I just have a lot to say.
November 26th, 2017

War Eagle, Daddy

I miss Daddy most when Auburn wins.

I miss him every day. I miss him when I sit behind the desk he built for Mama. I miss him when I smell Vick’s Vapor Rub. 

But I miss him most when Auburn wins, especially when they win spectacularly.

He was a likeable feller who was passionate about Auburn University in the 60s and 70s, when it seemed everybody was a Bama fan. We listened to “Your Auburn Radio Network” from our backyard on Decatur Street, while Daddy cleaned the catfish that he caught that morning, which Mama would later fry for supper. Auburn would score, and he and his three girls would whoop and holler. He would throw his arms up, dance a jig, and yell, “Touchdown, Auburn!” His right arm was crooked from a childhood break that was set incorrectly.

He was devoted to his Tigers (both Auburn and Dothan High), but he was generally and genuinely a fan of football. He shouted “Roll Tide!” at least twice. He and Mama went to New Orleans with Bama friends to watch Alabama win the Sugar Bowl in 1975 (v. Penn State) and in 1977 (v. Ohio State). I remember watching the game at home with Little Granny and cheering for Penn State. He taught me later, “We want Bama to win. It’s fun to beat them, because they’re good.”

He was a gracious loser and a gosh-awful winner. He could take it (he was faithful in 1976 when Doug Barfield’s team won only three games); but, boy howdy, he could dish it out. (God bless the friends who suffered through “Punt, Bama, Punt!” ad nauseam in 1972, when Auburn won 17-16.)   

The friends, in turn, righteously harassed him the next year when Bama won 35 to zip. 

He never saw an AU win in the Iron Bowl again.

He never heard Jim Fyffe holler, “TOUCHDOWWWN AUBUUURN!!! He never said, “Fear the thumb.” He didn’t know Bo.

“If Daddy had lived . . .” is the mantra my sisters and I have hummed for four decades. If Daddy had lived past 1978, I am certain that he would not be alive today. I am certain he would not have survived past January 2011. First, his Auburn elected one of his granddaughters (whom he never knew) to be their Miss Homecoming that season. Then, they rallied from a 21-point deficit at halftime to surprise Alabama (and everybody else) with an Iron Bowl upset. Finally, they went on to beat the Oregon Ducks in the Fiesta Bowl for the BCS National Championship.

The jubilation of those combined events would have taken him straight to Glory; for without a doubt, life on Earth could not surpass that. He would not have lived until 2013 to fall to his knees at the Hail Mary against Georgia nor praise the miracle against Alabama. He would not have been here to toot his horn over the triumph of the Great Comeback Year.

Auburn football soars and plummets. Yet, it is when it rises that my heart aches.  

‘Cause I miss Daddy most when Auburn wins.