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Making up for a lost chance

The stands were full Friday night and dozens of current and former Bulldogs were there to mark a milestone for Thomson High School Head Coach Luther Welsh.

But the Sept. 15 celebration of Coach Welsh's 300th win was about something else for me.

Something a little more personal.

Twenty years ago this September I met my wife in the confines of The Brickyard.

The first meeting happened at a football game on Sept. 12 - a 17-14 loss to Evans, according to - and a few days later we were "going together."

So ever since that autumn in 1986, we've celebrated our anniversary on Sept. 16. Of course, several years ago we added a December date for our wedding, but we've kept up the Sept. 16 tradition.

At least she did this year.

Yes, I let it slip by - and it was a big slip. A 20-year slip. Admire the albatross around my neck. Parlay the pox on my family. Continue my cursed existence. Get in line.

So here's my attempt at making amends - which is a week late and several doo-dads short.

First, to dig that hole deeper, I should explain what she did to mark the occasion. First, there was the slow dance in front of The Brickyard Saturday evening. Then there was the Matchbox-sized lowrider - which harkened back to my first car. She also added a CD of 80s music to make the waltz down memory lane complete.

And I did nothing.


Not even dinner.

And I have no excuse.

Sure, that first meeting - with the old yellow baseball stands as the backdrop - is certainly in my life's top 10. And 20 years later, I'd do it all over again, even if she makes a better yardwife than she does a housewife.

Either way, she's my wife.

And I'm proud to have her by my side.

Even when she's not so proud to be there.

Meanwhile, there's a few "get well" wishes to toss out.

First, Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, who is recovering from hip surgery.

Also, Thomson High School Head Baseball Coach Terry Holder is getting better after heart surgery.

And, finally, Antwone "Baby" Johnson, who broke his leg during a recent football game at Georgia Military College and will likely miss the rest of the season. I'm sure he'll be back. He's got that heart that led the 2002 team to a state trophy. And he's got a bunch of former teammates and local fans pulling for him.

Speaking of support, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the folks who called me prior to the Washington-Wilkes game to make sure I knew how to get there. And the folks who offered directions to The Brickyard last week. And Vicki Ussery, who dropped off a thick State Farm atlas for me Monday.

And here I was thinking most folks would love for me to get lost.

Web posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006

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