“Alabama, listen, Mother,
“To our vows of love,
“To thyself and to each other,
“Faithful friends we’ll prove.”
— The University of Alabama alma mater
I have not sung that beautiful song with a crowd of like-minded people in more than 50 years. But it refrained through my heart Sept. 30 when a winsome little blond in a long, formal red dress and dainty, black patent leather shoes was rolled out in a wheelchair to present a victory bracelet to Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.
He knelt and took the bracelet —it read “Aubrey’s Army” because she fighting cancer — and put it on his wrist. The crowd cheered. The bracelet stood for victory, but not against Ole Miss — against brain cancer.
The bracelet was a symbol; a victory on the field meant a victory in other places as well.
That Saturday, Jalen had another friend on his mind — Cam Pruitt, a boy stricken with cancer and to whom the game was dedicated. He died the day before. “Any time I feel that (I am faced with a difficult decision) I just remember ‘Cam did it. So, why can’t I?’” Jalen is quoted on the Alabama web page. This inspiration thing goes both ways, I suppose. The bigger they are, the quicker they are to see life’s smallest symbols.
Prince Harry of England was calmly watching a soccer game, minding his royal business, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a stealthy hand grab a piece of popcorn out of his royal box. Absurd!
He watched; he’d catch the thief in the act. He wouldn’t have long to wait. The hand came boldly, not stealthily this time and not the least bit afraid. The nerve! Harry turned quickly to catch — a small hand reaching. His Royal Highness was being robbed by a 3-year-old. He laughed and continued to swap popcorn — quite a charming scene. In a world turned inside out with hate and violence, we can still find peace in games, children’s laughter, innocence and proven, faithful friends.
CORRECTION: Last week I incorrectly said that Dell Morris “worked a lifetime” at Alabama City Bank. She worked at a finance company on Wall Street. Apologies to the family.
BREAKING NEWS: The halls at my “house” (Paden Ridge assisted living) are becoming more up-to-date with motorized wheelchairs. Since January, Linda Hamilton, Sharon Eline and Carolyn Wade have all gotten “up in high cotton” (as Karen Arnold said) with new motorized rides with all the bells and whistles.
Why do Joyce Hooten and I not have one, you ask? Well, the highway department breathed a sigh of sympathetic relief when it got the news that I would no longer be driving. As for Joyce, she wants to get rid of the chair she has tucked away in her daughter’s garage. There’s a story; I’ll let you know.
We all sat on the porch the other day — an absolutely perfect fall day, soft breeze in the wind chimes and good natured laughter surrounding us. I hear the song in the chimes “To our vows of love ... faithful friends we’ll prove.”
It never seemed more relevant, ‘round town.
Glenda Byars is a correspondent for The Gadsden Times. Send submissions to email@example.com.