Thursday, November 01, 2007

Post # 361

Sometimes I can't believe I've thunk of enough to write 360 musings thus far.

This is the last story deleted from the final draft and the last story I can share from the soon to be finished Daddy's Little Girl book project. All other stories are reserved for the print edition to be released in February 2008. The following story has been posted before on this blog in various stages of development; this is the final version that was submitted to my editor. It contains a few details I gathered in an email interview before finally submitting the manuscript back in September. It was originally called "Ella's Shoe."

Sometimes just spending time together is all that matters.

"A couple of my neighbors are fanatical Alabama football fans. Every weekend during the fall they are either on the road attending a game or have a few equally enthusiastic fans yelling along with them at the TV in their living room. On one such weekend my wife and I were invited over to meet their visiting relatives. As I entered the living room I saw Kristin, our neighbor, her sister and dad huddled together on the sofa, pom-poms in hands, eyes glued to the screen.

To the best of my recall, Meagan has never watched a football game on TV. She attends her high school football games for the sole purpose of watching some guy she has a crush on wear tight pants. Yet as we talk about the various colleges she might attend, she quickly rules out any that do not have a football team. I just don’t understand the passion some have for college sports.

But Nina understands.

She told me of a winter in 1975 when she and her dad were on their way to visit a close friend, Miss Ella Shoe. Although she was just barely five years old then, a trip to Ella’s place was a familiar event for Nina.

After a traditional stop at a coffee shop for beignets and café au lait, the daddy-daughter pair made their way to Miss Shoe’s house, singing “Frère Jacques” and “Alouette” in French, no less, in between traffic lights. Miss Shoe’s was the most exciting house the little girl had ever seen in her short life. It was tall, round, and smelled of popcorn, roasted peanuts, and bubble-gum. Everyone entering the house were dressed in purple and gold, and like Nina, other little girls carried their own purple and gold pom-poms.

Although the surroundings could be overwhelming, Nina knew she was safe with her dad, who, she imagined then, was taller and stronger than everyone else in the house. That’s why she wasn’t afraid when the two-legged tiger came over and patted her on the head.

She may not have understood what was happening on the court below, but she did know she was supposed to cheer for the people who wore the purple and gold uniforms. They were, after all, Miss Ella’s children. When she and her dad weren’t cheering, they shared popcorn and soda and took turns looking through their binoculars for the faces of family and friends in the crowd.

After the game, Dad scooped up a tired Nina and carried her to the car where she slept during drive home, dreaming of being a cheerleader and dancing with Mike the Tiger.

Years later, Nina, ever the fan, graduated from LSU. Her dad still lives in Louisiana and she visits him whenever she can. Should she arrive during basketball season they go see a game, stopping on the way at the same coffee shop for beignets and café au lait. Of all her LSU sports memorabilia, her favorite items are the old ticket stubs from when she and her dad sat in those seats on Row L, Section M19. That is where her first memories of fun with dad were made."

Point of interest - Kristin sat with Jill and I on our porch last night to hand out candy. She's looking forward to this weekend; it seems Alabama is facing LSU in a must see game. She'll be there!

Update: Later today I am sending the corrected copy edited version of the book to the copy editor. From her hands it will go to the designers who will layout the pages and create the cover. I'll get a copy of that to review and sign off on, and then the books goes into final production. If all goes well, the book should be a tangible reality in three months and one week: February 6th. Can't wait!

To answer a question I've received a few times - the names in the stories posted on this blog are the actual names of the story-teller. The names in the book are pseudonyms, used to protect the privacy of all parties associated with any one story. Even though only a few of you asked for anonymity, we came to believe it was best for all after realizing potentially a million books will go into circulation. Just how many times do you want to be stopped on the way to the bathroom by someone shouting across the restaurant, "Hey Greg, I read about that time when you were on TV with a booger hanging out of your nose!"

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Hey, Greg...keep "thunking"...I love reading your musings!