When the doors finally closed, it was too late and there was no ride to get us back to our Ft. Lauderdale motel, so we just crashed with John and Lynne.  It was the largest hotel room I had ever seen.

 The next morning, after breakfast, we wandered to the area where the Clemson cheerleaders and pep band were holding a pep rally.  A skywriting airplane even spelled out, “Go Tigers.” 

We were having the time of our lives and game-time was still about eight hours away. 

 John had his car in Miami, so he took us back to our motel in Ft. Lauderdale where we shaved, showered and prepared for the game.  We were on the tour bus when it left for the Orange Bowl.  Leave the driving to them! 

 Our seats were in the end zone and we were rowdy.  I remember halfway through the game, when the Clemson fans had not been seated for a single play, a Miami native hollered, “Down in front.”  He had to be kidding.  He may have been watching a football game but we were immersed in a major life experience.

 And so it was.  We won the game 22-15 and every play was important.  The victory was one of the most exhilarating events of my life.  Pure, unfettered joy. 

 While not as important as our wedding or the birth of our daughters or our grandson, the impact of this Orange Bowl win resulting in a national football championship, turned out to be a watershed event in my life.   I know that “in the great scheme of things” a sports contest should not be that important, especially to those of us who did not even play in the game.   

 Still, something indescribable occasionally happens that has weight beyond its rational importance.  Something cathartic transpires.  We are touched in the very depths of our soul.  I won’t try to defend it.  I guess that’s why people say, “You had to be there.”  I was there, along with my friend Fuzzy.  If I were in church, I’d be singing, “Glory! Hallelujah!”

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Categories: Football, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Fabric of Life

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 Life is woven from threads of different color (I like orange) and different strength (faith, family and friends tend to be dominant in any tapestry I produce).

 Life is not as simple as “Put God first” or “I’m a family man.”  Life has many shades and hues and the very nature of artistic weaving means that one pattern may dominate for a while and another takes center stage a few years later.

 The threads of my life tend to be very long.  I am a loyal kind of guy.  I have been married to Sally for forty-plus years.  My two friends who stood up with me at our wedding remained my best friends until their too-early deaths.  I stuck with jobs.  I even stick with the same car brands.  I bought five straight Nissan Maximas and I am now on my third consecutive Volkswagen Passat. 

 In high school, I won the Most School Spirit “Senior Superlative” and at Clemson, I was chair of the Central Spirit Committee.  I remain a loyal Clemson alum.  When I commit to something, I hang in there.  I tend keep on keeping on.

 About 20 years ago, I began walking two miles every day.  I still do.  When I discover and like an author, whether it is John D. MacDonald, Lee Child or Dorothy Sayers, I will read every book that person wrote.

 When I was a kid, I loved baseball.  After a lapse of twenty or thirty years, I returned to the game I enjoyed as a child.

 All of this is to say that my life and our lives consist of dozens, hundreds of strings of influences—from gardening to cooking to favorite television shows, to music about which we are passionate to our most desirable vacation destinations (Beach?  Mountains? Grandma’s house?) to our preferred section of the newspaper.  Sally does Sudoku and I read the sports page.  Each of us is different.  What you and I weave might look very distinctive, but that’s what makes life interesting. 

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Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Football, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tailgating with the Four Fathers

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Chicken strips from a Wife Saver restaurant in Augusta, Georgia, honey mustard sauce, deviled eggs, cheese straws, three-bean salad, Kahlua cake and chocolate chip cookies were some of the standard pregame fare for the Four Fathers during football season at Clemson.

http://wifesaverrestaurants.com

Ted Godfrey, one of the Four, co-owns and runs one of the Wife-Saver franchises.  Ted always made sure we eat well.  Some weeks he brought shrimp.  Ted also contributed two daughters, Mandy and Amy to the rug rats that were always under our feet.

One week, when Rick Barnes, then our Clemson men’s basketball coach, stopped by, we were having lobster.  Jim Davis, the coach of the Clemson Lady Tigers joined us on many Saturdays.

Marty Kearse was the three-bean salad guy, and usually provided the vehicle big enough for us to carry two tents, tables, chairs and the rest of the food from the Columbia contingent.  Marty has two sons, Stacy and Stewart.

Fuzzy Thompson was the bachelor and the backbone of the Four Fathers.  Fuzzy was the moving force behind the tailgating experience for our ever-growing group.  We could not get to a game early enough to satisfy Fuzzy.  Many mornings we left Columbia, South Carolina, at 5:45 a.m. to get to Death Valley in Clemson about 8:30 or 9 a.m.  Our routine varied some, depending on which kids or guests were going, but our rut was pretty deep.  I would pick up Fuzz in Melrose Heights, then we would drive to Irmo and either pick up Marty or get in Marty’s vehicle.  We would drive to Pendleton, where we would meet Ted and his Augusta crew.  Then we would drive bumper to bumper into our reserved parking lot at Clemson so we could park our two vehicles next to one another.  We did not give enough money to have two numbered spaces, so this was the arrangement that worked for us.

I was the fourth Father with my two girls traveling to Clemson with us whenever they wanted to.  Sally only rarely goes to a game, but she went when our seats were on the next-to-top row in the upper deck of the South stands.  She was about eight months pregnant with Jenna.  Yikes!  When we tailgated, I would usually bring sweets and relishes as my contribution to the tailgate experience. 

The first year I joined IPTAY (I Pay Ten A Year) was 1978.  After a year or two, Fuzzy joined with me, and then, thinking we could get better seats if we gave more money, we asked Ted and Marty (we were all fraternity brothers in college) to join us.  You can’t join as a group any longer, but we were grandfathered in.  The Four Fathers paid our dues and attended games together for a bunch of years.  We raised our kids in the Fike Field House parking lot.  Depending on the year, we had 8-10 tickets between us.

Though I have never been a beer drinker, lots of beer was consumed.  My role was designated driver before we knew the term. 

Somewhere along the line I began smoking cigars and Randy and Diana Wright began to join us as part of the regular crew. 

Larry Abernathy, the Mayor of Clemson for 28 years, was part of our group.  On Fuzzy’s 40th birthday, while we were tailgating, Larry gave Fuzzy a Key to the City of Clemson in an impressive ceremony.  

 Listing everyone who tailgated with us is impossible.  Some Saturdays we would have 20-30 people eating at our tables with their orange tablecloths.  We would take a picture or two of our group every year and the configuration was always different.

When Fuzzy died a few years ago, the life went out of the party.  We hung on for a while, but eventually gave up our IPTAY membership and our season tickets.  We make the pilgrimage to a game or two each year.  Our kids are scattered all over the Eastern seaboard, but sometimes we manage to get a group of us together. 

Some folks who have never enjoyed the tailgating experience don’t understand the appeal.  But on a Saturday in the fall in the Northwest corner of South Carolina, over 80,000 people partake in a picnic like no other. 

 Pass the chicken, please.

PS:  This morning’s newspaper said Clemson was once again voted by Southern Living as the best tailgating venue in the South.

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Categories: Family, Football, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Travel and Football: The Trip from the Clemson Locker Room to Frank Howard Field

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“Running down the hill” at Clemson University was part of my weekly routine during the falls of 1965 and 1966.  I was a student trainer for the Clemson University football team, and our locker room and training facilities were at the top of a hill.   The stadium was built in a traditional “Bowl” configuration.  Many of the students sat on the bank of the hill by choice.  When the stadium was not sold out, the slope where the students gathered was a playful place.  When tickets were at a premium, the hill was used for the overflow from the stands. 

 One of the giant textile firms that populated the upstate of South Carolina in those days donated a carpet that ran down the center of the hillside.  It was very natural for the football team to gather at the top of the carpet after walking over from Fike Field House when they dressed for the game.  When a cannon sounded (Clemson’s history includes being a military school), the team ran down the carpet (which was purple rather than red or orange, if my memory is correct).  At the foot of the hill, they were met and led toward the sideline by cheerleaders and flag-wavers and a lot of noise from the fans.

When the locker room moved into the stadium, at the opposite end of the field from the hill, the tradition of running down the hill before the game had been embedded.  By then, Frank Howard had placed a rock from the real California “Death Valley” at the top of the hill and challenged each player to rub it as a sign of commitment to play at their best.  Nowadays, the players board buses to be taken from the locker room around the stadium, then to the top of the hill.

For football fans, the experience is high drama.  According to football analyst Brent Musburger, this is “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.”

Musburger made that claim in 1985 about Clemson’s tradition of rubbing Howard’s Rock, then running down the hill before home football games.  The process, depending on when you begin timing it, actually takes from one to six minutes.  It is hard to imagine a more exhilarating start to any football game.  It’s not a long trip, but it is one of my favorites:

The short version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KApU_lRPPpM

The long (better) version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbvtdXHXaLU

Categories: Football, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time Travel: Have a Garage Sale!

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Occasionally, we travel in time. 

Sally and I had a yard sale.  De-clutter.  Make a bit of spending money.  We anticipated those two outcomes.

I dreaded the work involved in preparing.  Hours in the attic and in closets.  Hauling stuff from here to there.  Backache.  Sweat.  Decisions about what to get rid of and what to keep.  Arguing about value.  I hate selling things for one dollar or less that cost $30-$50.  Dread.  All that negative gunk happened just as I expected. 

What surprised me were the happy moments.  A garage sale offers opportunities for reflection.  Time Travel to the past. 

We sold the iron pot in which I had fried thousands of bream, bass and catfish.  I haven’t used it in a decade.  The rusty old bucket needed to go, but I enjoyed good memories as I toted it to the garage.

We called each of our daughters for permission before getting rid of anything they might want us to keep.  Just picking up Julie’s Rainbow Brite dance costume made me smile.  It could rot and we would still keep it.  Jenna wanted to be sure I was not selling the good baseball cards she had bought me as a gift.  Greg Maddux is safe, Jenna.

Hats worn at costume parties.

Orange drink cups from Clemson football games. 

Time Travel to the past.

Time Travel to the future, also.  We sold six dining room chairs to a young family expecting their second child.  Good stuff.  Her grandkids can sit in those chairs.

Don’t tell our other customers, but we gave one of Julie’s dance costumes to our neighbor so she could play dress up.  The future came pretty quickly, because the paparazzi have already spotted her sporting her new glam clothes. (See accompanying photo!)

A lot of folks who come to garage sales are boring, buying collectibles to sell on eBay or at their own flea markets.  That’s fine, but there’s no joy in having someone scrutinize a David Winter Cottage to see if there is a flaw. 

It’s much more fun to see a high school kid get excited about buying a cup with a Happy Face for a quarter. 

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