Aunt Lottie dropped by the house the other day. As luck would have it, my son happened to be visiting, which was fine because he loves Aunt Lottie and doesn’t get to see her very often. I sat and listened to them catching up on each other’s life, which believe me, is mostly Aunt Lottie talking and my son listening. “What you doing today, boy.”
“I’m on my way to the Ole Miss football game,” he said. My son is a big Ole Miss Rebel fan and always likes to go to the games.
“Oh, that sounds like fun. I’d love to go to a football game sometime.”
This was a new one on me, so I blurted out, “I didn’t know you liked football?”
“What’s not to like, girlie. All those hunky young men running around in those bright-colored tight outfits. Shoot, yeah, I like football.”
“Why don’t you come go with me, Aunt Lottie. I’ve got an extra ticket nobody wanted.” I wondered if my son had suddenly taken leave of his senses. “If you think you’re up for it.” He looked over at Aunt Lottie with a little smile that I knew was all the challenge she was going to need. “You know, you’re not as young as you used to be.”
“Boy, I’ll see the day I can’t keep up with the likes of you. Why, I remember when you tripped over your own feet learning to walk. Get on up, boy, and let’s go.”
As they got up to be on their way, I leaned over to my son and said, “You drive.” And with that, they took off. I couldn’t wait to get a report on the game. I figured this would be really good.
Later, in walked my son looking like he had been playing football rather than watching it all afternoon, but Aunt Lottie looked bright eyed and bushy-tailed. “Oh, girlie, I wish you could been with us. We had a fun time today, didn’t we?” She walked over and slapped my son across the back.
“Yeah, Aunt Lottie, it was fun.” He gave her a little hug and went off to the kitchen. “I need something to eat.”
“Tell me about it,” I asked Aunt Lottie, who had sat down and thrown her feet up on the couch. “Did you really have a good time?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, I wasn’t happy about all that walking we had to do because that boy of yours parked a half a mile from the field. I tried to tell him I could probably get us a lot closer if I pretended I couldn’t walk good, but he wouldn’t go for it. It’s not like I haven’t used that one before. But we did have a good time out there in that Grove place.” The Grove is a large grassy area on the Ole Miss campus where people gather and tailgate before the games. It’s a big deal to the alumni, and everyone visits with old friends and parties. Many of them enjoy that as much as the game.
“Did you see anyone you know in the Grove, Aunt Lottie?”
“Not at first. But I know a lot of ’em now. Real friendly bunch, and food, what you talking about. They could have fed an army out there. It’s been a long time since I ate that good. People so friendly, they’d just wave you down and just insist you eat.”
“But how did you like the game?”
“It was all right. I think we won. It’s hard to tell with all those people yelling and carrying on, and then ever once in a while a bunch of ’em would jump up over here and start hollering, and then these people seemed upset about them yelling, so they’d jump up and start yelling. If it hadn’t been for that fella setting in front of me with the bottle, I don’t know if I couldn’t took much more.”
“What bottle are you talking about?”
“Oh, you know, this fella setting in front of me had one of those flasks with pretty good bourbon in it, and he let me have a taste, just to calm my nerves a bit, you know.”
“Aunt Lottie, do you think it was a good idea drinking out of someone’s bottle at the game?”
“Well, that’s all I had. They took mine at the gate and wouldn’t let me bring it in.”
I knew Aunt Lottie always carried a small bottle of whiskey in her purse, just for medicinal purposes you understand. “I guess I should have warned you they have a no alcohol policy on the campus, Aunt Lottie. How did he get that flask in, I wonder.”
“Beats me, but I sure was glad to see it. I don’t what they think making an old lady open her purse and taking stuff like that. Besides, if they have something against drinking, them people must not can read because there was plenty of liquor out there. Most of ’em were better at hiding it than I was, I guess, though. The only problem was then when I had to go to the bathroom, and there was this long line of women, all dressed up in their heels and fancy clothes. I don’t know why it took them so long to go. It ain’t like this was the first time they went. Anyway, I thought if I don’t get in there pretty quick, some of us was going to regret it, so I had to fake a fainting spell.” She chuckled and said, “It looked like Moses parting the Red Sea the way those women let me through. Course it was sort of embarrassing when those medical people came and tried to take me to the hospital. You’d think those people never seen anyone faint before.”
Aunt Lottie got up and started straightening her dress. “I’ll have to tell you the rest some other time, though, because Fred’s probably waiting on me to get home. We’re supposed to go dancing tonight down at the VFW.” She started toward the door, but stopped to do a little bit of a jitterbug for me. “Don’t want to miss that. Bye, boy,” she yelled as she strolled out the door to the red Caddy.
I walked into the kitchen where I found my son laying waste to a turkey sandwich. “How was the game?” I asked trying to keep from smiling. He just looked at me and shook his head. ‘I figured you’d eat at the game.”
“Didn’t have time. Between Aunt Lottie’s fainting spell and then not finding her way back to the seats, I spent most of my time either looking for her and answering the call over the loud speakers. And even when I found her wandering down close to the sidelines, all she said was ‘Boy, you worry too much. I knew where I was the whole time.’ Mother, it was the hardest day of my life.”
I just laughed at him and said, “So I guess you won’t be taking Aunt Lottie to any more football games.”
“Are you kidding? She’s already talking about going again next week. And we’re taking Fred!”
When I went to the store on Monday morning, I bought my son an extra large bottle of vitamin pills and ran them by his apartment. “Here, you’re going to need these.” I laughed as I left.