Fans at Auburn’s bowl game had a fine time. Except, maybe, for the very last guy.
Ahh, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, where 7-5 Auburn wore their home blue jerseys to meet an 8-4 Virginia team that wore some bad orange jersey-helmet combo. Where there was a shaker and a plush cow toy at every seat. Also, thousands of them were parachuting from the catwalk. It may have been the largest airborne insertion since Market Garden:
Oh, yes, the football game. Auburn won 43-24.
Auburn’s defense had trouble getting to Virginia’s quarterback and the Tigers started slow. Fortunately, when the QB was on target his receivers weren’t helping. And he missed a few receivers. Still, Virginia would finish with 312 yards passing.
Auburn’s starting quarterback Clint Moseley went out early with a bad ankle.
Kiehl Frazier, 10, scored two touchdowns and had 58 yards rushing. He had the team at the goal line to score again at the end of the game, but the Tigers killed the clock. After the game he said he doesn’t really like rushing. Read: he’d rather be a quarterback than a 3.4 yards per carry novelty act.
Perry Jones had 32 yards for the Cavs, who finished the game 123 yards on the ground.
With Auburn’s Mike Dyer suspended indefinitely from the team, the rushing duties fell to Onterio McCalebb, who finished with 180 yards and a score on 13 total touches and the MVP award and the young Tre Mason, pictured here, who had nine carries, 64 yards and this 22-yard touchdown out of the backfield.
Gabe Wright eats quarterbacks. The freshman’s sack, Auburn’s only one of the night, set up a blocked punt safety that helped turned the game in Auburn’s favor.
Auburn’s Barrett Trotter, who started the first half of the season but was pulled for Clint Moseley midway through the Florida game with injuries mounting and a stalling offense, came on in relief tonight. He finished with 175 yards and a touchdown passing, including a beautiful 50-yard bomb. He looked calm and collected, gaining 52 yards on the ground.
More important than his stats and steady leadership, he received a great compliment from his coach after the game. Gene Chizik told reporters that if his own son grew up to be like Barrett Trotter he would have done his job as a father.
And so the season ends, with players playing in their first bowl game — in the first half! — outnumbering the team’s entire complement of seniors. There were only five seniors who have been on the team since they signed out of high school. There are only about 15 seniors all told, including transfers and walk-ons given scholarships, wearing the orange and blue. The numbers were low because of the usual reasons: injuries, attrition, leaving school, coaching changes and so on.
The seniors have seen Auburn football at its lowest and its highest, coaching change turmoil and a national championship. In their last three years they’ve scratched out 30 wins, three bowl victories, an SEC championship, an Outland award winner, a Heisman and a national championship.
We’re back home after a medium-length evening of mostly uneventful travel. The hour isn’t yet late, but it feels like it somehow. The sun went down in the three minutes from the curb to going inside the airport, and somehow that long exposure to darkness brought along a great deal of melatonin and it makes you a bit tired beyond the hour.
Life is tough, I know.
Actually, there was a bit of turbulence I could have done without. I’m refining my taste on bumpy air. The top to bottom stuff I can handle. The chop that shakes the jet from side to side? You can keep it.
Anyway, we are home. But before we got home, we went to Stew Leonard’s:
They’ve been telling me about this place for years. And earlier this year I finally got to sample the cookies, which I’ve also heard about for years. Today I got to walk around inside the place. (We went for more cookies.)
The lights and the colors make for a very rustic, retro feel. The absence of aisles — it is more of a maze than anything — makes it feel very large. And it is something of an event. I could see shopping here. I could see it being amazing to little kids. I could see getting so annoyed with the place I swore it off forever. I can see me shooting a video here on our next visit.
They call themselves the world’s largest dairy store. Their website boasts of a 1992 entry into The Guinness Book of World Records for having “the greatest sales per unit area of any single food store in the United States.”
They focus almost exclusively on perishable items, leaving things like napkins and paper plates to the big chains. They’ve been refining this model from years, perhaps since they opened in 1969.
In the early 1990s Stew Leonard Sr. was convicted of tax fraud. He fell on his sword to keep his son in the business, but there was something like $17 million in cash register receipts moved through their registers illegally. Another son, meanwhile, had his own tax troubles.
There are some great sites to be seen there. The Leonard operation includes its own dairy farms, so they’re bring the milk straight to the store and bottling it there. There is fresh squeezed orange juice. You can have rice cakes spat at you from their machines. There animatronics playing shows every three minutes.
We saw two uniformed security guards. I am not sure why.
How cute is she?
That’s at the Sesame Place Theme Park in Pennsylvania, when The Yankee was four. I enjoy her childhood pictures. There’s always a great expression, and any where she might have even thought about pouting about picture time have long since been removed.
She confessed to putting specific pictures together in the photo albums. There’s a picture of her sitting with her mother on the piano bench, overlapped with another of her, same outfit, standing nearby with her father.
“That was my ‘I want to be a twin’ phase.”
Her mother, who was looking through the pictures with us, was unaware of this phase. But there it was, every few pages, another scene in the yard, or by the Christmas tree, where she was pretending to be a twin in photographs.
You can’t do that in Flickr.
But you could clone it in Photoshop.
This is Maria:
She runs Tutti’s Ristorante and Pizzeria. I’ve had better Italian, but I had to go to Italy to get it. Her daughter is an aspiring model. Her son is a professional soccer player (though his site seems a bit out of date). He’s now in Serie B in Italy after playing the States, Finland’s Premier Division and Iceland. She’s a proud mom.
This is Chef Pasquale Funicello, a master chef from Sorrento, Italy.
This might be the most dramatic picture I’ve ever managed to take with my phone. Nice little depth of field in the Photoshop app. The light was good, he was leaning in just right and I shot it blind, from the tabletop.
The man makes an incredible marsala.
Anyway, we are home. Allie, the cat, is frantic. I am unpacked. My holiday travels were great, as I hope yours were. Being back in my own kitchen, on my own sofa and looking forward to my own pillow, those are treats too.