More Great Plants, a Cinderella Season, and Oz's Scarecrow!

Like most everybody else in the southeast, we’re having a pretty dry fall. October is statistically our driest month of the year anyway, so it’s not unusual to go a few weeks without rain. But an inch or so would suit me just fine. We are still getting some growth on stuff here and there so I’m adding items to the list even this late in the season. Now all I need to do is find a new home for a bunch of plants! 

I am happy to report that miracles keep coming in Starkville. State survived a very tough outing against Arkansas last weekend. I think the Razorbacks are maybe the best unranked team in the country right now. Currently they’re in a 2 year conference drought but I don’t see how. That team is long overdue for an SEC win and I can’t imagine it won’t come soon. I’m just glad it wasn’t last weekend.

They say confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation, but I have a story tell anyhow. As many of you know, our younger son is a senior at State; therefore, it takes very little encouragement for momma to want to get to Starkville. We try to make most of the home games but we very rarely travel to road games. Our son is an avid football fan to begin with, so he’s having the time of his life with State having a Cinderella year. 

But we did have a bump in the road a couple of months ago. Young Einstein, along with 70 of his buddies, decided they needed to make a road trip to Baton Rouge for the LSU game. If you have children who have already grown through this stage of adolescent development, congratulations. I am green with envy. I used the term “adolescent” intentionally. Although he’s 21 now, a legal adult, he and his friends still have a tendency to act like 15-year olds from time to time. Now I know how my dad felt.

At any rate, State jumped on top of LSU early and it looked like it was going to be a blowout. Jeffry kept texting his mother and me throughout the game that he and his friends planned to storm the field after the game, maybe even tear down the goal posts. I told him that was a bad idea, as the authorities normally frown upon such conduct, especially from the visitors. I assured him in very clear terms that I was NOT going to drive to Baton Rouge to get him out of jail. 

As it turned out, State did not win in a rout. We did hold on for the win but the game came down to the very last play, where one of our defensive backs intercepted a pass at the goal line that, if completed, would have given the game to LSU. Any road win in the SEC is a very good thing. A win in Death Valley, especially by Mississippi State, is almost a once in a lifetime event. As promised, Jeffry and his friends headed for the railing.

But the problem, at least for Jeffry, was that his friends faked him out and stopped at the rail. Not him. He bailed over, landed near the corner of the end zone and was promptly face-planted in the turf by a gentleman with the Louisiana State Patrol. When he looked back at the bleachers, all his friends were standing there, looking for all the world like they’d never seen him before in their lives.

The shortened, G-rated version of what the trooper said is “Boy, your rear end is headed to jail.” You can use your imagination as to what was really said. He slapped handcuffs on him, stood him up and told him to wait there until he was ready to go. Jeffry’s buddies, as all true friends would, took pictures and posted them to Facebook. In their defense, I’d have done the same thing to any of my friends in a similar situation.

I’ve been told the Lord takes care of fools and drunks, and he did it again in this instance. After 15 minutes of shame the trooper came to get him and told him they were headed downtown. But instead of taking him to the car, he marched him over to the steps going back up into the bleachers, uncuffed him, and told him to get lost, which he promptly did, making that move the only smart thing he did all night.

Fatherhood has been one of the best institutions I’ve been involved in - most of the time. My wife and I have raised good boys, if not brilliant ones. But there have been times, just like this, when you want to bang your head against a tree. I can only pray, a lot, that like Oz’s scarecrow, brains will soon be forthcoming. I’ll try to remember to let you know when that happens. 

Somewhere in the State of Louisiana there is an unknown state trooper, probably with a sense of humor, to whom I am profoundly grateful. I’m sure I won’t get the opportunity to pay it back, so maybe I’ll be given an opportunity to pay if forward.

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