2018-01-17 / Editorials

Don Lively

UNFADED ROSE

When we left off last week I was still wallowing around on Cloud 9 after my team won the Granddaddy Of Them All,

The Rose Bowl.

I'd made a fast and furious trip to California and watched my boys win in double overtime in one of the most beautiful sports venues in the world. The win was a dramatic one and was made even better by the fact that, even close to three thousand miles from home, I shared it with some friends and kin who also made the journey from coast to coast.

Speaking of coast to coast, I accomplished another fun task during the short time I was in the Golden State. A week earlier, on Christmas Day, I stood with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean on the South Carolina shore. Exactly one week later, on New Years Day, just a few hours before the big game, I stood with my feet in the Pacific Ocean. I convinced a very nice young lady walking her dog on the beach to take my picture to prove and document my bi-coastal achievement.

I had another blessing during the mad rush. I was able to squeeze in a visit with a lady who was a kid in my church youth group many moons ago. She and her wonderful little family met me in the chaos that is the aftermath of the Tournament Of Roses Parade. Somehow, in the midst of hundreds of thousands of parade watchers, they managed to drive right up behind me as I drove into the area. They even brought me some fresh oranges and tangelos that they grew themselves.

Fresh fruit, in January.

There are things to love about California.

Other California happenings.

I drove on the Santa Monica Freeway and several other eight lane highways and only had one close call when a BMW that didn't appear to have anybody in the driver's seat cut me off.

I stopped to put gas into the rental car and, before the pump would allow me to begin filling up, the digital screen told me that I would be charged a 15 cent fee per every ten gallons for the privilege of using my debit card.

I went into a Wal-Mart to buy a car charger for my cell phone. I spoke to a young surfer dude looking retail worker. "I need a car charger for an Android phone." His response, "Oh wow, man, do you have, like, a smart car, or, like, a regular car?" My response, "That's okay. I'll find it."

After those and a few other only-in-California experiences I headed back to Las Vegas, AKA Lost Wages, where I spent the last night of my trip. I'd learned long ago that the best hotels in Vegas are also the cheapest because they are right over the casinos. They expect you to gamble, not to sleep. So, I stayed at Harrah's.

I should have known better.

I didn't lose much but did I ever mention that casino hotels are also smokey and stuffy and unhealthy?

I caught a bug that would have killed a mortal man.

I got off the plane late Wednesday night, finally home, coughing and gagging and choking.

What a way to end an otherwise nearly perfect trip.

Fast forward a few days.

Monday night.

My pigskin boys are back and this time they are playing for all the marbles.

And, for me, it's a huge contrast to one week earlier when I enjoyed the Rose Bowl with 92,000 other folks. I was still sick as two dogs and a donkey and so was my wife. She had sense enough to stay in bed so I watched the game alone, in the dark, just me, a box of Kleenex, a bottle of Severe Symptom Nyquil, which I suspect is mostly alcohol, and some snacks. The Nyquil worked, sort of. I was still coughing and gagging and choking but I was doing it gleefully.

Until the last play of the game.

Again, you know what happened.

My boys lost.

Contrast indeed.

What a difference a week made.

My broken heart was way worse than my wheezy lungs.

Still, it was a great, exciting and fun year topped off by that once in a lifetime trip to the Rose Bowl.

I'll always have that.

And I suspect there's more excitement to come.

Just wait till next year.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

Return to top