I'm just back from a 10-day stint in Atlanta, which finally felt more like living there than visiting. I return to Michigan for two more weeks with me these two anecdotes, both of which had Paul and I in stitches...
1. Paul and I are in the self-checkout lane at Kroger to pick up a few odds and ends. When we step up to a free kiosk, the man leaving notices Paul's Michigan shirt.
Man: "I'm just not going to say a thing."
Paul and I: Totally perplexed and just looking at him.
Man: "Really, I won't."
Paul and I: Still perplexed.
Man: "Okay, I can't help it. You guys are really taking a beating this year. I mean, Appalachian State, Oregon. What is going on over there? People always give credit to the Big 10, but the SEC is really the toughest conference in the country. There are no easy games down here. I mean, look at it. You guys have Northwestern in your conference, for God's sake."
Me: Looking slightly offended while man keeps rambling.
Man, noticing my expression: "I mean, Northwestern at least graduates their players, there's something to be said about that. Personally, I think the schools are pimping these kids. Did you know in the early 1900s, freshman weren't allowed to play. I think we need to get back to that rule..." And so on, and so on.
Point being, People in Georgia REALLY love football. I know plenty of die-hard Michigan fans, but they don't even come close to the fervor that the vast majority of Georgia folks bring to college football. It's a cult, really.
2. Paul, Summer and I headed up to the beautiful north Georgia mountains for a hike last weekend. Summer was tromping through the woods, chasing squirrels and the like, when we came across a Boy Scout troop. She went up to them, tail-waging, sniffed a few hands and carried on. A little farther down the trail, there is one lonely Boy Scout lagging behind the rest. He's exactly what you would picture - a bit pudgy, flush in the face, not having tons of fun. As we approach him, he trips on a tree root and lands with his hands on the ground, butt up in the air. This freaks out Summer, who immediately runs up to him barking like crazy. The boy (obviously not a dog-person) starts screaming in the most shrill voice I've ever heard from a boy: "Ahhhhhhhh! Dog! Ahhhhh!" Over, and over. Obviously, this makes Summer bark even more. Paul and I are frozen for a moment, watching this scene in total shock. I finally pull myself together and we get Summer to carry on down the trail, trying to hold in our giggles so the poor chap doesn't hear us. Maybe twenty minutes later, we run across the same troop again. All of the boys are together now. (And Summer is on a leash.) One boy asks," Is that the dog that attacked you?" The the pudgy kid says, "Oh no. It was WAY bigger than that."
I'll be in Michigan until Oct. 9. If you're here, I'd love to see you before I shove off a bit more permanently.