The Big 4-0; Summer of ’69

The Summer of 1969.

I was 14 years old, and didn’t care much for anything except football, baseball, and basketball. Naturally, their relative importance varied with the calendar.

You would think that the Summer automatically meant baseball was numero uno. Not necessarily.

League ball was over by July 4. And, especially in the South, that meant the football season was just around the corner.

I think back to the Summer of 1969 and several events come to mind:

First, the Preacher dismissing church service early on Sunday evening so we could all go home and watch Apollo 11 land on the moon.

Second, a few weeks later, when the Preacher dismissed evening church service early AGAIN, so everyone could go home and hunker down for the hurricane that was about to roll in. At the time, nobody guessed that we would remember that particular Sunday as being the day the Category 5 storm named Camille would obliterate the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The last thing I distinctly remember about 1969 happened in the Fall. Ole Miss – Alabama, Archie Manning, and the total excitement of watching live college football on national TV. Sitting there in my aunt’s living room with my cousins, alternately cheering, then groaning as the two teams marched up and down Legion field in a game that exemplified Dixie’s passion for college football, the game is like a flashing star across the backdrop of my boyhood memory.

Oh, BTW, it’s only 50 days till my Mississippi State Bulldogs take the field in their season opener.

Still, when I think back to the Summer of ’69, one story that seems out of place is the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Although the images of Teddy in a neck brace are strong in my recollection, for some reason or another, I’ve never associated that event with 1969. Maybe it’s because it got buried in the news cycle of Apollo 11. I dunno. Strange.

Friday linkage:

Walter Cronkite 1916 – 2009, Liberal – islamist alliance, 40 years later, Kennedy’s story still stinks, the fall of capitalism and the rise of islam, moon rocks are still relevant, Financial crisis morphing … again , and last but not least, Tieki says “Get busy, Y’all” (Tieki is from Wyoming, and she didn’t actually say, “Y’all,” but we can file that under a blogger’s creative license, mkay?).

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