The 2022 Orange Bowl

“Maybe there’s a bowl game on.” I said out loud so J, the controller of the TV’s controller, would check.

At the time we were watching an episode of Blue Bloods and I’d just said, “I’m reminded why I never liked this program. It’s too dramatic. Actually, it’s melodramatic.” I guess I need to tell you why I said this.

Jamie had been shot. “The bullet got under his vest,” according to his brother Danny. The wounded Reagan was rushed to the hospital. The family gathers, all except Frank because he’s on recon with his priest buddy. The hospital scene is intense. The doctor announces the bullet is close to the spine and Jamie could become paralyzed when he attempts to remove it during surgery. The family is desperate as is normal. Danny leaves and goes hunting for the shooter. He’s successful. The doctor removes the bullet. There’s no paralysis. Jamie’s discharged, well, not that quick but in screen time only a few minutes. As Eddie (not the black tornado Eddie from yesterday’s post), Jamie’s wife, wheels him out of the hospital they’re met by a huge crowd of hospital personnel, police officers, and family members. Big Frank, in his three piece suit (another pet peeve) is standing front and center. He immediately salutes Jamie, who stands and returns the salute. The clapping begins and continues and continues. Too melodramatic. Just one reason I don’t like Blue Bloods.

J announces the results of his Google search: The Orange Bowl starts at 7:00; Tennessee vs. Clemson. It’s now 6:57. We wait.

I grab my iPad and open Kindle and read. At 7:00, J checks Hulu and learns the game starts at 7:10. We wait more. I read more.

The Cheez-It Bowl, Clemson vs. Iowa State. What’s going on? We watch for several minutes, voicing questions such as, “Where’s Tennessee?” and “I thought you said it was the Orange Bowl?” Why is Clemson playing Iowa State?

Finally, I do some investigating. Somehow, J selected a rerun, last year’s Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando. He maneuvers Hulu and gets us to this year’s Orange Bowl.

Sure enough, it’s Clemson vs. Tennessee.

Shortly after we start watching, Tennessee scores a touchdown. After their kickoff to Clemson I begin to notice something’s strange. Why all the background noise? The fans are yelling. The bands are playing. Loudly. I barely hear an announcer calling the game. It’s like being at a high school football game, actually present in the stands, too close to the cheering section. Noisy, stressful. “Where’s the commentators?” I ask. Even the visual angles of the game, the players, seemed off. I think this was an ESPN production. What happened? Are all future football games going to be like this?

I decide to check Twitter. I fully agree with Brian Cassady
@bcassady28, “Trying to watch the 2022
@OrangeBowl and hate the production quality. This Skycast camera is terrible. No announcers. Hard to follow the action. The PA announcer is boring. If this is the new way to watch the bowl games, it’s awful.”

After a few more plays I have my own announcement. “I’m going to bed. You guys can sit up as long as you want.” I take my nightly medications, brush my teeth, rub my chest with Vick’s, and head to bed. I’ll read until my little white sleeping pill closes my eyes.

I hate Blue Bloods. But, I love college football games, watching from my lazy boy, listening to great commentators, virtually oblivious to the stressful noise from the melodramatic bands and fans, which is nearly as bad as watching Tom Selleck’s facial expressions.

A Fun Trip to Dollar General

I drove to the nearest Dollar General–the one by Four-Way Express–last Tuesday for some cough drops and vapor rub. Eddie went with me (he’s the black lab I rescued May 24th). When we arrived I fastened his leash to his collar and opened the driver’s side door. As usual, he jumps out and I struggle to hold onto him. After coaxing him back into the car I walk inside the DG.

After I wander around a while I find the Hall’s Cough Drops but not the Vick’s–that’s the brand I want because that’s what Mother always used when I was a kid. I walk to the cashier, an older lady (defined by her long gray hair) with semi-thick glasses. I asked for the Vick’s. She offered to show me where it was.

Unsurprisingly, I’d missed it since it was with the other ‘Health Aids.’ She returned to her post and I pondered the purchase. Confused, I chose not to purchase this boxed item. It didn’t look like what I remembered Mother buying.

I kept the cough drops and returned to the Cashier. There were two customers ahead of me. The first transaction was quick and the thick girl departed. I asked myself if I looked as homeless as she did. Probably. I’d chosen comfortable and worn clothes to my new and stylish garments. Joke.

The Cashier was now dealing with the second customer, a man, maybe 6 foot 2, wearing blue-jeans, a dark sweatshirt, and a pair of well work cowboy boots. He looked as though he might have just gotten off a cattle drive. He laid his cell phone on the counter and removed a pile of cash from his front right pocket. He started to count the money, arranging it in stacks. I guessed, one hundred dollar stacks.

From the carefully selected screen showing on his cell phone and his methodical counting and stacking of cash on the counter I imagined he was attempting to transfer money to a prepaid debit card. Obviously, I could be wrong. Just as a guess, the Cashier could be his mother and he was repaying her for some old debt. I digress, this was not likely what was happening.

I continued to wait. The cashier, now, is recounting the money. One stack at a time. The fifth stack, or, it might have been the sixth, was trouble. She recounted it two times. I could tell this stack had some five dollar bills in it. The Cashier conducted the third count of the fifth (sixth?) stack backwards. The man reached into his left front pocket and pulled out a handful of coins and started laying them out in more stacks, actually not stacks, but circles, each coin laying on the counter and segregated into distinct categories.

The Cashier displayed her best confused look but didn’t give up. She plunged into a recount of all five (six?) stacks, for now ignoring the piles of coins. To me it seemed like hours had transpired. In truth, it had only been a few minutes. I decided I didn’t need these particular Hall’s cough drops after all. I turned and placed the small bag on the candy rack behind me and walked out. Eddie was waiting patiently in the driver’s seat.

I drove us to Walgreen’s in Boaz for a different bag of Hall’s cough drops and a container of Vick’s vapor rub, the type Mother bought and used on me as a kid, maybe sixty years ago.

During mine and Eddie’s ride home I realized how proud my dearly departed mother would be if she knew how patient and diligent I’d been taking care of my three-day old cold, and for rescuing this black tornado.