Early bird gets the ….

My wife was sending a text message to our son Joe in Memphis.

Jenny hardly ever texts, and we were sitting in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the campus of the University of Mississippi. I was curious.
“What did you write?” I asked when she was finished.
She showed me the screen on her phone: “We are at the game two hours early. Some things never change.”
Well, she had me there. We were sitting in our seats at 9:25 a.m. Saturday, and the kickoff was set for 11:21. There were not more than a dozen fans in the whole place, other than the concessions and event staff.
But we had never been to a game in Oxford, and I didn’t know what to expect. I had been told that many thousands of people would be there to tailgate early in the Grove, and parking near the campus might be a problem.
So we left New Albany at 8 a.m., thinking traffic would move at a snail’s pace. My first clue that we might be a little early came when there were few cars on Highway 30 West. We just zipped along.
And when we got to Oxford, there were only about 10 cars in the Oxford Mall lot, a place we were told would be a good spot to park if you didn’t have a reserved spot on campus.
It was a beautiful, brisk morning, though, and we enjoyed the walk up the hill to the campus. When we got to the Grove, there seemed to be about as many tailgating tents as people. It didn’t take us long to meander through the area. I guess a morning game is not everyone’s favorite for tailgating.
All of that is a long-winded explanation for why we were in our seats two hours early. At least that’s my explanation. Jenny’s explanation is that I’m a “little obsessive about being late.”
She reminded me that we arrived 90 minutes early for the first New Albany football game, and an hour early for a play at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the Ole Miss campus. The theater wasn’t open and we had to sit in the lobby for 30 minutes.
One good thing about arriving early at the Ole Miss game was that we didn’t have to stand in line at the concession stand. After a couple of minutes in our seats, we went looking for what friends had told us was the best food choice: nachos with lots of pulled pork, nacho cheese, barbecue sauce and red spicy peppers.
Ooh, yum. The nachos turned out to be the best thing about our football experience. That’s because Jenny is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and her Wildcats lost.
Kentucky losing the game wasn’t the worst thing for me, though. It’s the bad sunburn I have on my bald head.
Jenny’s not very sympathetic:
“It’s your own fault for getting to the game two hours early,” she said.
I hate it when she’s right.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com. 

About Chris Elkins

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