The people make the place, even when it is hot

By TIM BEELAND,

The crisp morning air and chilly breeze felt good just before daylight Monday morning as I walked the dogs. It felt like it should feel this time of year. It was just the opposite Saturday in Starkville where we suffered through the heat in the football stadium, and as much or more so beneath the tailgate tents.
Mississippi State played in what I call the looser’s bracket Saturday with an 11:00 a.m. kick off. That’s because our bulldogs had lost the previous two road games and returned home to face the bad slot when it comes to television broadcasting.
Several of the streets on the campus of Mississippi State close down four hours prior to kick off on game days which means you either get there early or you get to walk quite a ways to your tailgate tent. Saturday morning they gave us an extra hour of open roads to allow everybody to pull up and drop off as near as possible to their own tailgate location, but that still wasn’t enough reason to leave Sebastopol at the crack of dawn, be on campus the entire day, and sweat twice as much as necessary.
We opted to walk in.
Walking in is much more difficult than walking out. The ice chest is heavier and the last hundred yards or so is up hill. But, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do and I did my best to lighten the load for the return trip to the parking lot.
But it was definitely hot.
After the game one of our friends was putting out a plate of chocolate cookies and it was almost as if they were fresh out of the oven. A little further down the table I watched the black plastic cover on one of those grocery store veggie trays curl up in the sunlight and adhere it’s self to the ranch dip below.
Beside it there was a big gallon Ziplock bag of boiled peanuts steaming away and, much like those cookies, the peanuts tasted as if they were fresh out of the kettle. I suppose some things just hold up in the heat better than others.
The charcoal was soon fired up and adding to the heat of the day and the smell of grilled chicken wings and sausages was enough to take one’s mind off the thickness of the surrounding air.
Typically by this time of year the shadows of late afternoon are longer and finding a place in the shade isn’t much of a problem, but for some reason Saturday those shady spots were few and far in between.
There were a lot of bright spots in addition to all that good meat on the grill. Somebody brought homemade banana pudding chilled in an ice box — something I personally do not take a liking too, but the folks that do, did, and boy oh boy did they do so with  gusto.
There was plenty of ice cold bottled water. and soft drinks and, of course, Miller High Life — something I do personally take a liking too — to help quench our desert-like thirst on that sweltering October day.
We did win the ball game, and a winning day is much better than a losing day in everybody’s book, regardless of whether you are playing Brigham Young (we were) or Alabama (not yet!). On second thought, I think it might be a little bit better day if you are winning against Alabama. Okay, a lot better day!
In the end, as I said earlier and have said many, many times before, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do, and as if it were some type of consolation, I heard it was hot in Oxford Saturday too!
It has always been the people that make the place anyway, and neither rain, nor heat, nor any other type of foul weather situation will ever change that part.
That said, the weatherman is predicting a high of 79 degrees in Starkville this Saturday. It’s homecoming on campus and the Bulldogs are a 10 point favorite over Kentucky at this writing. And we’ll be back up there to document whether either or both be fact, or whether either or both  be fiction. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do!

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