Saturday, November 11, 2006

Justify My Love

This is what you see at the entrance to our driveway: A mailbox with a wild, angry pig on it. I wasn't consulted. And behind it, the Hog-mobile, a hay-hauling, horse-towing, testament to Razorback red--this is a common color for vehicles around here, and on any given game day, you can expect this one to be festooned with any number of hog-related magnets and other adornments. Anyway, this is who we are--a bunch of wild hogs. It fits.

Today, the stage is set for the upcoming Arkansas-Tennessee game, including the ESPN "Game Day" show being aired live from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Excitement could NOT be higher on campus, and there are additional factors at play, including sophomore Darren McFadden's Heisman hopes (he's got time next year, I say) and the fact that Georgia beat Auburn today, which, if Arkansas wins, means the Hogs get bumped way on up in the polls. We're not kidding ourselves or taking anything for granted, because the Vols are going to be TOUGH to beat.

Who cares? EVERYBODY.

It's insane. And speaking of insane, allow me to just let you in on a few things that have to happen in our house on game days: First of all, my husband made me change my pants, and I hadn't even soiled myself or anything. Even though I was already wearing U of A pajama pants, I wasn't wearing the RIGHT U of A pajama pants. The cotton ones that are really his, with the classic running-hog logo and the words "Whoo, Pig Sooiee!" all over them. Everyone must be wearing red. Alex has his ratty old Arkansas ballcap on, a razorback-red button-down, my dad's Razorback-red high-dollar leather Hilfiger walking shoes, which were passed on to him after Dad died by my mom--Dad would have wanted it that way, and no one else had feet that big, anyway. Everyone has to be present in the living room, in front of the big-screen. The only thing that irritates me is the fact that the game-day sports-page of our state's daily newspaper has to be balanced, just so, on the right arm of MY chair, where he can frequently touch it, like some kind of Hog talisman, from the comfort of HIS chair. He even has a special fruit punch he has to drink during the game. I've tried to explain to him numerous times that these actions are having no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the games, but he's a sportsfan. He doesn't hear with his ears, he hears with his heart. And today, his heart is in Fayetteville...and so I go along for the ride, and Bella utters the occasional heartfelt, "WhoooooOOOOOOOOOOO PIG! SOOOOOIEEE!" or, "Hold 'em Hawgs, Hold 'em!"

I've lived in Fayetteville twice: Once as a child, while my dad finished the last few hours of college he missed when he left to serve in the Army, and then again as a way-too-young college student. It's an amazing place. If ever anyone from somewhere else wonders why anyone would want to live in Arkansas, they have only to visit Fayetteville. I would try to describe it to you myself, but I don't have to, since the amazing and wonderful author, Ellen Gilchrist, has done it for me already. If ever you click on a link and read anything, and if there is any poetry in your heart, please go and read this short article from the Smithsonian magazine. Do it for me. And if you've missed out on the wonder that is Gilchrist, do yourself a favor, start with "In the Land of Dreamy Dreams," a collection of short stories, and go from there. There is no fiction like American fiction, and no unique and peculiar and magical subset of that fiction like SOUTHERN fiction. Here's an excerpt from Ellen Gilchrist's first novel, in which the main character attempts to explain why Fayetteville, Arkansas, has captured her heart:

(photo credit to flickr user thapgood, Nov. 7, 2006
Click image to view original size)

Fayetteville, Arkansas. Fateville, as the poets call it. Home of the Razorbacks. During certain seasons of the year the whole town seems to be festooned with demonic red hogs charging across bumper stickers, billboards, T-shirts, tie-clasps, bank envelopes, quilts, spiral notebooks, sweaters. Hogs. Hog country. Not a likely place for poets to gather, but more of them keep coming every year. Most of them never bother to leave. Even the ones that leave come back all the time to visit.

Fateville. Home of the Hogs. Also, poets, potters, painters, musicians, woodcarvers, college professors, unwashed doctors, makers of musical instruments....

Amanda had fallen in love with the world where the postman makes stained glass windows, the Orkin man makes dueling swords, the bartender writes murder mysteries, the waitress at the Smokehouse reads Nietzsche on her lunch break.

"Where in the name of God are you going?" everyone in New Orleans kept asking Amanda.

"To Fayetteville, Arkansas," she replied. "My Paris and my Rome."

Go Hogs.


  1. So what I'm hearing you say is that Alex likes the Razorbacks...right? Have Fun and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HAGS!

  2. Did she ^ just say "Go HAGS??"

    At least the Razorback mailbox is better than the duck mailbox.

    Rob's at the game right now. He was super excited about it.

    WOO PIG SOOOIE!!!!!!!!!

  3. THAT'S IT??? That's your big comment DEBUT? Good going. Remind me not to ever make you my second in a duel of wits.

  4. OK OK OK OK OK, I may go a bit overboard. BUT, we just dominated a very good Tennessee team 31-14. The last 7 for the Vols was sort of a gimme when the game was way out of reach.

    So, my pregame rituals are odd. Maybe. I say I'll be odd all the way to the SEC championship game, then who knows where if the cards fall just right.

    And you've got to love her, Belinda goes right along with me through all this even though she looks at me like a loon.

    I love you, Belinda. Oh, and
    GO HOGS!!!

  5. All I can say about Fayetteville is that Mason, Mia and Morgan were conceived there. (Poodles not humans.)

    I had to prop Boy Genius up in front of a big screen TV in Best Buy tonight so he could watch the game while I shopped. All I got out of him was he hated UT. (He is an Ole Miss alum.)

    I enjoy watching football occasionally, but to me college is about education instead of athletics.

  6. very good?!?! A freshman quarterback making his first start in a hostile environment and no fullback to speak of, not to mention receivers that dropped a plethora of passes, does not qualify this Tennessee team as a very good team. However, y'all did hand it to us CONVINCINGLY! Monk embarrassed Wade and McFadden embarrassed pretty much the whole state of Tennessee. You guys took control of the game from the first snap and never looked back.

    Hopefully the Hogs can finish strong and bring home the Golden Boot and beat Florida by about 50 for the SEC. If the top ranked teams have any more weeks like this, there's a BCS Bowl with your names on it. Just hope that who ever wins the OSU/Michigan game losses the next week and you're golden!

    If you ask me, even the one loss SEC teams deserve to be ranked higher than OSU or Michigan based on the SEC conference alone, but no one has asked me yet, and I'm not sure they ever will.

    Enjoy it, Hogs!

  7. wups, that last comment was from me.

  8. I said very good UT team because, hey, you were #16 in the BCS

    Oh, and we had a freshman quarterback in a hostile environment when we played #2 Auburn at Auburn earlier in the season and beat them 27-10. But, I guess it is a lot easier when all you have to do is hand off to McFadden.

  9. or just line McFadden up at QB and let him do whatever he wants to do. Handing it off, passing it, or just taking it himself...he was unstoppable tonight!

  10. As the daughter of a woman born and raised in Woodruff County, Arkansas I will say that you done your Hogs proud with this entry!

  11. Well, all the little rituals must have worked!

    But I still am compelled to say...

    Go Gators!

  12. Even I am trying ardently to follow the Hogs this season. I actually know, sometimes a whole week in advance, who and where they are playing. I can come up with at least two surnames of players.

    I am still fuzzy on what a down is.

    (me, to husband last Saturday: "Why can't they just call it a 'try'?)

    The fever is contagious.

    Good post, and thanks for the Gilchrist link. :)

  13. Mr. Fabulous, dude, if we get by Miss St. we have a date with you in the SEC Chapionship game. Add to our repertoir a victory over LSU and we could be playing for # 3,#4 or #5 in the country. NOt too bad for two SEC teams.

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