Dear Readers ~
I hear rainwater falling through the downspouts in the gutter system gurgling as it deposits to its final destination underneath foliage around the sorority house. Quenching thirsty plants makes our groundskeeper's job much easier as roots grow deeper before the scorching heat settles in this summer. The splashing of tires meeting water puddles as cars pass on Lumpkin Street in front of the house promises a tranquil ambiance as I begin my column to you.
Attending the Masters with my sister, Jennifer, was a huge treat. We met at her friend’s house in Augusta near the tournament and used her father-in-law’s passes that morning for the final round on Palm Sunday. It was one of those perfect spring days. Nice breeze, no bugs, clear skies. And though the University of Georgia’s Bubba Watson did not make the cut, there were plenty of golfers to follow. I had seen Fred Couples play in past tournaments, but found that I could still enjoy his handsome self again and appreciate his “senior” athleticism. My nephew, Kendrick, and his girlfriend used the passes for the afternoon and I listened to play on the radio while heading back to Athens. As it would happen, it was un-freaking-believable (my term) ... when Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were on the 18th hole and I traveled beyond listening range! Not being able to find it on another station, I called my father to relay the tournament’s final leaderboard scoring. Exciting ending with Garcia winning in a playoff for his first major title victory.
There is something special to me about attending Easter sunrise service and celebrating the risen Lord. For the first time in my life, I did so in a cemetery on top of a hill instead of at the lake. It was a beautiful ceremony and a perfect morning as the sun shouted over the horizon that a new day had begun while worshipers sang “Christ the Lord Has Risen Today.”
Georgia just had the annual spring G-Day football game and Daddy came up. He had not seen a game between the hedges in several years due to Mama’s Alzheimer’s. He has always said that Mama supported him when he was in college and changed her allegiance from Florida to Georgia after they were married. With season football tickets since 1962 until last season, my parents enjoyed many many fall Saturdays tailgating in Athens with several of their children and/or friends. As he has gotten older, watching the games on TV has become more convenient and Mama can “watch” the game with him. Without the pre-game frenzy associated with a normal home game, Daddy got the Bulldog “bug” and decided to attend this year’s spring game since I live a couple of blocks from the stadium. Plus, his “ladies” who help take care of Mama could team up during his brief absence. As it happened, during our walk to the stadium, the buses with the players pulled up - as if on cue - so we were able to watch them disembark before heading into that grand stadium as the band played Georgia fight-song music that will always be in my blood. Daddy and I had great seats in the shade. Another one of those perfect spring days!
The whirl-wind of activities around the sorority house at this time of year could literally make your head swirl. Formals. Semiformals. Philanthropic events. Studies. Finals. Rush preps. Moving (out) day. Plans for moving in. Recognition dinners. Superlatives. And guess who received “Best House Mom Ever?” ... I was thrilled!
Mother’s Day is next weekend. This year presents a bit of a different perspective to me as I have been a “mother” to 67 in-house AXO sorority girls. Being a parent must be the toughest job in the whole world, but being a house mom to those girls has been one of the grandest opportunities in my life. The events within these walls have run the gamut of hilarious through sweet admiration and everything in between. I am amazed at how much Greek life offers for “my” young women and the opportunities for them to learn leadership and life skills. One of our members won homecoming queen and another was just elected as the Student Government VP. I am bragging and I certainly can understand better now why moms do. I am so proud!
You are reading this after the first leg of the triple crown was held yesterday. I will have hosted a Kentucky Derby party in celebration for what is considered the “most exciting two minutes in sports.” I still use an invitation that I drew originally for a steeplechase over 30 years ago. Horse racing is a majestic sport and I find that Churchill Downs is a beautiful racetrack where I have sported some of my favorite hats.
As I close, I do so with a bit of nostalgic melancholy. Daddy mentioned during his recent visit to Athens that this one would probably be the last for him in the stadium. It was all I could do to hold back tears in front of him. He loves college football and especially his Bulldogs. And, I have been watching games with him since I was a toddler when he was in school in Athens. I have had so many wonderful memories with my father around Georgia football including his patient description of plays as they unfolded on the field. It helped in later years when I wrote about or briefly broadcasted sports. He shared that, when he lived in Hartwell at the age of 12, he would hitch-hike to Athens and climb over the stadium fence so he could see the game in person. Can you imagine that today? Different times!
Springtime annual events occur ... the Masters, Easter, G-Day, graduation, the Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day ... I am so thankful that God has blessed me with parents who are still living and good friends with whom I may continue to share some of these annual traditions. Enjoy yours and Happy Mother’s Day!
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at [email protected] To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at [email protected]