These are the days
To hold on to
But we won’t
Although we’ll want to…
Billy Joel, This Is The Time, 1986
I love homecoming games! I remember the very first one I attended in 1976. I was in 4th grade and we were living in Kermit, Texas, home of the Yellow Jackets! It was such a blast seeing all the twirlers in their tall metallic boots and sequined costumes perform in the halftime show! I also loved the mascot in her maroon and gold satin Yellow Jacket costume. Kermit is where I fell in love with baton twirling. Now, this month, my Bridgy will perform a baton-twirling routine at her first football homecoming game. She is so excited!
American Tradition: Homecoming Court
Football Homecoming is a great American tradition that has been around since the 1800s. I love the bonfires, spirit rallies and of course all the beautiful girls and handsome boys from coast-to-coast whose classmates elect them to be on homecoming court. My senior year my dear friend Dana was elected Football Homecoming Queen. She wore a plaid skirt and jacket very similar to the outfits shown below in the Facebook post. Dana made the cover of the Caney Chronicle that week. She looked so gorgeous carrying a bouquet of red roses and donning a sparkly crown.
So much can change in a generation. Back in West Texas, my dad and I spent many Saturdays canvassing neighborhoods inviting kids to church. I was just a little kid myself and was brought along to break the ice when we cold-called people on their porch steps. It was a weird life, friends, but it was my life, and he was my dad. I loved him very much and would have done anything to help him and our little church.
I also loved all those Mexicans who filled our church bus and Sunday School classes. My best friend was Sandra Rodriguez, the fastest girl in my class. She won ALL the races at the track meet. Sandra was Catholic, but I somehow convinced her to join the Nazarene church. We had great fun together! One night at a church camp in the Capitan Mountains of south-central New Mexico Sandra told me her family crossed the Rio Grande. She stopped short of telling me someone had died. Although we were the same age, Sandra was much older than I. I’m sure she thought I was too young for the truth. She also told me a lot of people called them wetbacks. This really bothered her. I thought it was because, like us, they didn’t have air conditioning and sweat during the Permian Basin’s hot and sunny summers.
Yes, times have changed. Of course, they have. Isn’t that the one constant in our lives? The Caney Chronicle, the popular local newspaper in the Southeast Kansas town where I graduated high school, is now the Montgomery Chronicle. It’s a continuation of the Caney paper and the Cherryvale Chronicle. Rudy Taylor, the editor, ran my picture on the cover twice while I was in high school. The first time was when I played Polly Browne in the musical The Boyfriend, and the second time was when Jamie, now gone, crowned me prom queen. (Impossible, but true.) Today, his son Andy is the editor. And, so in my lifetime, I have seen many things passed down from one generation to the next.
Times Have Changed, But Not That Much
Back in the early aughts, I had a brief but dear friendship with the late Bob Childers, the father of Red Dirt music. Bob wrote a song called Times Have Changed. It’s such a great song with the most repeated line being, “Times have changed but not that much.” As Bob taught me, many things change, but many things in our shifting world stay the same. I cherish among those simple constants the annual Football Homecoming game. Traditions bring me comfort and remind me of my values. I moved around so much as a kid, but all the homecoming games were pretty much the same. Attending one, no matter the year or school or state, makes me feel like I’ve traveled home. This is so nice because as things pass down, it means people we love, like my mom and dad, have passed away. They were my real home.
Earlier today, I published this post on Facebook. It’s a celebration of homecoming courts. I really enjoyed all the fun comments and wanted to share them with you. Happy Autumn! Don’t let anybody take it away. Also, you can totally crash a local football homecoming game. I’ve done it many times. =)