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Gridiron nights and mothers-in-law are good

They're here!

Those gridiron nights, I mean.

Those of us who are athletes of the spectator sort have long awaited the return of football season, and after a long year of absence, they have finally made it back.

I can smell it now.

Those hot dogs (my favorite has "Tiger" sauce), hamburgers, hot chocolate (once the cooler weather sets in), boiled peanuts and other various and sundry treats that go along with sitting down for an inexpensive night's entertainment, as we cheer our students on while they advance the pigskin for the good of the school.

Another year, with new sports stars yet to be realized, and goals that are yet only aspirations and dreams.

There are the bands, finely polished and tuned up for the opening, with the National Anthem, and the flag squads, majorettes, twirlers, and don't forget those cheerleaders - every different venue of talent deserves equal mention, for the students in each must maintain good academic stature before they considered for the extracurricular aspects of school life.

But the students and coaches are not the only ones who should be graced with the obligatory honorable mentions, the parents and volunteers (some of which do not even have school-age children, and others with no children at all) that support the student efforts, and make up the backbone of the school programs.

If you think about it, without the athletic associations in each school, and the band boosters, parent-teacher associations, and other variously-named groups, the students might just as well be anywhere else, because there would be no financial support (yes, there is that ugly word) for the programs.

It is the parents that take part in the fund-raiser projects that pay for uniforms, travel expenses, equipment, instruments, and anything else that falls under the category of "extra curricular," meaning simply, anything that does not involve the three R's: readin', ritin' and 'rithmetic.

But in order for any of this to take place, there must be fans willing to invest a little of their time and pocket change for the kids.

If you aren't doing anything more than buying a gate admission to the game and a cold drink, you are supporting the team. It is these contributions exchanged for the entertainment that keep the lights on, the colors in the uniforms bold, and the gleam in all of our proud children's eyes brightly shining.

So, what do you say, don't you think it is time you came out and supported the future of the students of tomorrow? Remember, students maintain good grades to stay in these extracurricular programs, and those same programs can earn them scholarships toward the furtherance of their education after high school is no more than a mere memory.

Please excuse the following, which is a personal request on the part of myself and my children.

On a separate and somber note I, who cannot remember the last time I cast a shadow in the doorway of a church, have come to where I must ask all of my readers to keep some special people in their thoughts and prayers this week.

My children's grandmother, who they fondly call "Me Me", known to most others as Elnora Skinner Thompson, a longtime resident of the Liberty Community.

My former mother-in-law (and the very reason I always asked "Why so many mother-in-law jokes?" because after having three, I fail to see where they apply) is struggling this week on a ventilator in a Montgomery hospital.

I choose the word struggling, for that is exactly what she has been enduring, in her efforts to breath, since engaging war with that "beast" known to many of us as cancer.

Many, including my mother and aunts on both sides of my family, have thus far been successful in their battles - Elnora, like many others, has had a more difficult time.

Living ever since beginning her chemotherapy and radiation treatment last September with oxygen by her side, her battle was the only thing that kept her from the congregation she so lovingly belongs to at Liberty Baptist Church.

Elnora, and many others besides her, need to be in your thoughts and prayers, asking for the Divine guidance to make it through the trials and tribulations they are faced with in life, and too that their family members are watched over as they travel back and forth to the hospitals, exhausted after their workdays, and with little sleep.

Everyone has a favorite charity, and it is no secret to anyone who knows me that mine is the American Cancer Society.

It has made an impact on the survival of so many people that have been a part of my life, and I am sure that the reason we have such a success rate today in the fight against cancer is because of the ACS.

But the American Cancer Society, like any other research and support association, relies solely on the generosity of friends and strangers alike.

I encourage everyone who is not involved in a charity, to consider contacting their local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society's website at: www.cancer.org, or call the ACS Mid-South Division, Inc. at 334-612-8166.

In case anyone is wondering, there is, even on the football fields of our county, a left-side and a right. If you look very closely, you will find me way out there, out in Deep Left Field.