Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Auburn Citizens and Students

Friday night, almost a week ago, I was in the den watching football (just one game) and my husband was in the adjacent sunroom closer to the front (switching between football games). Heh it works--don't judge.

I heard a noise toward the street and John says "That's a wreck!" Over the last 3 decades, there have been several wrecks. We live on a main street that flows through our college town. Past the south drive way there is a connecting street that has had many wrecks; more when there was no light, fewer with a caution light, and fewer with a stop light.

Opening the front door, I could see lights shining toward the north driveway at an odd angle. This is a bit unusual; most wrecks happen on the south of the South driveway. Seeing no emergency vehicles on site, I decided walk down. The young lady sporting a a UAB sweatshirt was visibly shaken but seemingly physically okay. Her story to her mom on the phone was consistent to anyone who asked.  "I know this sounds crazy. I heard really loud pop and saw a flash of light, then I was hit and I spun around into this yard."  What she did not realized is that in the opposite direction, a SUV hit another car which was turning left from the other lane which then hit her car that sent her car spinning into our yard. It is unclear but Mary, the young lady avoided at least on car from the opposite direction and possibly another.

One person was driven away in an ambulance. Mary was very concerned about the other person though it seems there was nothing she could have done differently. The emergency folks assured her the person was conscious would probably be fine. We kept telling Mary that we understand it was upsetting. Occasionally we mentioned how lucky she was. Her car could have been hit closer to front driver's side or her car could have spun into light pole--just a few feet from where her car stop. We thought of these things more times than we mentioned them.

Mary was coming into town to visit her boyfriend who not only showed up but calmed Mary's parents on the phone. He was steady, reassuring, and pragmatic. He was considering the next steps. Making sure to get all paper work, cleaning the car of necessary items, and taking pictures of the car. He asked pertinent questions: "Where will her car be towed?" "How do we get information for insurance?" Most importantly, he was very comforting to his girlfriend holding her and telling her everything would be fine.

His roommates were on the scene too. They were trying be helpful. I am sure both Mary and Matt. felt they were supported by their friends. These college students are bright, respectful, and kind. They seem to care about the right things. I was impressed with all of them. I wish them all well.

Walking up to my front door one night this week, I found a wonderful note and plant sitting in front of the door. I am sharing the note because I think he, his friends and his girlfriend are special people and have found a bonded friendship to last a long time, possibly because they are loyal to each other and caring to others--an hour of distress shows true selves. Also, I believe there is much goodness in the young adults today that gets overlooked. Shining examples of goodness are this young man, his girlfriend and his friends--all engaging and caring young people who make me think the future is bright.

Matt is graduating in May in Electrical Engineering. Any company should be very lucky to hire such a fine young man.

Matt's note:
I am the boyfriend of the young lady and involved in the car accident last Friday. I am truly grateful for the kindness you showed in helping her calm down and even offering to give her a jacket. I am blessed to report she is doing fine and had little to no pain even the next day. We will forever remember your kindness on that night. You and other citizens of the city of Auburn are a large reason in my experience at Auburn University has been so positive. May you and your family have a wonderful holiday season. 
Matt G. 
I really appreciate the time he spent recognizing us. I am sure our neighbors across the street who stopped traffic when emergency folks were not there were given similar notes.

In this expanding city, we are still a community--the university and city are often connected in unforeseen ways--this is one reason the city of Auburn continues to be a great place to live. This young man recognized a value that can't be counted and is often very hard to describe.
"....citizens of the city of Auburn are a large reason in my experience at Auburn University has been so positive."
I hope Matt and Mary the best in their futures--they certainly have the emotional foundation to do so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dad is cool with that

Sometimes telling a personal story is important. If you are not interested in a purely non professional story, hit the back button.

Yesterday, I left the office somewhat unexpectedly (I did not know on Friday but I did know on Sunday) that I needed to take most on Monday off to take my dad to the doctor. These rare occasions may seem disruptive to the work week, but these times are gems.

Both of my parents are competitive--maybe not publicly. They instilled success, but not at the expense of others. I am so appreciative of the balance that parents demonstrated. For those who know me--most of my personality and my physical body come from my dad or his side of the family. My face and expressions (the chin and the no poker face) come from my mom, however, it is abundantly clear I did not get her slender and tall build.

My dad will talk to anyone. My mom is much more reserved. Again, I identify with my dad--I love hearing people's stories.

Yesterday, in the many hours of driving and waiting, my dad told me several stories. Some I knew and some I did not know. He told me one story that made me laugh and then he confessed he had never told anyone before--I will hold this story until he can't tell it anymore. It is more gossip than a story, but funny to me, and please don't press me to tell.

One story he told me was one that I had heard many times and, in particular, in my much, much younger days. This post is to record that story.

My parents had a friend from Montgomery who ordered a block of Auburn University football and basketball tickets. The basketball tickets were two rows behind the visitors' bench. As a teenager and a college student, I did not realized how coveted these seats were (call me oblivious back then).

I can't remember the year---but I suspect sometime between 1979 - 1985, my parents were attending an Auburn basketball game against LSU. Sonny Smith was Auburn's coach (those Auburn fans should narrow down that this could have been in the Barkley/Person days or possibly before).

My mom got into the game and if you know my dad--he was probably into the game too. But this was one of those days that my mom was adamant. She was giving the referees and the LSU coach her thoughts (okay; she was giving them hell but my mom does not curse). At some point. she probably yelled "Sit down Coach!"

In a quite moment after a "huddle" with his players, LSU Coach Dale Brown looked at my dad and then my mom and said "I am glad I am not going home with you."

There are moments--usually a build up of discontent--that you really did not want to mess with my mom, and my dad was totally cool with that.

I was telling this story to a colleague earlier today and he sent me this Instagram tonight and thought I might as well tell the story to others.

A photo posted by Dick Vitale (@dickiev_espn) on