After a wonderful night’s sleep in site #69 at DeSoto State Park we had breakfast, took the dogs for a long walk and then hit the road to drive the 70 miles from the park to Jacksonville State University.
The Gamecock’s mascot is named Cocky. Apparently his recent claim to fame is that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is requesting that JSU drop this 60 year old mascot because “The Gamecocks are named after the birds used in cockfighting,a hideous 'blood sport' that, like spousal abuse, bank robbery, and driving while intoxicated, is illegal in Alabama."…and he looks like such a nice bird!
Fellow GD employee, Bonnie Walker and her husband Bob, have a daughter playing saxophone in the band so they are regulars at the games. Bonnie and I first met a decade ago when GD took over her company in Syracuse and I was involved in the transition to move the operation to a new plant in Peachtree City, GA. It was really nice to see them as its been a long time since I’ve been to Peachtree.
This was a really important game since if EIU lost, we would not make the DI-AA playoffs.
It was also a special game for us since, our good friends, the Ellsworth’s, Dave and Donna and their son Brian, were coming over from Ackworth, GA, to join us. Ken had even convinced them at the last minute to spend the night with us.
Once again, the teams gave us a really exciting game, with their never being more than a touchdown difference until the last three minutes when one of Trevor’s fellow D-Lineman intercepted the ball and ran it back 40 yards to give us a 14 point lead.
Twice in this game, after great touchdown plays, the Panthers were charged with penalties for ‘excessive celebration’, so to say the guys were pumped up for this game would be an understatement!
After the game, as is tradition with these guys, the team came over to the parent’s to sing us their victory song.
Before he came down to visit with us Trevor was pulled aside for a newspaper interview.
He was able to spend a little time with us, visiting with Donna, Brian and Dave Ellsworth.
Fellow D-Tackles Jeff Sobel and Andre Lima, Trev’s future roommates, came down to visit with us for awhile as well.
The Defensive unit is a really tight group of guys who had a particularly good day against JSU.
We split up in vehicles, girls and guys, on the drive back to the state park, so Donna and I got plenty of time to get caught up on girl-talk. We decided that since it was nearly dark by the time we arrived back at the rig, and was definitely cooling off, we’d try out the food at DeSoto State Park’s Lodge rather than grill out.
This particular night the lodge had both buffet dining or ordering off menu. We all went for the buffet and some great fried chicken, roast pork, and fixin’s along with peach cobbler for dessert.
Having been in the cool breeze all day at the game, we couldn’t interest anyone in a campfire but instead the guys ended up playing cards inside while Donna and I sort of watched a movie but mostly continued our chatter.
Sox was really glad to see Brian again, and left little question about who she planned to sack out with for this evening.
I knew that Dave and Brian weren’t looking forward to the cold night so I guess I went a little overboard in trying to insure everyone had enough bedding and blankets. It got to be a joke among the rest of the group. Dave and Donna took the sofa bed while we laid out the dinette into a bed for Brian. Later, while we were in our bed Ken grabbed his phone and I heard a phone ring in the next room. Ken asked Donna if she for sure had enough blankets…ok…enough already!!
Sunday was Ken’s 55th birthday. We’d planned to take him to the lodge for breakfast but since we went there the night before we let him cook us all breakfast!
It was another beautiful morning so we all took a long after-breakfast walk through the campgrounds and then
Enjoyed some time out under the awning. No one needed blankets… ;-)
Late morning, the Ellsworth’s left for the drive back to Atlanta.
Ken decided his favorite way to spend his birthday would be a nice drive through the canyon to enjoy the fall colors, so we laid out the maps and made our plan.
I’ll save all the great sights for my next installment of this ‘trip report’!