Friday, January 29, 2010

"I need a little 'Twang'!"

early this morning I was walking down Murfreesboro Rd. here in Music City and powder snowflakes were falling all around me. Shortly they fell harder and began to weave a blanket of white on the Nashville ground.

Meanwhile, I passed a Chevy dealership just a couple blocks from my residence. Filling the air audibly as the snowflakes filled it visually was the country music that the car dealership always has blaring out from its P.A. system. I've heard some good tunes whenever I've passed it since it opened. The song of the moment was "Twang".

My wife says she hates "Twang", and yes, it's not one of the Strait man's best efforts. Indeed, the arrangement would sound better fitted for a voice like, say, the other, older George or Chesney or Lawrence. On the other hand, the Strait man could release a recording of himself snoring and I'd buy it!

On the other hand, too, whoever would be singing it, "Twang" is my anthem of the moment! You see, as a boy growing up in Boise -- and during pre-teen years living a mile away from radio station that was to Idaho what WSM is to the Southeast, i.e. strong wattage & strong country music -- I absolutely loathed country music. I dissed it as "that twangy stuff on the radio!"

Then going to University of Idaho and joining Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity I had half my brothers there being farm-boys from Whitman Co. WA, and that was their music. Had to learn to tolerate it. From there it's been a step-by-step progression to where I love country (& Western) music most of all. The traditional type country music became my favorite sub-genre. You know, with fiddle and/or steel guitar. I love that steel guitar! ! !

Back in the Nineties I was reminiscing about the development of my love for country music and realized that the steel guitar had become my favorite instrument in that genre. AND that this was the "twang" in the music I had loathed as a boy! So-o-o-o. . .

" I need a little twang! A little hillbilly bendin' on some guitar strings!
" Some pedal steel whinin' like the whistle of an old freight train!
" To get that foot stompin' honky-tonkin' feelin' going thru my veins!
" I need a little twang, twang, twa-a-a-anggg! "

Hey, somebody show me to the Station Inn!

Well, I sure got a little "Twang" last evening

The Station Inn is touted as one of the music landmarks of Music City. It's been a stage for acoustic music -- Americana, bluegrass, country-traditional -- for around four decades, according to what WSM-AM 650 says, and "The Legend" should know. To celebrate this the radio station commenced one of two new shows at the little tavern. It's called the "Station Inn Sessions", and the first session on the airwaves for A.D. 2010 was Thursday evening.

ON WSM I'd heard "Sessions" host Mike Terry describe the featured acoustic group for the evening, "The Westbound Rangers" as students from Belmont University here, and other details of interest to yours truly. So being free for the moment, I took myself over to Twelfth Ave. South at Eleventh Ave. South -- yes, the latter bends to run into the former -- to have a look 'n listen.

Well, the four young guys were terrific! The foursome are still Belmont students -- what'll happen to them upon graduation? And they use the standard instruments of a bluegrass quartet: upright acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo. They did some traditional and very old bluegrass and string band numbers; the one that impressed me most was "Old Plank Road". I'd heard the recording of it by Uncle Dave Macon, and feel these young fellows' cover was worthy of it. They also played songs off their debut album, and at least one for a prospective second.

As I told Mike Terry at one point, "I'm really impressed with these guys! What they lack in the finesse of years of experience, they make up for in the fire of their freshness!" They may not be Nashville Bluegrass Band -- yet -- but give 'em time, dear reader (and listener).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Icon - in the Sky even! - Retires

As the Year of Our Lord 2010 got started and got running into the usual work weeks, I noticed on WSM-AM 650, that traffic reports were not being provided by Richard Thomas, who had done this duty since before I moved to Tennessee the first time (mid-summer A.D. 1983). And when the traffic reporter on duty was introduced, it wasn't with something like "filling in for Richard, who's on vacation, is" so-and-so. I suspected that the silence indicated that Richard had retired.

Retirement is usually a planned and welcome transition in a working person's life. But I knew that if true of Richard Thomas it would be sad for me and many others. Richard and his little Cessna have been an icon in the sky over Music City for decades! Over the course of my extended sojourns in Middle Tennessee, listening to his WSM traffic reports had been entertaining and at times had provided very helpful information. I remember that during one of the phases of widening Interstate 40 east of downtown, there had been an evening "rush hour" report -- why do they call it "rush hour" when driver generally creep along at those times rather than rush? -- that Richard commenced with "On I 40 we have invasion of the rubber-neckers, due to an accident in front of Percy Priest Dam!"

The other thing that's fixed in my mind is that over the years his reports have chronicled, in a way, the growth of metropolitan Nashville, as the "hot spots" of traffic move out away from the inner city along with the growth of the suburbs. For example, to the south along IH 65, where the greatest growth has been, I can remember in the early years Richard would use the names of Concord Road and Moores Lane with frequency. But since I returned here in Ought Eight his "buzz locations" have been Highway 96 intersection in Franklin and more often "Goose Creek-Peytonsville (Road)" further south. I was ready to start hearing constant references to the IH 65 and Loop 840 intersection - even further out south. But that didn't get to happen.

I finally broke down a few days ago, phoned Bill Cody on the "Coffee Country & Cody" wake-up show and asked what had happened to Richard. I think I even couched my query in terms of had he retired. Bill paused and then answered solemnly that something bad had happened to him; after another pregnant pause, he added, "He's in prison." Now, I've listened on air to "Buffalo Bill" (as he was often called years ago on San Antonio's KKYX) for quite some time and interacted with him during several live-audience sessions of the show; I was sure that he was pulling my leg. He admitted that it was so, and that my guess that the "sky guy" had retired was correct. He added that they had wanted to have a proper send-off for Richard, but he had been quite ill. At earliest opportunity they would invite him into the studio and do it.

Well, this became a "done deed" today. Richard Thomas was in the studio for awhile, and let me tell you, dear reader, that he sounded totally different on the ground than doing the reports from his little airplane. Totally different! A couple of callers-in and Bill's sidekick Charlie Mattos all remarked about this. All the callers I heard wished Richard well and expressed that we listeners were going to miss him. Especially those who rely on the reports for their drive-time commutes. He has a successor doing traffic reports, of course, but Richard's personality cannot be duplicated.

We will indeed miss Richard Thomas flying the sky-ways over Nashville and giving his traffic reports over the airwaves of WSM. Happy retirement, Richard!

Monday, January 25, 2010

No "Magic" at Memorial Gym

"Memorial Gym Magic" is a phrase that should be familiar to followers and supporters of Vanderbilt University basketball, and lifelong residents of Nashville. It refers to how the Commodores round-ball teams seem to always win in the friendly and unique home environment of the campus main gymnasium. Memorial Gym is unique because the two team benches are not on the side lines but rather at the end lines, and the audience seating to the sides goes lower than the playing floor -- making for an effect that you're watching the game being played on a stage!

Hm-m-m-m! To watch university sports being played in a place that resembles a place for musical or drama performances. Shall we call this "Music City USA meets the Athens of the South"?

Yesterday, Sunday, at the conclusion of another blessed time of worship in Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples), fellow member Bob Frech told me he had an extra ticket for the afternoon game, featuring the VU women's team. The Frech family are strong supporters of Vanderbilt athletics even tho' none attended or worked at the university. So I went with Bob and his dad Soapy to the game. As we crossed the floor -- the "stage" -- I chose to pause by the broadcasters' tables and inquire about my friend Charlie Mattos. Shortly I saw him crossing the floor toward me, attired in a purple turtleneck. We greeted each other and chatted briefly about various matters, and I complimented him on the turtleneck.

The Frech family's season seats are right behind the opposing team's bench -- I think because Bob likes to heckle them. Just a little heckling; Bob's a good Christian gentleman! We not only had to our left a pep band this time (other games I'd been to recently were during the holiday break, with student body absent) but a good-size pep band. As in no less than five sousaphones, etc.

Then, at halftime I was interviewed by a young woman student, for a communications course of some sort. She asked such questions as my association with Vanderbilt athletics (wife Ellen received a BA here in 1976 and I an MA in '88), who my favorite players are (Hannah Tuomi and Meredith Marsh), how many games I'd attended (not en'uf, only 3 or 4).... She concluded the interview with standard invitation to the interviewee (me) for final comment. To which I replied, "Go, Commodores!"

With that I scooted back to my seat to see a neat and very different halftime show. It was the very end of an exhibition of oversize mascot types, accompanying Mr. Commodore. As these were then leaving the floor -- the "stage" -- the Mighty Raptors came out. They are special needs students formed into a cheerleading unit. Bob Frech told me as we watched that some of them are from the school where he teaches, Station Camp HS in nearby Sumner County. I replied that my very first sub-teaching assignment when I lived in San Antonio was the Life Skills class at Lanier HS, and I quickly came to love those special students! Surely it took patience, time and understanding by their trainers, but the members' enthusiasm and effort matched any bunch of cheerleaders I've seen! Did I say, "Go, Commodores"? Well, how about "Go, Mighty raptors!"

But alas! the magic didn't happen in Memorial Gym for the hoopsters this afternoon! The Vanderbilt women had surged ahead 10-2 to open the game against the women of Mississippi State. But the visitors, who had bested the VU women earlier in Mississippi, soon took the lead and never relinquished it. So I got to be present and watch my first ever loss. Final score was MSU women 65, VU women 66.

Later, in the evening I got some small consolation, in that I attended a supper for Building Lives, a local veterans aid organization, hosted by Clark Memorial UMC. This historic Methodist church, Afro-American but United Methodist rather than of the African Methodist denominations, is located off Jefferson on Fourteenth Avenue, near the Fisk University campus, but its earlier sanctuary still stands on Fourth Avenue a few blocks south of the Schermerhorn Concert Hall. The food was delicious, and leader and mentor Tim Gregath gave a brief presentation on a program Building Lives will provide soon, a version of Dave Ramswy's financial self-help instruction.

But what caught my attention the most was one of the many plaques on the wall of the Clark Memorial UMC fellowship hall where this all took place. It was a plaque recognizing folks who'd contributed $1000 or more to the restoration of the historic facility. Among the names was that of Edward Temple. I asked and got confirmation that this is none other than the famous Coach Ed Temple of women's track and field at nearby (but not nearly as close as Fisk!) Tennessee State University. A historically black state institution, TSU is alma mater of the famous Olympic runner Wilma Rudolph. And Coach Ed Temple was her coach! A street that passes just east of the TSU campus is named in his honor. I was further informed that he not only is very much alive but very much active in the congregation!

Being a lover of track and field even more than I love basketball, baseball or football, and one who cherishes the memory of the late Wilma Rudolph and her inspiring story, this tidbit of information fascinated me. As in "Wow!" So I concluded my evening at Clark Memorial by touring the sanctuary. I found it a rather small one but beautiful in its tradition appearance. Especially the dark-stained wooden rafters supporting the cathedral ceiling above me.

So despite the loss by the Vandy women, yesterday was a very good, memorable Sunday, sandwiched between two good churches. In the Buckle of the Bible Belt even!

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Coffee Country & Cody" at Hall of Fame - again!

This morning WSM-AM 650 presented the monthly live-audience show of the station's wake-up show in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. And so for the second time in less than four days I was inside the Ford Theater there. The first time was Tuesday evening for Eddie Stubbs' WSM show "Intimate Evening" (see the report posted immediately before this). Now it's "Coffee Country & Cody", to which I like to add "AND Charlie" because I strongly feel that sidekick Charlie Mattos is as crucial to show's success as is host Bill Cody.

As I walk into the Hall of Fame building a pretty, petite young lady passes me going out. While I pause in the lobby to shed my overcoat she re-enters, heading for the theater with a fiddle case and bow in hand. This clues me in that she was one of Bill and Charlie's guests. Shortly I learn that she's none other than Amanda Shires! Of the many musical ladies that the Cody show has introduced to me over the airwaves, Amanda is probably my favorite. One reason is that she's from Mineral Wells and Lubbock and hi-lites the West Cross Timbers region of Texas (where the former city sits) on her most recent recorded album.

Amanda Shires gave us reason to become bigger fans of her - literally! She carried in a quantity of home-made snickerdoodles, of which I got to sample one. Yum, yum!

Well, if I get goose-bumps from this unexpected proximity to Amanda, SHE gets goose-bumps from playing fiddle alongside today's first live Guest for the show, Michael Martin Murphey. Amanda and her fiddle accompany him in a medley of his hit songs -- not including "Wildfire" (which I picked up that he had sung before I entered). Murphey's other songs are off his "Buckaroo Blue Grass" album, and he finishes his portion of the show with one song off the soon-to-be-released Buckaroo BG II album.

Next Guest is Moe Bandy. At the earliest break (from the broadcast of the show) I make bold to request my favorite Bandy hit, "Americana" which is definitely third fave on my personal list of all-time favorite country hit songs after "Crazy Arms" (#2) and "Love Without End Amen" (#1). The first song done live by Moe is "Too Old to Die Young", probably my second fave on the Bandy song list. Later Bill Cody has a recording of "Bandy the Rodeo Clown" aired. Moe remarks on the origin of the song's lyrics and how Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer came to write these. Two details strike me. First, that Moe's brother was a rodeo cowboy (Moe jokingly says he quit the rodeo circuit after two head injuries). (Thus neither Bandy brother was a clown.) Second, that at the time the song came out Moe was seeking not just a hit song but a gig in which to play. On that latter Bill comments perceptively that a place to do a gig isn't hard to find in THIS town!

Finally, Moe strums his guitar, singing "Americana". By the end of the first refrain and start of second verse my head's leaking. This song affects me so that I found it hard to sing along on the second refrain (Moe invited us to sing along second time around on chorus of "Too Old" as well as "Americana"). One reason I find the song so powerful is that I can remember my first hearing of it on the airwaves (or one of the first). I still can picture that I was driving alone in the afternoon on a narrow road in an isolated wooded area with undergrowth more lush than rank. Strange thing is I cannot place it otherwise. I want to associate this hearing of "Americana" with our 1992-94 residence in Devine, Texas -- which makes sense in that it's is a small town off a superhighway, the song's setting. But there's no place near Devine that would have a wood with tall trees and lush undergrowth. So was it in rural Leon County outside Tallahassee (1991-92)? When I asked him, Moe said the song hit the airwaves in 1988 - which is while we lived in Nashville the first time. So it COULD be that my memory of the location is a rural area outside Music City USA!

. Americana - pictures of a people proud and free.
. Americana - I'll keep holdin' to the dream.
. You're still what livin' means to me!

The last Guest on "Coffee Country & Cody -- AND Charlie! -- was songwriter (Jay) Fred Knoblock. He was there to promote a series of concerts at the Bluebird Café (a major gig for musical performers in this city) all thru January, to benefit the Alive Hospice program. Gina Killeborn of Alive Hospice was present also regarding this. Fred will be one of the artists on tonite's concert at the Bluebird. Like Michael and Moe, he too picked guitar and sang. One of his songs celebrated his home State (also birth State of Moe) "Feels Like Mississippi". The lyircs were so evocative and the melody so smooth that it caused me to vaguely wish I'd been raised in the Magnolia State too!

On the other hand, Moe's "Americana" echoes thru my mind. I've lived for significant lengths of time in three widely-separated States, and otherwise in three more of these United States. I love this country - all of it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another "Intimate Evening" at Hall of Fame

Eddie Stubbs, deejay on WSM-AM 650, emcee on the Grand Ole Opry show, and all-around fountain of information about the history of country music, had his monthly "Intimate Evening" show last night. It was in the Ford Theater of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. George Hamilton IV, who is soon to celebrate 50 years as member of the Opry cast, was Eddie's Guest, and I was one in the audience.

This was my third attendance at the "Intimate Evening", and since at the second the unreliable Nashville MTA made me late (see blog post of 3 September 2009), I made sure to take a bus early in the evening. To pass time I browsed in the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway, where a candle burned in memory of the just-deceased country music icon Carl Smit. Then I strolled the block over to Demonbreun Street and entered the Hall of Fame. A long line of audience guests lined the walls of the lobby and listened to David Andersen, styled the "Ambassador of Music City", play classic country hit tunes on his guitar.

Once we entered and got seated I saw that the auditorium was over two thirds full. To my surprise Eddie and I were not the only men dressed in suits and ties; there were quite a few others. Even songwriter John Loudermilk sported a necktie. He wrote George Hamilton IV's earliest hit, the pop standard "A Rose and a Baby Ruth". We also learned during the show that not only George IV and son George V who sings with his dad had their family present (including young George VI), but also in attendance were some members of their church in Williamson Country including clergy!

The song that opened the show once broadcasting over WSM commenced at seven, was "Break My Mind" -- which I hadn't even associated with George IV! While the recording was still airing the Opry star himself came out to sit near Eddie. He wore his current standard apparel: a blue and white checkered or windowpane shirt and two pieces of a dark blue three-piece suit; the vest bore a Roman numeral IV. Three chairs in the stage area gave clear clue that George V would at some time be in the show.

Much of the show was Eddie interviewing George IV, and also John Loudermilk (about the background to "A Rose and a Baby Ruth") and George V. The senior George is touted as "The International Ambassador of Country Music", and we learned that this was due to a BBC fellow years ago. George IV has traveled and sung in almost as many countries overseas as he hasn't -- he did admit he's never performed in South America (which he regrets). In 1974 he got to perform in the former Iron Curtain satellite of Czechoslovakia -- and then in the very capital of the USSR itself! He told some wonderful anecdotes that showed how music is truly an international language that overcomes borders and artificial barriers. For me his testimony also seconded what a visit years ago to an exhibit of Russian religious art had taught me. Atheistic communism was doomed to fall sooner or later and the USSR vanish, because the Russians and their neighbors have deep spiritual roots.

As deeply moving as was his account of the visit behind the former Iron Curtain, I think the highlight of the evening happened when the two Georges took guitars and played and sang live a song written by George V. Live performance is hardly ever done during an "Intimate Evening" session! The song was "We Will Meet Again", a beautiful, sung testimony to hope and faith. They dedicated it to Carl Smith, whose funeral had been that day down in Williamson County.

Then, as if one live song wasn't enough, toward the end the father and son duet sat up on the stools again, guitar in hand and did "Forever Young" as a finale. I'd heard the two sing this song more than once while listening to the Opry. And now I was being blessed with "Forever Young" being done right before my eyes, not twenty feet away!

But wait one minute, the show wasn't over yet. (In fact, it ran overtime, to about seven after nine.) George V produced a gift for Eddie: a poster with rural emblems and the words "Think globally, act hillbilly." Laugh out loud! He spoke of how he had difficulty getting approval for the concept of the poster, because it was feared folk would find it offensive (due to the "hillbilly" word). But it took off like a rocket when finally available. And George V added that many of the customers were businessmen in suits and ties! Let me tell you, dear reader, yours truly wouldn't mind possessing a copy of "Think globally, act hillbilly." It really appeals to me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brotherhood - ΛΧΑ - in Music City USA

Last evening I found my way over to the West End side of Vanderbilt University. On the way I looked up and amid the swiftly-blown clouds in the dusky sky saw a waxing crescent moon. This was very appropriate, because I was on my way to my fraternity's chapter house at Vandy. And the waxing crescent is a symbol for us in the Brotherhood. It's usually combined with a Greek cross (equal four arms), to illustrate our open motto Per Crucem Crescens ("Crescent in the cross").

For my fraternity is Lambda Chi Alpha.

The undergraduate Brothers (referred to as "actives" as contrasted with us alumni) of Gamma-Delta Zeta at Vandy ("zeta" means chapter) surprised me by all wearing suits and ties! Usually I'm dressed nicely whenever I attend a chapter meeting, but this being a holiday I wasn't even sure that the Brothers would be holding a chapter meeting. S o I'd worn casual garb, including my Xmas-gift "Eastwood" (Christian Church) sweatshirt. I felt more out of place that I've felt on earlier occasions when I was the only suited and tied fellow present! But oh well, what the heck!

The Brothers of LCA at Vandy had another surprise in store. When the meeting adjourned, they held the fraternity's Associate Member Ceremony to formally welcome sixteen new young men who are associating with us and will be initiated later in the semester. The ceremony consists of three or four of the officers explaining three or four of the symbols in the room and what they signify for the new associates. Having been High Phi or Ritualist at the Zeta at Idaho during my undergrad years, I am quite familiar with the topics covered in this ceremony, as I am with all ritual events in LCA. And once again I was moved in my spirit by this refresher on some of the spiritually-based teachings of this Brotherhood that I so cherish.

That earlier sighting of the waxing Crescent Moon had likewise moved yours truly. It was almost a year ago that on the Vanderbilt campus I had espied one up above the Parthenon as I was leaving the closing event of the Bluegrass Conclave hosted at Vandy by the Vandy Brothers, to mark the Centennial of Lambda Chi Alpha. It had been wonderful to participate in a gathering oriented to our hundred years of fraternal history -- then in the deed and now in the memory.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Winter of 2010 in Nashville

Weather forecast for Middle Tennessee early in the week predicted -- repeatedly predicted -- snow of up to 1 inch in Nashville and more elsewhere over Wednesday nite & Thursday morning, with storm to pass on out by noon. The snow did not commence until very late Thursday morning, and then hardly came close to an inch accumulation.

But the predicted frigid temperatures really DID happen! Nashville has hardly gotten up to freezing yet this year, and night-time lows continue to be in the teens or very low twenties.

With this in mind, my church, Eastwood Christian (Disciples), which already opens on the third Friday of winter months, to ten homeless men thru the "Room in the Inn" ministry, chose to offer our facility for any of the nights from this past Thursday thru tomorrow night (Sunday). As part of this I offered my services to drive the van, stay overnite and/or assist with breakfast. I ended up being assigned to do the first two on Thursday.

To be honest, dear reader, I had not driven in snow here (or anywhere else) in many, many winters, nor had I driven this particular van in anything but fair weather. But as I say above, the snow didn't get deep and at that it was powder snow like I grew up with back in Idaho, and the main streets were certainly pretty open and drivable.

So off I went from Eastwood in East Nashville, to downtown to pick up ten men to bring back to the church. All of us involved in this emergency (or "extra-nites"?) "Room in the Inn" effort were concerned how we would get the ministry done efficiently. It certainly wasn't like a typical third-Friday session, but still it went okay, I'd say. Certainly, Dieta Duncan cooked a very delicious supper at her home and carried it to the church for the men and the volunteers. And then in the morning Cindy and Gene Lovelace prepared a scrumptious breakfast int he church kitchen.

On "downer" sort of, is that the church has a television, but it's the old analog type, without digital converter-box. So nobody got to watch the BCS bowl "championship" game. I put the word in parentheses because as far as I'm concerned the REAL championship was played Monday evening, in the Fiesta Bowl, when undefeated Boise STate defeated undefeated TCU. Therefore, I was not much concerned whether Texas or Alabama won Thursday - I was convinced that BSU could handle UT or Bama as well as they did my Horned Frogs of TCU.

But I digress. Instead of television or the movie video or DVD that we COULD see on that big TV screen, I was prepared to read. And then I got to talking with Justin Prendley, the young man who had also volunteered to stay overnite. He recently proposed to Courtney Frech of our church, and I found him to be a likable fellow and easy to talk with.

And so went the nite of Thursday, ending the first week of A.D. 2010 in a frigid Music City, with Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples) hosting ten homeless men for the "Room in the Inn" ministry.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork!

Whee! A.D. 2009 ended with a marvelous example of teamwork. And then 2010 took off where Ought Nine ended!

On Wednesday evening the 30th -- New Years Eve Eve??? -- I sat glued to the tube, in this case the community TV at Mercury Courts. I'm hardly ever even casually watching the "idiot box", but give me a broadcast of a sports contest involving a team dear to yours truly and I'll not just casually watch but get as fixated as if I were at the game in person!

And so it happened with ESPN's carry of the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl, from the city of my raising, Boise. My alma mater (undergrad), Idaho, was in this bowl for the second time. The first time was also the only H-Bowl I can tell you anything about -- and yes, the Idaho Vandals won that one, their first ever bowl appearance!

And what a game this '09 H-Bowl became, there on the "Smurf turf" of Bronco Stadium! The Vandals and the Falcons of Bowling Green State (in Ohio) traded leads, tied four times and piled up the points. When BGSU scored a TD with about half a minute left, to go ahead 42-35, I figured that once again the Vandals had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

But I kept watching anyway. Alumnus loyalty for all my alma maters (high school to grad school) runs deep in my soul, and my blood was running silver and gold this day. Idaho too the kickoff and moved quickly down field with a passing attack. Got in the "red zone" and Vandal QB Ederle passed for completion in end zone. Time out. UI Coach Ron Akey called for a two-point conversion rather than a kick to send game into overtime. Receiver was almost alone by goal post. So, with four clicks left on the clock, the Vandals won 43-42!

Sunday morning I experienced another type teamwork. A spiritual teamwork. I attended Sunday School and Worship at my church, Eastwood Christian (Disciples). Part of the teamwork was just after Worship, when we removed and stored all the advent-Christmas decorations. Another part was when Bob Frech offered me a ticket to the Vanderbilt University women's basketball game in Memorial Gym that afternoon. I accepted, and had Sunday dinner with them at a cafeteria-style Mexican place on West End Avenue, across 21st Ave. from the corner of Vandy campus.

Then on to Memorial Gym. The Black & Gold women scored first, then Mississippi state scored a three-pointer to lead 3-2. It was their only lead of the game, with Vandy taking control right away. I was amazed at all the assists and other displays of teamwork! The Black & Gold gals led 47-33 at the half, and ended the game victors by a score of 86-72.

But again, dear reader, I was most impressed with the teamwork I witnessed. This I suppose is most evident in that VU had 24 assists. Go, Gold!