September 11th 2015 I found my self stranded in an airport. My flight on United had been delayed on the runway at LaGuardia and we landed 10 minutes before the flight from Philly to Memphis was scheduled to depart. Five other passengers and I ran from the B terminal to the A terminal hoping to get on our connecting flight. We were momentarily relieved when we noticed that the plane was still there. However, the smiling agent at the desk informed us that United’s policy is that they close the doors 10 minutes prior to departure and it is impossible for them open the doors and let us on. Really? One passenger proceeded to get very angry. They would probably have to remove him from the airport I thought.
When it was my turn, I started to cry. Real tears. It had been a rough couple of weeks. My husband had died 2 weeks ago. I explained to the ticket agent that I needed to get to Mississippi to see my son. It was parent’s weekend, he was a freshman and he really needed to have me there. She smiled sympathetically and searched her computer. She said she could confirm a ticket for me on the 6 pm flight to Memphis. I said I would take it. It was only 9 am and I decided it was time for a Bloody Mary.
After getting a bite to eat and my second bloody mary I decided this would probably not be the best way to spend the next 9 hours. I decided to walk around and maybe do a little shopping. My first stop was at a sunglass store. I recalled that my sunglasses were a bit scratched up and I could use some nice ones. Of course, tomorrow was the big football game at Ole Miss. I had received the email that stated tomorrow was “Blue” day at the Ole Miss game and we should all wear blue. I tried on a few sunglasses and settled for a beautiful pair of Tory Burch shades that were of course blue and the sales lady told me looked very attractive on my face.
Next I wandered a bit and discovered that this airport had a nail salon. Perfect! I had time. I could have my nails painted blue. I would show those people in Mississippi that I have school spirit! There was a 2 hour wait which was just fine with me. They let me sit in a massage chair and I watched several episodes of Frankie and Grace on my iphone before it was my turn. My nails were a beautiful shade of Navy when I was finished and I was ready to fit in with my son’s new home town.
The rest of the day was uneventful and my flight to Memphis left on time. I checked into my Super 8 motel room in Oxford, Mississippi around 11:00 pm and was excited to see my son at the Grove at Ole Miss in the morning. Saturday morning I put on my new navy blue t-shirt that said “Ole Miss Mom”, my blue jeans and my blue flip flops and I arrived at the “Grove” for the tailgate party promptly at 9:00 am. The game was at 1:00 and the school had secured a tent for parents who paid in advance to pregame, have some good southern food and participate in one of the biggest tailgate scenes in College Football.
Well at 9:00 am it was pretty much a ghost town. There were some tents set up but I did not see many people. I walked around for a while. I got a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in the student union. I checked out the sales in the book store that opened at 10.
And then it started around 11.
The tents began to fill with students and alumni. The smells of pulled pork and barbeque started to drift through the air. The generators were humming as television sets gave the days predictions on who would win which games in college football.
The team arrived. They exited the bus to the sounds of the marching band playing fight songs and “I wish I were in Dixie”. The cheerleaders waved their pom poms. The Football players proudly marched through the tents in the Grove and high fived enthusiastic fans along the way. The people were excited.
Are You Ready? someone would should out. Then the entire crowd would cheerfully exclaim Hell Ya and a whole lot of other words which are part of the Ole Miss culture that everyone here knows. It was quite fascinating and I thought wow I totally love this.
Then I looked around.
There is something about the south and women that I did not know about since I grew up in New York. I should have tried to remember that scene from the movie “The Help” when all those posh southern women weren’t letting that other lady into their club. I don’t recall why they didn’t like her but I do recall that they all acted and looked alike. I noticed that all the young college girls were really dressed up nicely. They had on really cute dresses in different shades of blue. Their hair was neatly straightened or curled and the make up! I saw more fake eyelashes and red lipstick on these girls than I had ever seen in my life. Their feet were adorned in expensive sandals and stylish cowboy boots.
They looked like they were going to the prom, not like they were going to a football game.
I went over to the parent tent for a bite to eat before the game. Those southern belles were everywhere! The moms were wearing cute dresses, heels and had red or pink fingernails! Their makeup was impeccable and their jewelry was expensive. Their hair was done up perfectly, not a strand out of place. Their husbands were even dressed up. Some of the men even wore pants that had embroidered stars or golf clubs on them. Blue collared shirts, fancy printed belts with words Ole Miss or the Colonel Rebel on them and expensive shoes were adorned by well groomed alumni. Finally my son found me. He was handsome as always, but this time he was wearing a blue blazer, light blue cotton button down shirt , khaki pants and brown shoes. Where was I, I wondered? I looked down at my old jeans, blue flip flops and blue toenails and knew I somehow missed the boat on this one. I enjoyed my pulled pork, corn casserole and punch then followed the crowd toward the stadium.
The Ole Miss Rebels won the game, 72-0. My son and I enjoyed a fun dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings that evening. I did learn one lesson. That cowboy boots look just fine with skirts and so for the October home game that I also attended, I stopped at a boot store in Nashville on my way to Ole Miss so that I would be properly attired. And I was.