At this time of year, my memory of Daddy goes back to what I learned from him when we lived in Abbeville, MS – ten miles north of Oxford, home of Ole Miss. Now, there are some true and useful things my father taught me that you might list at a funeral eulogy:
• A love for words
• Theological truths [He was a preacher, after all.]
• That girls are as capable, worthwhile, and essential as boys
• Grammar [He was more nit-picky about “who” and “whom” than any English teacher I ever had.]
But fall memory takes me to Saturday afternoons when Daddy and I sat at the dining table with the radio tuned to the Ole Miss football game, and he taught me to follow the action. Not only did he create a lifelong college football fan with a particular liking for Ole Miss, he made me almost as happy to hear a game as to see one. That came in handy recently.
I’ve been a die-hard Ole Miss Rebel through thick and thin, although never quite as thin as this year. I watch their games, no matter how bad it gets. Two weeks ago, as Mississippi State Bulldogs showed no mercy on the newly renamed Ole Miss black bears, I endured the first half. Never one to forsake my Rebels, I muted the sound for the second half so I could still see. But to improve my spirits, I brought my laptop in and tuned to the Baylor radio announcer to listen to the Baylor/Texas Tech game and heard the rout of the Red Raiders. I considered the absurdity that I was cheering for two sets of bears and wondered what Daddy would have thought about my getting a radio broadcast via computer.
This past Saturday was much better. TV carried University of Southern Mississippi’s Golden Eagles as they upset Houston, followed by the Baylor/Texas game. Mercifully, Ole Miss did not play. Our oldest Baylor son has convinced me that beating the Longhorns is the most important task of the Baylor Bears. He’s even launched a campaign to return a “Hex Tex” spell over the school, which may be working since this is two years in a row with a win over Texas.
The outcome of the game was not in serious question for long. Baylor has a Heisman quarterback candidate, Robert Griffin III [called “R G III” by the sportscasters, and sometimes just “III” by Baylor fans] with a great supporting cast in his teammates. I must admit I loved witnessing his long touchdown pass, seeing him connect to receivers with holes for making yardage, and watching him scramble ahead for first downs and touchdowns. [When comparing hearing vs. seeing, notice that I did use the qualifier almost.]
I’m looking forward to watching III play again on TV in the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 29, joined by two Baylor sons and the grandchildren they’ve indoctrinated. I’ll remember Daddy and hope that heaven has a little corner somewhere with an HDTV or a radio.