Sweatin’ out the tailgate toxins

By TIM BEELAND,

By the time we visit in this space again fall will have officially arrived and none too soon for me! However, due to the fact that we live in Mississippi where the heat and humidity doesn’t really pay attention to calendar dates, it is highly unlikely that there will be much difference, climate wise, than this week.

Now that we are two home games into football season on the campus of Mississippi State, our tailgate buddies, and wife Danny and I, are all pretty sure it is either hotter this year or we just get hotter with age and expanding waist lines. Most likely it is the latter of the two, but either way it was warm on Saturday in Starkville.

It was just as warm, or warmer, on Sunday afternoon in Sebastopol but that wasn’t stopping the grass from growing and it certainly wasn’t going to mow itself. I told Danny that I thought I would only cut around the house and the front yard since we didn’t get home and into bed until about 1:00 a.m., but three hours and about a gallon of sweat later the whole yard was done.

As I commented to some friends, there’s nothing like three hours on a mower in this heat and humidity to purge a body of any tailgate toxins it might have accumulated one day prior.

We’ve been tailgating in the same spot with the same core group of friends for about eight years now and seem to think we’ve got it down pat, and for the most part we really do. Some of our kids have grown up and have kids of their own — for the record, mine is grown, but still single and has no children — and some are still in high school and college. They have friends, and their friends have friends, and we older adults have our own friends too, so a Saturday afternoon under our nine-tent spread can get pretty busy at times.

Crowded too, as literally hundreds of maroon and white clad Bulldog fans come and go, and eat and drink, and play games, and sing and dance. It is all great fun and we all look forward to the first home game every year. I dare say we may also grow a bit weary by the time the last home game rolls around, but we haven’t let that deter us. Yet!

Ours is an elaborate spread with a well planned menu each game. This past weekend it was a Cajun feast in recognition of the visiting Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette. There was table after table of spicy food and the aroma from the cast iron pot of jambalaya and rice simmering next to a  a grill laden with shrimp skewers and pork loin and chicken breasts stuffed with crawfish dressing was tantalizing even in the oppressive heat.

A 56-10 Bulldog victory to cap off the evening may not have been the highlight of the day, but winning, even when you are supposed to, is always an added treat. Winning when you are not supposed to, now that makes for a highlight. We’ll find out how that goes as the season progresses.

Fortunately for the older members of our group, us, the season started with alternating weeks home and away which gives us a needed break. We won’t be back on campus until the 29th which should make for an exciting weekend at MSU. That is the date that former Bulldog coach Dan Mullen brings his Florida Gators to town.

Most of us feel like it was time for Mullen to move on last year anyway so we don’t carry too big of a grudge or have ill feelings toward him. But since he did steal some players and coaches, along the way, we sure look forward to seeing them taken down.

I am certain there will be quite a few tailgate toxins that will need sweatin’ out after that game as well! And, I’m sure the grass will be more than willing to oblige.