Today, another e-mail dispatch from my female shorthair friend Blaze, who owns retired newspaperman Darrell Simmons. Blaze writes:
The old man is pumped up about Saturday’s Florida-Georgia game, “the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party.”
The annual game in Jacksonville is called that because Bill Kastelz of the Florida Times-Union wrote it in 1957. Officially, both schools hate the name. Both know they are stuck with it.
Darrell likes to tell the story of Jimmy Gay, a Navy vet of South Pacific action who was his boss in the Florida sports PR office.
When Jimmy was an assistant, he didn’t get travel expenses paid to road football games, so on his own he drove to Auburn in 1951 to see the Gators and walked to the gate carrying a paper bag. Inside was a fifth of Jack Daniels Black.
A deputy sheriff made him pour it out.
“Dry county,” explained the deputy. “Get in my car.”
Jimmy didn’t know whether he was being arrested. The deputy took him to a farmhouse and yelled, “Sam, bring a fifth of Jack Black in a paper bag.” Then he told Jimmy to give Sam 10 bucks. Jimmy complained about the price but forked up the tenner.
“Deputies ain’t paid much,” said the lawman. “Me and my brother got to make a living somehow. Besides, you’re gettin’ a free ride back before kickoff.”
Auburn won 14-13. Jimmy made many visits to Auburn after that, never carrying liquor.
Therein lies a message for Saturday: Take a flask if you must, but let somebody else drive. That especially goes for Dogs fans hunkering down on Saint Simons Island.
I love hearing about the old days when good cat food was a dime a can. Best regards … Blaze.