Continuing my celebration of “thanks-giving” columns I think it is important to note that we can celebrate the little things just as easily as the big-time moments that occur in life. Big-time events are often best remembered which events like marriages, anniversaries, the birth of children, purchasing of a home, a new job or even a promotion or a new relationship take place. In our quest to celebrate life we should be mindful not to eliminate the little things or what might be best phrased as the simple things in life. Things like a great conversation or a drive through the park looking at the fall leaves. Standing at an overlook on a parkway and viewing the earth’s vast expanse could be a simple thing, too. How about a ride on a four-wheeler along some mountain trail? Personally, I love sitting on my front porch watching traffic go by. A part of my “thanks-giving” is enjoying life as it happens and as I experience it.
This past weekend I made history, and I love history! The weekend was a combination of several elements that I am pretty sure may never be duplicated again. Here is a list of all the combinations: memories of the Kentucky Wildcats playing football in Knoxville; a friend and BIG Alabama football fan; the year 1984; Neyland Stadium; this year 2012; Missouri; and the University of Tennessee Football Volunteers; These elements make up my simple “thanks-giving” that I confess I am still enjoying a week later.
Everyone in Kentucky knows that the University of Kentucky doesn’t have a football team, or at least not a winning one. Everyone also knows that the University of Tennessee has a great winning tradition, until recently of course. For Kentucky fans the last fact is more than enough for a celebration. I have often joked that in Kentucky the citizens of the Commonwealth have a big celebration with each loss that UT experiences and this year even with Kentucky’s losses, with UT’s too, Kentucky fans are confident in a win come Nov. 24th in Knoxville. Now for all you Volunteer fans in Kentucky, smile and have a little chuckle with me as I announce my history making moment, at your expense of course.
In my life, I have only been to Neyland Stadium twice. The first visit was with my father in 1984. One of his company connections provided great tickets for the UK – UT football game that year. With the historical winning streak of this series belonging to UT, no doubt there were no thoughts about Kentucky winning that game, but in 1984 Kentucky did. I was one crazy Kentucky Wildcat fan and not one Tennessee fans was happy I was sitting in their section on that day. Now let us fast forward to 2012. With the Vols playing so poorly a friend of mine offered tickets to any UT game I wanted to go to. I didn’t want to upset him with his offer and I thought what the heck, I’ve not been there in years, why not go and just enjoy myself. And that I did. I watched a great football game between UT and Missouri. I’ve never witnessed four overtimes before but I have now. I had never seen Missouri play before and to add to the unique elements of the day, I was joined by my friend Devin Masoner, an avid Alabama football fan. The combinations of the day all added to the fun and simply enjoyment of life. My record in Neyland Stadium is now 100 percent. My visits there score UT with two losses and I’m giving myself all the credit of course. Twenty-eight years may seem like a long time for a simply “thanks-giving,” but I’ll take it and hearing the dismay in that stadium on that day may very well last me another 28 years. Tennessee losing 51-48 was something else indeed. By the way, I haven’t forgotten the spiritual connection in this column. My “thanks-giving” is very simple. “God is good”….via Missouri!