It wasn’t really cool enough for me to build a fire in the hearth, but i did. Maureen made an Italian sauce — she will correct my incorrect description later — and served it over polenta, aka grits, along with another salad perfection of hers.
We dined on our dinner trays while watching THE game with a nice red blend.
i watched a game that didn’t involve Vanderbilt or the Padres for the first time in a while with mixed emotions. A dear young lady, Laura Grabowski, is a graduate and huge, huge fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. A close friend from home, Louis Thompson, who married the woman who was my “sweetheart” in the 1962 Castle Heights annual, was a star defensive tackle for Paul Bryant at Alabama.
Since the Bear took me under his arm and talked to me like a son back in ’64, and my Commodores are in the SEC, i favored the Tide. As i watched, the fandom thing sort of vanished. i just sat there and marveled at the incredible athletic ability of every player on both sides. It was an amazing performance, only dimmed by the dumb reference to “physicality,” which from Webster’s i interpret being physical and not real bright, by Kirk Herbstreit in his unrelenting over-analysis of play after play, a common…no, the new norm for sports play-by-play and analyst commentators, which, in my mind, is — pardon my French — bullshit.
Still, i enjoyed watching some rather spectacular football and wondered how many NFL teams, ‘Bama could beat.
Then, Sarah took Billie Holiday, her wonderful dog, to her bedroom and went to sleep. She had a long day. Maureen faded and went to bed. i left the embers in the hearth and sat down at this infernal machine with the last of my wine…AND a Three Musketeers candy bar.
My favorite Christmas present this year came from Maureen. She has heard my story many times and remembered. The story?
Growing up, the only grandfather figure i, Martha, and Joe knew was Wynn Prichard. He was my great uncle. i have written about him before.
“Papa” and Aunt Corrine lived in a farm house with a tin roof on their farm at the intersection of Hickory Ridge Road and Blair Lane in Lebanon, Tennessee. When i was very young and my sister Martha and then my brother Joe were younger, Papa would come to see us around mid-day every Wednesday. Papa owned a 1929 Model A Ford. i’m pretty sure it was the only car he ever owned. He took out the seats of the rumble seat in order to do two things: 1. To carry his two fox hounds to the fox hunts he attended for pretty much all of his life, and 2. To carry his produce to market on Wednesday to Lebanon’s “Farmer’s Market.”
After he had sold his wares at the market, which then was located somewhere at the top of East Main Street, Papa would drive home but stop en route and park his Model A on the side of the road in front of 127 Castle Heights Avenue.
i was waiting. And when he emerged from his car in his khaki work shirt and pants with a wool cardigan and a felt fedora, i would run a full speed and leap into his arms. Papa woulds shuffle me to his right arm, dig into his pocket with his left hand, and dig out a Three Musketeer’s candy bar. Unceremoniously, he would hand it to me. It did not last very long. It remains my favorite snack of all time.
Well, my child, er, my wife gave me a box of thirty-six Three Musketeer’s candy bars as a Christmas gift.
i just finished having one of the thirty-six.
And as i get ready to accomplish the old man routine putting the night to rest, i remember Papa and those glorious Wednesday’s when that old Model A would come to a halt in front of our home.