Special: dear hearts and gentle people by Mickie McGee
For our final item on the LC-WW game, we've selected Mickie McGee's "dear hearts and gentle people" essay, as her descriptive words encompass the many feelings about Lincoln County Football and that particular episode. Well done, Mickie!
When I woke up a couple of hours ago the morning was half spent. In my pajamas I walked down the winding dirt driveway to the main road, anxious to see the paper's take on last night's fiasco at Buddy Bufford Field.
With the exception of "Farmer John", the man to whom I am married, who had gotten up with the chicken (we had to downsize), the rest of my clan were still fast asleep. I imagine they were, as I had been, subconsciously delaying the facing of this particular Saturday. It isn't often that we in Lincoln County wake up after a ballgame the night before on the short end of the scoreboard.
The robin-blue sky above me and the crisp, cool breeze rustling through these south Lincoln County pines, I did some hard thinking to and from the mailbox. I had a lot to think about.
I do love Fall. It's always been my favorite season. Up until today the temperatures have hovered around 80 degrees, nothing at all to hint of autumn.Yesterday early the weatherman predicted a 10 degree drop by game time so we all grabbed windbreakers and loaded up for the Big Game, prepared.
Prepared we were not. Not for the weather. Not for the game.
I have fond memories of life in Lincolnton about this time of year and I suppose there are many reasons why.
Maybe I loved the season because we can open the windows after the summer confines of air-conditioning. Maybe because another year is almost through and I have survived it.
Maybe it's the brilliant yellows, reds, oranges, earthy tones, my favorite colors.
Or, and I suspect this may be the real reason: Football Friday nights.
I know little of the mechanics of the game that so enthralls the mail members of our family but I love all the hoopla that surrounds it. With every snap of the ball, every note of the Star Spangled Banner, every cheer, and every tear-jerking verse of Our Boys Goin' Shine Tonight I am, if but for four quarters, young again.
Friday nights pre-ballgame at our house, when I was a child, were oyster-stew nights. I don't know why. They just were. One hardly had enough time to pour on the oysterettes before Daddy would be shooing us all out the door, fearful he would miss the kick-off.
My daddy would have had plenty to say about last night's game. He would have shaken his head in disbelief as he stood there on the "bleachers." He would have been agitated more than a little and probably would have taken his Red Devil cap on and off a hundred times, grinding his teeth, at the unsportsmanlike behavior on the field (and out of bounds).
And not until the lights were out would he, Uncle Buddy, and others leave their appointed places. There they would stand amidst peanut hulls and discarded programs and rehash the game, play-by-play.
Nodding his head in agreement, Daddy would have listened as Unc spouted football rules and regulations, game statistics dating back to the Stone Age, and more than a few praises for our "little coach" from South Carolina.
I stood at last night's game and glanced behind me and up a few rows at the last of the original Lincoln County Bearcats, or as Tom Brokaw calls them, the "Greatest Generation."
Much older and no doubt wiser, these faithful Red Devils were shaking their heads in disbelief. One of them, a grandpa whose grandson was the recipient of what was obviously a "late hit", sat motionless as the scoreboard clock ticked away the final seconds of a heartbreaker.
The sun is shining brightly now and I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful day. Walking back up the drive it suddenly occurred to me that though, yes, we Red Devil fans are disappointed at the outcome of such a hard-fought contest, there are much worse things. And as Scarlett O-hara once said, after all, tomorrow is another day.
I'm almost certain, too, that were Daddy here, he would be quick to say, "Well, it's over now. They didn't do us right, to be sure, but what's done is done."
Rolling the football program into a tube and slapping it on his thigh, he'd smile and say, "The cream will always rise to the top and we've got a doggoned good team. We'll do fine, you'll see."
And up at Uncle Buddy's filling station they would have all been saying the same thing. A little moaning and groaning maybe, but then they would all concur: "It's history now. We've just got to buckle down and look ahead. They took some cheap shots and they should have been called on 'em. But it's done and we need to suck it up and go on."My daddy would have had plenty to say about last night's game. He would have shaken his head in disbelief as he stood there on the "bleachers." He would have been agitated more than a little and probably would have taken his Red Devil cap on and off a hundred times, grinding his teeth, at the unsportsmanlike behavior on the field (and out of bounds).
And, Dear Hearts, we shall.