Written on Wednesday, January 2, 2019…or at least begun then:
i am sitting by the hearth. The fire is comforting. i will add no more logs tonight.
We are winding down and winding up. Tomorrow, we will get it in gear.
i, wanting to read four books immediately, have once again put reading aside for later so i might write. i continue to wonder why.
In the last couple days, i contemplated differences between now and then, then being my time. What sparked that contemplation was yesterday, New Year’s Day, January 1. Back a thousand years ago…okay, okay not really…i spent a number of my New Year’s Days in Paris, Texas. Before that, i spent them in a lot of places similar, but the ones in Paris, Texas captured my idea of my New Year’s Day.
My former in-laws, the fabulous Col. Jimmie and Bettie Lynch, the latter being known as Nannie Bettie by an adoring family, put on a Bowl Party to end all bowl parties. Their home on Main Street was a classic and outshone all the other houses on the promenade leading into the town square.
The Colonel and Nannie Bettie, with a little of my help, had restored it for the wedding in May 1971. The home was built (guessing) in the 1920’s. The Colonel turned the detached garage into a work space for refinishing antiques and then into a recreation room complete with a pool table, a television for watching his beloved Dallas Cowboys, a half-refrigerator, and a very well-stocked bar.
And then, they held their bowl party. Unlike today, the bowls held the attention of the country’s football nation. The Super Bowl, with the first one in 1967, was not the extravaganza of entertainment excess lasting interminably, back then. College football was the focus, not the gaudily and ridiculously rich NFL. We went to college football games during the season to watch decades and decades of sports rivalry on display. The reward for the season was winning in your conference to play in the post-season bowls.
Even though there were 11 bowl games in the 1970’s, only four were considered THE BOWL GAMES and the only ones played on New Year’s Day. The rest were relegated to second place. There were no conference championship games, or even divisions as far as i recall.
New Year’s Day for nearly all of the country was sleeping-in-late after the previous eve of welcoming in the New Year and for many, recovery from hangovers. Then, you had the traditional meals to begin the year and vegged out all day watching bowl games. The Orange Bowl was first (Eastern Time Zone); the Sugar Bowl was second (Central Time Zone, early game); the Cotton Bowl was third (Central Time Zone, later game), and the day concluded with the granddaddy Rose Bowl. They were all day games and played in…gasp…open-air stadiums on real grass. They overlapped to some degree, sometimes a much as a quarter. Back then, channel-hopping was a chore because someone had to get to the television to turn the dial.
The party in Paris, Texas was a center piece for the town gentry. The Lynch’s did not disappoint. They had each bowl game on a television in a different part of the home, including the one in the rec room garage. In case you were having difficulty in determining which game was where, the Lynch’s had a display on top the television: a bowl of oranges for the Orange Bowl, bowls of sugar for the Sugar bowl, a bowl of cotton bolls for the Cotton Bowl, and a vase of roses for the Rose Bowl. There were appetizers throughout the house, all of the famous Texas fare you could find, chips, cornbread, and even a huge round of cheddar cheese shipped in from Wisconsin. And of course, there was a complete bar. One of the highlights was the Colonel’s Bloody Mary’s.
It was a tremendous event made possible by bowl games, undiluted, in the spirit of college football.
Ain’t that way no more. i no longer think it’s better or worse. It’s different.
On New Year’s Eve, we sat by the fire watching “The Shadow of the Thin Man” with a fire roaring in the fireplace. We went to bed early. Yesterday, we watched “Roman Holiday.” To me, they are more enjoyable than today’s movie fare. In those classics, there are no graphics to blow your mind, there is no real violence, there is no graphic sex, and there is no cussing, gratuitous or otherwise. The plots are better, often with unexpected endings. They are witty and entertaining.
Ain’t that way no more. As with the new and old post-season football, i no longer think it’s better or worse. Just different. The new standards of enjoyment are driven by change. The younger set didn’t experience my time with football and movies. They don’t have the same standards. My reality isn’t their reality.
So i am not knocking them for their reality.
But i do like mine better and miss it.