THE TIDE THAT BINDS
"Sorry, stadium parking lots are closed," the uniformed lady at the gate outside Jordan-Hare told us as we pulled up. "Otherwise," she explained, "everyone and their mother would be out here frying their turkeys."
Thanksgiving at the Hornsby's. Roll, Tide!
Really? Could this be true? If they didn't cordon off the lots, fans would flock to the parking lot outside Auburn's stadium to have Thanksgiving dinner?
As tempting as sitting in a beach chair around a pot of boiling oil sounded, we had already jumped at our first invitation to a traditional Turkey Day feast. Ray Hornsby, the subject of one of our most widely discussed videos, invited us to his Alabama family's home fifty miles away. "Hey guys" he wrote in an email. "If you want to come, here are the directions. There's no address but you'll know you're here when you see the big nativity scene in the front lawn."
He had us at "hey."
The say a house divided cannot stand. Well, a house unified behind Alabama cannot stand Auburn. As we walked the 29 person handshake gamut, Nate asked, "You guys going to the Iron Bowl at Auburn?" "Nah," said Ray, "I can't really be around those people. I prefer to watch it in my own house." The uncles uh-huh'ed in agreement..
As the food was prepped in the kitchen, Nate and I plopped down on the sofa to watch the Lions-Packers game with the guys. The TV was off. "We don't really do pro football around here," explained Ray. The uncles uh-huh'ed.
Ray saved our Thanksgiving from looking like this ominous scene.
So instead we talked. About Alabama football. The possibility of a live elephant mascot, Kenny Stabler, the importance of the Iron Bowl, the college plans of high school senior extraordinaire Julio Jones, Nick Saban's recent comparison of the loss to Louisiana-Monroe to 9/11 -- we covered them all.
Then it was time to give thanks. As we went around the room, collectively we thanked our friends and family, the troops, God. An uncle said,. "I'd like to thank Nick Saban for taking over our program and helping to get the team back on the path to a national championship." Everyone, even the wives, uh-huh'ed.
Nate and I jammed our plates with turkey, stuffing, mac n' cheese and chicken and dumplings. We ate so much there was no room for any of the five different kinds of pies.
While the nation sat comatose, watching two uncompetitive NFL games, we continued to break down Saturday's game like generals in a war room. For 51 weeks, Alabama fans have been waiting for revenge, and now, it's so close they can taste it.
Previously we had thought football was an integral part of our Thanksgivings but now we realize it was just a side dish.
A special thank you to the Hornsby clan for taking two wayward Northerners into their home this Thanksgiving. Without your generosity, we would have ended up sitting in our lonely hotel room, eating Cup O' Soups, and looking at each other funny. Next year, join us in Beantown!