Red & Black

I was born in Mobile, Alabama and was always proud to cheer for Paul Bear Bryant’s team. Though our family had no direct connections to the University of Alabama we, like thousands of others in the same position, called the Crimson Tide ‘our team’.

I ended up moving to Georgia when I was just seven years old and as a young football star wannabe, I still rooted for ‘Bama and was proud to be a fan. I can still remember the ache from the ‘Punt ‘Bama Punt’ defeat by Auburn. Jon Pierce and Randy McCrae, Auburn fans and classmates, reminded me daily for a year of that 17-16 loss.

I ended up attending, and graduating, from the University of Georgia because I wanted to get my degree from the Terry College of Business, the south’s oldest business school. I remember when I told my friends about my decision to go to Georgia that they would never hear me say, ‘How ’bout them Dawgs!’ as I was still a Tide guy.

That was before I realized that my first quarter at UGA was also the first quarter for a guy named Herschel Walker.

The next three years was football bliss and it did not take long for my blood to turn from Crimson to Red and Black. It has been the same ever since.

I don’t follow UGA sports as closely as I always thought I would only because of the time demands of running a business and being a husband and father. Yet, I sill keep an ear to the ground on what is going on in Athens and am proud when I find little gems such as this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/video?id=3663225

T’was The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Even at my age, this is an exciting time and I don’t care what the astronomers and meteorologists say, tomorrow is the longest day of the year.

This summer, Anna and Katie learned the lowdown on Santa. After ‘true confessions’, the result of a poorly hidden ‘Santa Apparatus’ (Long story) the truth came out in an impromptu family meeting.

Anna admitted she doubted the logistics of the entire trip around the world/all those toys in one bag scenario but kept her poker face ‘just in case.’

Katie found out while neck deep in her belief. It was not pretty…much like yanking a Band-Aid off of a skinned knee, fast and painful.

With that sense of wonderment gone, things seem just a little off kilter this year. No letters to Santa, no preparing of Christmas Eve snacks, no tracking his lift-off from the North Pole and most of all, no one to ‘impress’.

We have had a pretty good year business-wise, not at good as last year but it could have been a whole lot worse. We know we have been immensely blessed and in spite of the newfound awareness here in the Darnell household, it is still going to be a great Christmas.

Tomorrow will be fun.

Regardless of our new Santa status, the anticipation of what Christmas day will bring will not change much. The girls will be little bundles of energy, knowing that somewhere under this roof are the presents and surprises to be delivered by a surrogate Saint Nick in less than 24 hours.

There will be much to do. My ‘Santa’, the UPS guy, made a key delivery this afternoon so, for the first time in a while, I will not be making any 11th hour dashes to the store as is my typical routine. Well, maybe one small, short trip.

Fortunately, this year there is nothing to assemble. Everything will be wrapped and ready to slide under the tree after visions of sugar plums are dancing down the hall.

While I am counting on that bedtime fatigue to kick in at the same time it does on school nights; that remains to be seen. I am pretty confident that anticipation will prevail at least an hour or two beyond our typical ‘lights out’ hour, which is expected.

The girls will be full of joy, anticipation, expectancy and hope. I will feed off of that knowing we are just hours away from magic and one of the most important roles I have as a father will soon be completed for another year.

Yes, tomorrow will be the longest day of the year, not just for our gals but for me as well.
Even at my age, this is an exciting time of the year!