November 30, 2015

How My Family and I Celebrate the College Football Season!


Steve & Suzie Coffee
I have been away from the blogging scene for awhile.  Not on purpose, but since August other things have been of more importance. My absence could also mean that I haven't really had anything genealogy-wise to write about!

During football season my wife and I travel to Baton Rouge for every home game to participate in a huge "tailgate party" presented over the past number of years by our son Stephen and several of his friends on the campus at Louisiana State University.  He and those young people - some now 50+ years old - have sustained us older folks over the years. We love them like our own children and truly believe they have the same affection for us.  

L-R: Dau-in-law, my Bride, Me, and friends Doris and Linda
(No, I do not have a man bun under the cap!)
Grandsons Ant and Mac with their respective spouses, Devon & Hannah; granddaughter Sarah in the middle & Fritz in the back toasting the photographer
Part of the tailgate trailer can be seen  on the left.
The 70 or so miles we travel (one way) to be with them is nothing. Steve and Suzie were driving in from the Houston area.  Steve has now been appointed Vice President of a oil refining corporation and has relocated to their headquarters near Nashville. His trips to Louisiana will be tough, but I'm sure he'll be there as often as possible.

A classless act by some AL Gumps
Welcoming LSU to Tuscaloosa
The group takes the show on the road for some away games; typically Texas A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Alabama. Some fans, especially those at Ole Miss and Alabama seem to be less welcoming of LSU than other SEC schools.  In the past, some of their fans have attempted vandalism or created an unwelcome environment at their school.  In Baton Rouge we welcome all, irrespective of their loyalties.

The "party" has grown to include a Tiger-striped trailer that carries the tables, chairs, propane burners, gas fired deep friers, a Cajun microwave, cast iron pots for cooking jambalaya, red beans, rice, and other tasty traditional south Louisiana dishes.

Meals have included whole suckling pigs, small alligators. whole roasted chickens, chuck roasts, tenderloin, and other tasty meats. Standard finger foods include smoked sausages and Boudin, a Cajun sausage, and hogshead cheese.  All food is prepared and cooked using typical Cajun spices.

The group has computers, amplifiers, power supplies, generators, satellite TV, fire pits for really cold days, coolers of adult beverages, and cooking that goes on from about 7 AM until a couple of hours before game time. Guests often bring snacks and deserts for everyone to enjoy.  Regular attendance is upwards to 150 for an important game, which is every game when it's an SEC game. The party is situated on one of the campus' main E-W drags that leads directly to Tiger Stadium.  That means the group gets a lot of  foot traffic and drop in guests who stop for a quick snack or "refreshing beverage" before proceeding. Welcomed guests often include city and campus police officers.

Generally in attendance are a number of our grandchildren from TX and LA.  Sometimes they bring friends that we have also come to know and love being around. Four of our seven grandchildren are, or about to be college grads.  One granddaughter graduated from Aveda and two grandsons are still in the elementary years of their education.  Spouses of those who are married are also college grads. Their grandmother and I are extremely proud of all of them!

An Aside: Some of you who are football fans and pay attention to what's happening nation-wide, probably read about recent efforts to buy out the contract of our head football coach, Les Miles.  Les has an extremely good won-loss record over his last 11 years at LSU.  But, some fans and officials at the university believed they could railroad him into leaving by buying out his $15 million contract. Rumor has it the supporters wanted to bring Coach Jimbo Fisher from Florida State back to LSU. 

Many of us recognize that Coach Fisher is the coach of a "thug" FSU team and we didn't want him back in Baton Rouge. It didn't take long for wealthy supporters - the only kind that can have any influence in the school's athletic department - to raise that amount; but a firing was never announced, just rumored.  The athletic director, Mr. Joe Alleva, kept Miles' future at LSU hanging while he raised the money.

Some may recall the incident a few years ago at Duke when several Lacrosse players were accused of rape!  The Lacrosse coach was fired and accused players tried and convicted in the press.  It was later learned that the accuser lied and was never raped.  The athletic director at Duke, who failed to support either the coach or the players was none other than Mr. Alleva.  Not only did he cause great embarrassment and loss of prestige for Duke, he tried to repeat that at LSU.  Fortunately, Coach Miles' fan base is much broader than Mr. Alleva's and Coach Miles will remain at LSU.  At the moment, Mr. Alleva's future at LSU is not at all assured.

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