September 7, 2010

This time of year I am always brought back through the corridor of time to places of my youth…..
Growing up along dusty roads and rutted paths.

It’s Fall and that means one thing: Football

Now I know that in most places it’s not cool yet and it doesn’t even look like Fall.

And if you are in Lubbock the temperatures are only fifteen degrees cooler than the surface of the sun, so you don’t have to remind me.

But this is a special time of year for many of us…temperatures aside.

I discussed this some time ago with my friend Hank……..
And he wrote a piece that he has graciously allowed me to reproduce for you here.
I believe he framed the picture perfectly.

Thank you Hank


Everyone has their memories of “Back in the day.”
Mine include trips to a little spot in the road, out in the middle of nowhere, in South Georgia called Mayday.
A black and white TV with rabbit ears and no cable.
Window fans on hot, sticky August nights.
Or maybe riding with my Dad, an exterminator, to towns like Fort Valley, Hawkinsville, Unadilla, or Warner Robins.
But, some of the fondest were when I was in High School…..
School would start and Autumn would slowly creep in to slowly displace those hot summer days.

Bears hibernate in the winter time.
At the end of fall, they find a place to curl up and sleep unencumbered until the warmth of spring finally rouses them to begin their lives anew.
I always equated the life of a college football fan in much the same way.
After the National Championship and all the “All Star” games, college football fans receded to a life of dormancy, void of exciting Saturdays, and hibernated until the start of a new season.

Thus the reference to “Back in the day”……
It’s funny how memories work.
Something small and insignificant can trigger the floodgates to open. And so, as I sat on my back porch this last Saturday, I remembered those High School days.
Going outside, there was the slightest hint of coolness in the air from an easterly breeze and tolerable temperatures.
Memories rushed into my head of excitedly getting up on that most important day of the weekend. I’d rush out to the mailbox to retrieve the latest edition of the Macon Telegraph.
In those days, above the title banner, would be regional scores of the Friday night High School Football games.
Perry 35, Hawkinsville 21, Jones County 14, Dodge County 10. And so on, and so forth.
I would scan those scores and dive into the paper to find the sports pages.
Most times I went to those Perry High School games but still there was something special about reading about what I already knew happened in the paper.
I voraciously read all the write ups about Peach County, Warner Robins, Northside, Jones County, and all the other schools in the area.
Afterwards, I always had some kind of chores to do around the house. I’d hurriedly knock those out and ride to town to get a loaf of bread or gallon of milk for my Mama.
On the way to the store in my ’68 LTD I would excitedly turn the knob on the radio and search for an AM radio station in Macon.

What time is it? Did I miss it? No, it’s almost 11 o’clock, Time for Leonard’s Losers.
I don’t know how I came across that old show. Maybe I found it by tuning from station to station looking for some good Southern Rock. But one day while spinning the knob on the radio the refrain of a banjo picking out the opening tune caught my ear. Then the “countrified” voice of Percy Peabody announced that it was time for another edition of “Leonard’s Losers.” Afterward, Leonard would make his weekly predictions of the upcoming Saturday’s college football outcomes. But this was unique. He picked losers. And he did it with flair. And he did it with a unique style with nicknames such as “The North Avenue Trade School” and the “Red Clay Hounds.” There was the “Herd of Angry Elephants from Tuscaloosa” and the “Reptiles from Florida.”

After I got my weekly fill of Leonard, I was headed back to the house.
Almost 12 o’clock, I still had time to gulp down a bologna sandwich and watch the game.
Even then, with only 2 or 3 games on any given Saturday, I was mesmerized by the excitement and pageantry of College Football.
Georgia and Vince Dooley, Alabama with Bear Bryant, Ohio State and Woody Hayes, Michigan with Bo Schembecler.
Big games announced by “Whooooaaa Nelly!!” Keith Jackson.
Alabama – Auburn. Georgia – Georgia Tech. Texas – Arkansas,. USC – UCLA.
History and tradition unfolding before my eyes.

It was Saturday.
Leaves would soon begin to brown and fall.
Cool nights, warm days, and the shadows.
I still remember the shadows off the trees were always longer.
The humidity grudgingly left and was replaced by the dry warmth of the afternoon sun and the chill of those fall nights.

Football Season had come. By the grace of God, it’s here again.

Thank you Hank, it’s perfect, just perfect….



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3 Responses to Reflections

  1. MHolley on September 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm


    Well put. I don’t know that Tim McGraw could have phrased it better.


  2. Lee on September 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Wow…I listened to “Leonard’s Losers” every Saturday morning. The guy was flat-out good, and his voice was reminiscent of one of my favorite characters–Foghorn Leghorn, the old Looney Toons rooster. Made for radio…


  3. Icheer4Bama on September 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    That was incredible. I have chills from reading…can almost smell the crisp autumn air. Thank you for that.

    Roll Tide Roll!!!

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