I wrote about Thanksgiving last week so it would be in the papers for the Thanksgiving editions. As a follow up, the days around the holiday were even better than I could have ever expected.
We enjoyed Thanksgiving with our daughter Catherine and her family. Elizabeth and her family came up on Friday and for one night we had all our children and grandchildren together in the same house. In today’s hectic world, anytime you can gather your family in one place it is something for which you should be thankful.
Friday evening, we all gathered in the living room to put up the Christmas tree. It was the first new tree we have had in a decade. It was just our luck that the wrong tree was put into the box for the tree we purchased. Instead of 2,200 lights it had 500. It was short, slim, and spindly. It was also after 7 p.m.
We called the Hobby Lobby in Auburn to tell them of our dilemma and it turns out we got the top customer service person of all time. Within 15 minutes we were on our way to the location where they had the tree at the front door waiting for us. A Five Star rating for this unnamed hero.
Less than an hour later the tree was done. It was a special time watching our grandchildren hang three generations old ornaments on the tree. It was then that we realized that we were missing the wise man with the missing arms.
Like most new couples, our first Christmas was short on money. We bought some wooden ornaments that we had to paint. We finally found him in the bottom of the very last box. Cheers went up from all in the room upon the discovery.
It is interesting that the least expensive and most simple of ornaments on our tree will probably be the ones that our children want the most after we are gone.
Saturday was the day of the Iron Bowl, the annual grudge match between the University of Alabama and Auburn University football teams. Following a great tailgate with family and friends we made our way to the stadium.
We had given two tickets to our friends Lynn and Jerry, so they could join us during the game. After they sold their own tickets, they were horrified to discover at the gate that the new tickets had been stolen from Jerry’s pocket. Kudos to the ticket staff that replaced those tickets and got them into the game shortly after kickoff.
If you are a college football fan, you probably already know about the wildly exciting Iron Bowl where Auburn defeated Alabama 48-45. If you are an Auburn fan you have already spent all day Sunday reading every article about the game on the internet and in the newspapers.
Thanks to the 100 percent of the UGA Dawg Nation that was pulling for Auburn during this game. We could feel your love. In fact, an ESPN commentator said that 98.5 percent of the nation was pulling for Auburn. Not sure if that is true, but it feels good to say it.
As I sat down to reflect on the past week and to write this article, I realized just how special the past few days have been for Mary Lou and me. Quality time with our children and grandchildren.
Decorating our Christmas tree with all our children and grandchildren, which is not something that often occurs. Good food and fellowship with cousins, friends and family. Beautiful weather. My eleven-month-old grandson pointing to me in response to the question “Who is Granddaddy?”.
That is enough to count your blessings and give thanks. The Iron Bowl was just icing on the cake. Okay, it was a lot of icing on the cake.
It was a spectacularly entertaining game. It was the salve to the wound of losing to three top 10 teams in one year. If you are a true Auburn fan, beating Alabama is always better than winning the SEC or National Championship.
Next year, I hope to celebrate the wins over both of our top rivals, Alabama and Georgia. In the meantime, I wish the Dawg Nation the best on their quest. They can take comfort in knowing that Alabama no longer stands in their way.
It was a good week in that loveliest village on the Plains. A very good week, indeed.
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]