Ramblin’ 8/2/16

I went to the dentist, today, for my regular cleaning, x-rays, etc. All is well. It really helps when you have a hygienist that is gentle, swift, and conversant. Her name is Leah, which is my daughter’s name. Actually, a pleasant visit. But, my guess is everyone has hellish dentist stories, as do I.

I’m listening to an old Willie Nelson album on Apple Music. 1967 old. ‘The Party’s Over And Other Great Willie Nelson Songs.’ Amen.

Fall camp begins on The Plains TODAY! Hot diggity dank! Column to follow on Thursday.

Back to Willie. He did a duet with Tracy Nelson, no relation, many, many moons ago. After the Fire is Gone. Conway and Loretta did it as did many others. Spend the .99 and get it. Killer!

The Party’s Over always makes me think of Dandy Don Meredith and Monday Night Football. Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, may they rest in peace. Such great stuff. Howard introduced many of us to the term “plethora.” As in, “A Plethora of wide receivers.”

Was Rush Limbaugh actually on MNF a few years back or was that just a nightmare? I didn’t watch it for  years. Didn’t watch much in the way of pro sports for quite some time. My NFL now consist of the Panthers, some Falcons, and the playoffs.

Cosell’s autobiography is quite good.

We’ve been watching Fargo, the FX series, for the past three nights. I absolutely loved the movie, but I love most anything the Coen brothers do. Billy Bob Thornton is great in the TV series.

Billy Bob is from Malvern, AR. Arkansas was in my territory, from ’93-’96, when I was working for AAA. Malvern had one motel, The Trout Motel. One of those old ‘mom and pop’ motor courts. It was clean. I love those old motels, particularly along old Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona.

Now it’s chains. Everything is a chain. Food, beverage, drugs, retail, blah blah blah. We used to go to Liddell’s, Wetherbee’s, Joe C. Williams, Matthews Hardware, Albritton Drugs, Ratcliffe’s, et al, in Camden, AL. Same in Selma, often on Thursday afternoons  when Camden was shut down, or Saturdays. There was Lilienthal’s, Jackson’s, Brown Drugstore, Swift Drugstore, The Toy Arcade, and the Selma Del restaurant, among others.

Now ‘The Best of the British Invasion’ on Apple music… ‘She Loves You’ up first!

Anyway… chains. I try to avoid chain restaurants, unless it’s a rare “cheat” meal at a fast food place. It’s tough to avoid Target or Walmart. I’ll start with Goodwill first.

One chain I did love going to was Howard Johnson’s in Montgomery on the south side of town. I always ordered a ‘grilled frankfurter on a toasted bun,’ and either Swiss Chocolate Almond or Pistachio ice cream. Pistachio seemed so exotic. Went to the Paramount and Empire movie theaters up in the Capital City.

Hey! We had not one but TWO movie theaters in Camden, AL! The Alco and The Baggett. We’d stay all day on Saturdays usually watching either ‘cowboy’ or ‘scary’ movies.

Once I went to see ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’ with Rich Jones (RIP, brother) one afternoon at the Alco. In one scene, the girl who transformed into Frankenstein’s daughter was sitting at a vanity and all of a sudden the camera zoomed in as she turned around, fully transformed. I fried like an egg,  jumped from my seat, and hauled butt to the concession area, screaming all the way. Rich came up there, got me, and talked me into going back in. He assured me the worst was over. I remain terrified at the thought.

And, oh! It was the ‘picture show’ and not the movies or the theater. Also it was ‘funny papers’ instead comics.

Something else just occurred to me, we, occasionally had a magician or some other type of live entertainment at the ‘picture show,’ if I’m remembering correctly. And the concessions were a pittance, as was the price of admission. A quarter for me to get in until I was twelve and then it went to fifty cents. A dime would do for your snacks. If you had a quarter you were in high cotton.

Wow! Today took a nostalgic turn. I’ll leave you with ‘The Game of Love’ playing in the background. Can anyone name the artist without cheating?

Ok… you can cheat now.

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ramblin’

This is my first Ramblin’. A shout out goes to my old buddy, Meg Tatom. Yesterday I finally promoted this site on Facebook and Meg said she looked forward to reading my ramblings. The descriptor for Bird’s Banter reads thusly, “A potpourri of ramblings, stories, musings and opinions.” The problem is, there were none, officially. My blogs contain all of the above, but none were dedicated to ramblin’.

So, let’s ramble. 

The song that is currently playing on my iTunes is Willie and Hag’s “It’s All Going to Pot.” It is. The world is, at least. But not the kind Willie and Merle are singing about. That might not be so bad.

I became addicted to Buffalo wings back in the mid-eighties in Upstate New York. The Hudson Valley. Albany and environs. Melodye, or Paul as you may know her, might have it worse than I do. Anyway, our favorite place to get said wings was at Skipper’s Tavern in downtown Albany. It was not in the nicest part of town. No matter. It was THE place to feed one’s jonesin’ for wings. Mild, medium, hot, or death. We liked ’em hot. I’m sweating under my eyes thinking about them. Skipper’s is closed. Burned down. Gone. Sigh.

Speaking of pot, it ought to be legal. Of course, Big Pharm and Monsanto would screw that up like everything else.

How’s your mommer ‘n ‘nem? Don’t y’all just love that interrogative phrase?

BTW, I hope all of y’all’s mommers are well. If you mommer is gone, I’m sorry to hear that.

“Slap the dog and spit in the fire!” I heard Naomi Judd utter this euphemism many years ago. Do any of y’all know how she’s doing?

South Carolina plays at Vanderbilt the first Thursday night SEC game on September 1. Tick tick tick.

“Long Way Down”, by the SteelDrivers is now playing on my shuffle. Apple Music created this Americana setlist for  me. I really like it. It features Brandi Carlile, Dwight Yoakam, Sam Outlaw, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Banditos, among many others. I’m in my three month free trial with Apple Music. I like it. Still haven’t decided if I’ll keep it and pay the $9.99 per month. It ain’t much, but when you add in Netflix (streaming and DVD), the Xfinity starter package (with a sports channels extra), etc., it all adds up for a po’ boy on a fixed income.

Back to ‘tick tick tick’. Frasier Crane responded with that line, on Cheers, to no one in particular after Woody said he never talked about his problems. He just stuck them away somewhere and tried to forget them. “Tick tick tick.”

It’s now thundering outside. Could it be thundering inside? The dogs are tick tacking all over the house with no lap to sit in. Uh oh.

*GOT SPOILER ALERT*

Me and Paul just finished season six of Game of Thrones a couple of nights ago. WhoooWeee! I was so happy to see Ramsay Bolton (who let the dogs out?) and Walder Fry (give ’em hell, Arya!) get theirs. WDE!!! I just wish Cersai Lanister would get hers.  GOOOOOOOO Daenerys! And how about Jon Snow turning out to be a “true” Snow?

I do enjoy binge watching these TV, Netflix, Amazon series! Some favorites are House of Cards, The Fall, The Killing, Wallander, Broadchurch, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Happy Valley, Luther, Longmire, Rectify, Damages, Boss, Bloodline, and Last Tango in Halifax.

If you’ve never used The Message translation of the Bible, you should. It is self-described as ‘The Bible in Contemporary Language’.

And with that, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (And HURRY!)

Grace and Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auburn: Road Trips, Part One – Austin

Road Trip! We’ve all been there. Whether it’s impromptu or somewhere in the more distant future when further planning is required, road trips are fun, a lot of fun.

Seeing as how spring football practice is in full swing, Auburn will have their first ‘for real’ scrimmage Saturday, our thoughts may be turning to the upcoming 2016 regular season and planning for any road trips we might take this fall.

The only visit to an opponent’s venue for the LeCroy’s, this autumn, will be Oxford, Mississippi for a game with the Ole Miss Rebels. This will be our ninth Auburn versus Ole Miss road test and one of those, 1990, was in Jackson. Auburn, as did many other SEC schools, used to play both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in Jackson’s Memorial Stadium. The facility held more people and was better suited for large crowds than either Starkville (Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium) or Oxford (Davis Wade Stadium). That has changed. The two rivalries are now played on the school’s campuses and have since 1992 when Auburn went into Oxford and got pummeled by the Black Bears, uhhhh Rebels.

It was my son, Luke, and I who attended that ’92 game as it was in 1990, ’96, ’98 and 2000. The remainder of the Ole Miss games were me and Paul (my nickname for my wife, Melodye) except for one. Her moniker stems from the Willie Nelson tune, Me and Paul.

Another note before we move on. Since 2002 our trips to Ole Miss games have landed us in Memphis and we commute to Oxford. Ah yes! The land of BBQ and blues, Elvis, Stax and Sun Records.

Ok, road trips. All this talk caused me to reflect on these excursions and I began to question myself as to which trips have been my favorites. Well, that’s tough because so many of them have been quite memorable. I tried to narrow it down to my three most enjoyable.

And here we go! In chronological order and this does not include bowl games. We’ve been down that road.

Texas 1991

We were living in Sumner County, Tennessee at the time and Austin was over 900 miles from our home which was about twenty minutes from NashVegas. It was, approximately, a fourteen-hour drive.

This was one of those father and son trips.

Luke and I left Tennessee on a Thursday night after school and work. We spent the night in West Memphis, Arkansas and West Memphis is not an overly desirable destination for travelers. Suffice it to say we were out of there early and headed for the Lone Star State. We ate lunch at a KFC and Luke squirted hot sauce, from one of those plastic packets you tear open, in his eye. So sorry, buddy. We did the best we could to flush his eye out and we pressed on down I-35 south which would take us on in to the state capital of Texas.

Just north of Waco lies the sleepy little community of Abbot, TX. Does anybody know the significance of Abbott? Raise your hands! I don’t see any hands so I’ll fill you in. It’s the place where the aforementioned Willie Nelson was raised by his grandparents. Abbott has a population of around three-hundred. Not a great deal to see there, but if you are a huge Willie fan, which I obviously am, then it warrants a run through.

Somewhere between Waco and Austin we began to see advertisements for what appeared to be an interesting little place. The key to getting us off the road and into their establishment was homemade beef jerky. I don’t remember the name of the place but I do remember sitting on their front porch with my, then, thirteen-year-old son and gnawing on the best jerky I had ever eaten. It was a warm and windy afternoon there among the mesquite and Texas live oaks. It also was one of those special times you look back on wistfully as a tear forms in your eye.

We finally arrived at the DoubleTree Hotel on the north side of Austin in the very late afternoon. If you’ve never been to Austin, and you should make a point to go there, everything is accessed by frontage roads. I blew by the DoubleTree, on first take, and had to navigate the frontage road on the east side of I-35, but we did it without much of a struggle.

As Luke and I stood there, waiting to check-in, we noticed some very large young men garbed in Texas Longhorn warm-up suits. It turns out that the Texas football team was lodging at the same hotel as we were. Well how about that? David McWilliams was the Longhorn coach in ’91. I spotted him, cigar in tow, as he exited his ride which dropped him off in the portico in front of the hotel.

My heart began to beat a bit more rapidly. Big time intersectional college football was only about twenty-four hours away. War Damn Eagle!

Pappdeaux Seafood Kitchen was next door to the hotel. Neither of us had ever eaten at one. The hotel staff gave it a strong recommendation and we had dessert there that evening after some BBQ brisket at The County Line restaurant. We went back to Pappadeaux’s the following night after the ball game. Great recommendation DoubleTree staff!

Saturday! It’s now countdown to kickoff!

After coffee and pastries, it’s off on a driving tour of the metro area, the mall, and some Tex-Mex fare. There were some really brightly-colored, interesting low rider trucks at the mall. The food was good and the ride around the outskirts of the city was a most pleasant one. We ran into some fellow Auburn fans at the Tex-Mex restaurant and one of them stated that he would become a Texas fan if he wasn’t committed to the Tigers. The hospitality was excellent out there.

Before long it was time to get back to the hotel for some “tailgating” at the outdoors bar and then catch a shuttle to Texas Memorial Stadium.

Fifteenth-ranked Auburn brought a 2-0 record into the game against a Texas team that was 0-1. A sellout crowd of 77,809 was in attendance and the game was televised by ESPN. Luke and I were seated with the Auburn contingent in the north end zone. We were set back a back a ways from the field as there was a large track that circled the artificial surface.

One of the highlights of the weekend was when the Texas fans and players stood and sang “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You”. Chills, even today. Wow! To say we were primed for the kickoff would be an understatement.

Auburn took the opening kickoff and almost ran it back all the way. Stan White hit Victor Hall on a 25-yard touchdown pass and the Tigers were up 7-0 with only 49 seconds elapsed on the clock. Corey Barlow returned a pass interception for a touchdown with 3:07 still remaining in the first quarter and AU fans were giddy. Unfortunately, that would be all the points the Tigers would score that evening. Fortunately, they hung on with some great defense, and won the game, 14-10.

The play that sticks out most to me was an absolutely brutal hit Auburn defensive back Fred Smith put on one of the Longhorns. Mercy!

Auburn was ranked number 13 after the game. They went to Knoxville the next week and were beaten by the Tennessee Vols, 30-21. It was the first of six losses and their nine-year steak of winning seasons came to a close. It was a disappointing year.

The one thing that stays with me from that night in Knoxville was a drunk Tennessee coed making a point to walk up to our post-game tailgate and telling a tired old joke. “What did the Auburn graduate say to the Tennessee graduate? Do you want fries with that?” The wound was quite fresh and I was not able to hold my tongue. I won’t repeat here what I said but I remain embarrassed by it to this day. Moral of the story? Watch your tongue. What’s said is said. You cannot take it back. Sigh.

Well folks, that is it for part one of this three-part series on road trips. Next up, in April, we’ll take a spin to Baton Rouge and the Auburn-LSU game of 1997.