Sunday, October 11, 2009

On the Scene in the Grove

Posted By on Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Yesterday, I went to the Ole Miss/Alabama game with my brother David and my sister Betsy and her husband Ralph. My cousins Steve and Mike are regular tailgaters in the campus' vaunted Grove, where they have a tent with a gracious open-invitation to all family.

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I bumped into Philip Shirley when we first arrived around 11 a.m. He was twittering about the food. I told him I was there blogging about the food, so we exchanged URLs (or what I'm now calling Nobel Peace Prizes). Shirley blogs at The Tide Corner. I asked him what a Bama Guy was doing among the enemy. He said he's from Mississippi and counts many Rebel fans as friends.

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I heard on the radio Friday that there would be an estimated crowd of 100,000 in the Grove. I can't verify that number, but it was crowded enough that it was impossible for me to check out the other tents. Even getting around in my cousins' tent was difficult. The food spread in my cousins' tent was extensive — barbecue ribs, fried chicken, cookies, cheese biscuits and sausage balls, ham and roast beef for sandwiches, hummus dip, and on and on.

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Here's my brother-in-law Ralph in mid-chew. He and my sister Betsy came in from California and are both new to the Grove experience. I predicted that Ralph would be in the fetal position by the end of the game. I was wrong — he had a great time. (For the record, Ralph did fall asleep in the car on the way home.)

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My sister and I shared a Bloody Mary. It was so loaded with extras (pickles, lime wedge, okra, spices) that we began referring to it as the "salad" — "Would you like some more salad?" "Why, I don't mind if I do."

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At some point, I spotted a student in argyle pants and a bottle of Jim Beam. "A walking cliche!" I exclaimed as I raced after him. Sadly, he disappeared in the crowd, so I asked everybody to keep an eye out for him. We spotted another guy in the same pants but different shirt ... and then I got him.

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Alas, this is yet another guy in argyle pants. My sharp-eyed sister noted that the original argyle-pants guy had a fifth of whiskey. This one has a pint. (It's in his pocket.)

Now on to the game ...

Apparently, there was a record set. The stadium had 62,000-plus people in the seats. It really was amazing.

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A few rows down from us, fans ate barbecue nachos from Corky's, which means to me we're never far from home.

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Before leaving for the stadium, I picked up a "Beat Bama" bag from my cousins' tent. It was a mix of Teddy Grahams, butterscotch chips, cereal, marshmallows, M&Ms, and peanuts.

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Perhaps they should re-think this snack-bag. The Rebels lost to Alabama 22 to 3.

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