SWEET HOME ALABAMA

Alabama loves football. No, I mean Alabama LOVES football. There are two major college football teams here, Auburn and Alabama. Forget the rest. Those two are the only ones that count. In fact forget ALL the other teams in the SEC. They don’t count. God help a Tennessee fan if he shows up wearing their orange cap with the big T.

Here in northwest Alabama, Crimson Tide fans dominate. How can I tell? First, the gear that identifies their loyalty. Hats, sweaters, t-shirts, jackets, pants, shirts, shoes, wallets, bookbags, knapsacks, purses, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, sunglasses, hair bands, painted nails, socks, underwear, whatever. The legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant wore a houndstooth hat as well as a red jacket. Let me tell you, a little houndstooth goes a long way.

Second, the vehicles they drive, all Alabama red, of course. Vans, sedans, sports cars, Smart cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, camper trailers, motor homes, and airplanes. Believe me, if you can say it, it’s been done. There’s also the license plates and frames, decals, flags. I did see a minivan painted in houndstooth. Yep, it was awful.

Third, by the names they’ve chosen for their children. You can’t count the kids named after Paul Bryant. Some are even named Bear. No, don’t feel sorry for the kids They’ll be ok…as long as they don’t leave Alabama. Countless, too, are the kids named after football players themselves. Remember Joe Namath who went on to the New York Jets after playing for Bear Bryant? Yep, you guessed it. Names, lots of names. We don’t sell many naming books here for parents-to-be. No need, we’ve got Alabama football.

What about “crimson tide” as a name? I don’t know of anyone using that as a name, but, hey, this is Alabama, I’m sure it’s happened. Crimson Tide Smith. It has a ring to it.

My wife Joy knows someone who named their boy Tide and their daughter Crimson. They’re not twins, either. Tide is about fifteen months old and Crimson is only six weeks old. Their dad and the kids all have red hair and the diaper bag is a large one, of course, and it’s houndstooth. Of course. That took strategic planning as well as religious madness…er…fervor.

It could be worse, I guess. No doubt some kids were named after coaches who were later fired for not winning. Some of those coaches are coaching other SEC teams. Perish the thought. They’ll survive. The coaches I mean.

Personally, I do not watch much football. I am aware of when there’s a big game at Alabama’s Legion Field. You can’t book a hotel room within a hundred miles, maybe more, and everyone puts on their colors and there’s a lot of honking and waving between the decked out cars and trucks.

All this makes it hard to ignore the game. Wherever I go I can hear the announcers. The TV set at my barber’s shop is on every televised Alabama game, as are the restaurant and sports bar TVs in the area. I try to ignore them all, though. I’m just never sure who they’re playing or where or what inning they are in.

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG. IS THAT A QUESTION?

I read many blogs, actually a whole lot of blogs. Whenever I find a blog that piques my interest I always look to see the blogs they’re reading and check them out. My cup runneth over with blogs.

Because I read so many I’ve become more selective. Some I read the first week of the month, others the next week and still others the week after. Some, of course, several times a week, there are bloggers that prolific. I will eventually get to where I have too many blogs to read and when I reach that point I’ll become even more selective and pare them down. Need I say I like to read blogs?

The question is why? What is it that draws me to reading what others are saying and doing?

Nosy. That’s what my mother always said when she found me curled up with a book. “You read all the time. You’re just too nosy.” She was right, I was. And still am.

She passed away sometime ago, but I remember her as my enabler. I can’t ever remember being without books when I was young and unable to buy them myself. She provided. I read all of them regardless of subject or theme.

The point is, I am nosy. I want to learn what other people are doing with their lives. It’s vicarious thrill-seeking. Some bloggers I read are living in campers and vans and they live it fulltime. Others are circumventing the world on motorcycles and bicycles and one guy is walking it. A family with smallish kids are riding bicycles all over this creation. It’s exciting.

Others are on different quests with their own observations on life in the big cities while others tell me about their lives on their farm in the country. Some raise exotic animals and some not so exotic but just as interesting. I love photos of baby animals, just born and full of life. Shame on us for eating them.

There are others who are on distant lands preaching their gospels and others who are just trying to help others and finding that in giving of themselves they reap huge rewards. I envy them.

Others blog about their trials and others their successes. Then there are the blogs about hobbies, writing, traveling, cooking and on and on. I’m nosy.

All this begs another question. Why am I blogging? Well, why not? How else are you going to learn about a “wild and crazy guy” like me? (kudos to SNL)

Now here’s a tip. If you like good writing, I mean the kind of writing that causes you to hang on every word and makes you cry when you finish reading it—not in sadness, although there’s that too—but having read something so powerfully written and poignant that you shout out with the pure joy of it, then read Christina Nealson’s book, Drive Me Wild. You’ll love it.

I found myself going back over her paragraphs again and again just for that breathtaking thrill of reading really strong and descriptive writing. What a talent. Check out her website too, Christinanealson.com.

As they say in Alabama, “‘Nuff said.”