Peyton Manning was in Knoxville a few days ago dedicating the newly fixed and beautified "Peyton Manning Pass" - a street right by Neyland Stadium. He is often in town being filmed for this and that, doing something for UT or for a local charity. I like Peyton Manning. My friend, Suzan Murphy, who teaches at UT, had him in her class and he was a good student. I like it when college football players are good students.
Look, I'm not a rabid football fan. My husband and sons would die laughing if I claimed to know really much of anything about football. My high school did not even have a football team. But I do know this. College football games are a heck of a lot of fun. I would never have known this had I not lived in Knoxville from 1994 to 1997. The first football game I ever saw in my life was during that time period and it was at Neyland Stadium and Peyton Manning was there.
I'm not a person for crowds, but my hatred of crowds is dwarfed and nullified by the sheer magnitude of people that throng into Neyland Stadium every fall to watch the Vols play. The sea of orange clothing, the boats of all shapes and price-ranges that come up the Tennessee River on game day, the noise, the sound of Rocky Top being played over and over; these things all came together to convert me solidly into a fan of college football - even if I don't totally understand the game. I like what goes along with it. It's just fun.
As for the kitty in the picture - Tic Toc - well, she deserves honorable mention here because she was my family's first cat and we got her in Knoxville the very same week I attended that college football game. And hard to believe, she's still with us today.
We came back to Georgia in 1997 and in the fall of that year were situated in Alpharetta on some acreage. We had not been in Alpharetta long before Tic Toc suddenly disappeared. I can only assume she was taken in by some family in the subdivision that was going up behind our house. Then one night, 3 months after her disappearance, we heard a "Meow" outside our window. Tic Toc had come back. She came home. I've never gotten over her show of loyalty.
Tic Toc has outlasted no fewer than 4 family dogs and is now well into old age along with our blue tic coonhound, Chester. Usually I give Chester the mention in my blogs, but today Tic Toc deserves some mention.
So, like Peyton Manning in the news at the dedication of Peyton Manning pass and talking about 15 years ago, I too am thinking about 15 years ago when I saw Manning play at that football game and when I got Tic Toc from the local animal shelter. And aren't you glad this wasn't a tear-jerker where the animal dies in the end? I mean, we all know they are destined for that but I hate it when the book or story ends that way! I wanted to celebrate Ticky today while she is here with us - on this beautiful fall football Saturday.