MY TRIP TO TUSCALOOSA
Here is a brief recap of my several days going back to last Wednesday around 6:30 pm. At that time, I was sitting in my office working and trying to finish up so I could get home to the wife and kids. Then a friend, Trey Dennard, came in through the front door and announced that he had tickets to the Georgia-Alabama game and needed company for the 9 hour drive each way from Amelia Island to Tuscaloosa and back.
My wife, Leslie, told me I should go, so we headed out Friday evening at 8:00 pm. We drove until a little past midnight and stayed in Eufala, AL. On Saturday morning, we had breakfast with my best friend Taylor Bennett's parents, Robert and Rosemary. I can never pass through Eufala without visiting the Bennetts. Better people you will never find! Their son Taylor, one of my Naval Academy shipmates, was in London for the weekend and had discovered an American-style Sports Pub where he could catch all of the NCAA football action while ordering up some delicious John Smith Draught. After filling up on a great country breakfast, we were on our way to Tuscaloosa and arrived around 2:00 pm. On the drive in, we were listening to ESPN Radio and getting constant updates on the Ole Miss upset bid against Florida. We parked in the yard of some students who had the game on in their carport, so they invited us to watch with them and shared their keg beer. Good hospitality, which has been my experience both times I have been to games in Tuscaloosa. The Bama fans have a great setting for college football and they tailgate as well as anywhere in the country.
After Florida finally vanquished Ole Miss, we left walked over to the strip and met some friends at The Houndstooth Bar and watched much of the LSU-USC game. Speaking of "Houndstooth," only in Tuscaloosa will you see so much clothing and accessories utilizing the pattern made famous by the Bear. That is something entirely unique to Bama and it is much better than the Tide detergent box and two rolls of toilet paper. Soon, it was time to head into Bryant-Denny stadium, so we headed over and up, up, up, up, up and up a little more to the new addition to the stadium called Section 422 Row 27. There were only about 10 moe rows between us and the Central Alabama stratosphere. The only good thing about being so high was that when it rained, we did not get wet because the clouds were below us. Anyway, it was great to be in the stadium and it was a great night for an epic clash.
This is what it was like at the end... (sorry this video can't embed)
After surviving the highs and lows of the ebb and flow of this game and sneaking out of Tuscaloosa with a much-needed character building win, we drove down to Prattville and checked into a hotel at 2:30 in the morning. We were happy campers, but entirely exhausted. On Sunday, we stopped back in Eufala because Judge Robert Bennett wanted to give us some of his Bennetts Blueberry Wine - Private Reserve that he has been making for a hobby for many years. We got a thorough tour of the Judge's winemaking operation where he had batches of Scuppernong and Muscadine fermenting. It may not be Napa, but it looks like an interesting and fun and potentially intoxicating hobby. I have to say that visiting with the Bennetts was a wonderful highlight of the trip. After our fun, but brief visit, we continued our long journey home to Amelia Island, grateful that we were basking in a hard-fought victory making the ride a pleasure instead of an interminable death dirge, as it easily could have been. Thank you Mikey Henderson!
I would like to thank all of the Bama people for be wonderfully hospitable to us in their house and I look forward to seeing them in Athens next year.