The Right to Party


Woodruff Wolverines vs. Clinton Red Devils. An ineptly shot photo that looks kind of cool.

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Clinton, S.C., Sunday, November 3, 2013, 11:45 a.m.

Once again, I took Saturday off because blogging fell through the cracks in a day spent cooking chili, watching football, playing guitar, telling outrageous and possibly apocryphal stories, constantly snacking and drinking beer.

I might have dated this old gal in college.

I might have dated this old gal in college.

I’ve been known to tweet and post while drinking, but blogging is where I draw the line. The world is better as a result.

I’ve gone to Presbyterian College football games in consecutive weeks. Those are the two days I’ve also drunk beer. It reminds me of a Steve Earle song: I fell in with this border crowd and took to robbin’ banks.

Actually, this crowd with which I hang outside Bailey Memorial Stadium is thoroughly respectable. I know of nothing illegal that has taken place, with the possible exception of a random board in which it is possible to win a cash prize for having one’s name in the square corresponding with the game’s score. In my case, this enterprise is a charitable donation to others taking part.

When you hot, you hot, and when you not, you not.

Having been sponging off my old buddies for weeks, I brought a big pot of homemade Texas chili. (Hmm, I live in South Carolina. How can it thus be both homemade and Texas? Okay, it must be my homemade version of the chili most often identified with Texas.)

Anyway, the chili was well received, critically acclaimed, and I doubt I’ll have a hankering for it again until about Christmas. I scraped the last of it out of the slow cooker this morning and took it to my mother. I had another bowl of it during the Miami-Florida State game last night. It was great, but it was enough for a while.

The Charleston Southern Buccaneers penned in the Presbyterian Blue Hose.

The Charleston Southern Buccaneers penned in the Presbyterian Blue Hose.

The Blue Hose lost to Charleston Southern, 27-16. I watched the first half with deep interest. At halftime, I walked to my truck in general parking and drove it to the Scotsman Club parking where my friends had set up something too small to be a military encampment but large enough to be the commander’s quarters.

I never quite made it back into the stadium. Watching from a distant slope, we cheered heartily, though as much for the locations of names in little square blanks as support for the embattled Blue Hose.

Uh, we had charcoaled beef and pork, mac and cheese (not charcoaled), lots of cookies, items I never got around to tasting, and a snow-cone machine. Well, it was a glassed-in box with cherry and blue raspberry for Blue Hose Cones and maybe not a bona fide machine. Several dignitaries, one of whom is the president of Presbyterian College, dropped by. Kids threw footballs. Adults threw down a variety of concoctions. I just threw down a variety of beers because beer is easy to measure and I have a laudable sense of decorum. (Yeah, right.)

I marvel at the attention to detail of the wondrous wives getting little cooperation from husbands preoccupied with football and spirits. The women have Spirit. The men enjoy spirits.

I don’t drink much, but when I do, I do it well. I needed coffee to get through the Saturday-night games on TV, but, in retrospect, I would’ve needed coffee for those games anyway. I did go to sleep a bit early and was listening, not watching, as I tumbled off during the ending of Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris on “Austin City Limits.”

Meanwhile, in faraway Statesboro, Ga., Furman was edging Georgia Southern, 16-14, which brought great joy when word arrived in Clinton via my Twitter feed. Next week, I think I shall go watch the Paladins.

Old footage reminds the Red Devils of their legacy.

Old footage reminds the Red Devils of their legacy.

12:25 p.m.

Another reason to celebrate was the continued resurrection of the Clinton Red Devils, whose turnaround has been extraordinary. Once 0-6, CHS completed its regular season 4-6, 4-1 in Region 3, 3A, and is slated to host to A.C. Flora of Columbia in the first round of the playoffs.

The latest conquest was Woodruff, an opponent of great historical significance, by a score of 42-34. Save for a few testy moments, the Red Devils were mainly in control the whole way. For many years, the Wolverines and Red Devils played each year in the season opener, but now they are regionally aligned and play the final game.

Many years ago, Sandy Cruickshanks and I broadcast Clinton games on WPCC-AM, 1410 on your dial if that dial is in the southern part of Laurens County. It’s true, however, that I used to listen to Clinton on the Internet from hotel rooms in places like Fort Worth, where, owing to the end of my NASCAR-writing career, I am not right now.

Anyway, Sandy and I once broadcast a Clinton-Flora game from the municipal stadium in Columbia on a Thursday night, where my chief memory is of there being more policemen present than fans of the home team.

Thus am I especially glad the coming game is in Clinton. As best I know, Flora is still the Falcons and still wears baby blue and red, but I’m sure I’ll know that when The Clinton Chronicle is published on Wednesday.

12:35 p.m.

The impasse between me and my publisher, which I did not know existed until I got an email during the first half of the Charleston Southern-Presbyterian game, has now ended.

In hindsight, it was yet another rationalization for my drinking.

I’m not going to go crazy again unless two boxes of my novel, newer to me than to many who have already received it from, do not arrive by Wednesday. At that time will I sign copies and insert them into padded envelopes that have been stacked on the loveseat in my living room for more than a week. For those of you awaiting shipment of The Intangibles from here, I’ll get them there at my earliest opportunity and apologize because I thought my earliest opportunity would be much earlier.

There’s no need to bore you with details, but this has been more of an ordeal for me than you, and it will soon be over, and my ability to sell my book will be unfettered by lack of communication and needless delay.

Now it’s the Kindle edition of The Intangibles that is “coming soon.” As soon as it officially becomes “soon,” I’ll let you know. The lesson is that I should wait to open the floodgates until water is behind them.

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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