I think Uncle Ben is really starting to feel his years. He used to be able to sleep past noon and now he wakes up around 8:30 in the morning. That makes it tough on me because I’m used to sleeping past noon. Anyhow, Aunt Kay said we were going into town to check on new students arriving.
She wanted me to see all the hustle and bustle as school begins. She said it would be more fun than a circus coming to town. She was right. Athens streets looked like Chinatown during a New Year’s festival with people weaving in and out on the sidewalks like huge paper dragons. It was amazing to watch. Many of them seemed lost. Uncle Ben said they seemed that way because they were actually lost.
We went into shops selling UGA souvenirs. Aunt Kay and I spent a lot of time looking at all things UGA and Uncle Ben spent a lot of time walking in circles outside the store. He had met a homeless man walking in circles on the sidewalk so he walked with him for a while. Uncle Ben says there are a lot of homeless people in Athens and he told me to avoid looking into the eyes of the homeless because a number of them are mentally unbalanced and we can’t help them much but some of them can hurt us a lot.
As we drove by and parked by the Arches we saw a lot of people taking photographs beneath them. Some of them looked like slobs and some were well dressed. One nice looking well-dressed older guy ran out in front of our car but he stopped and ran back before Uncle Ben could hit him.
When I asked Uncle Ben if he tried to run the man down he said that the arrival of a new school year at UGA does strange things to guys about the age of the man in the street. He said they become suicidal and have death wishes. One death wish is born from the desire to be a young man back in college again (with all those pretty girls around) and another is created by the stark realization of how much college is going to cost a middle-aged man with two children at UGA.
Uncle Ben said he was just going to give the man a little bump with the car and make him appreciate his present existence more. Kind of like a warm and fuzzy reality check he said.
Aunt Kay wanted to take my picture beneath the Arches but I was a little bit shy about getting out and mixing with all those strange people. Uncle Ben said he would get a fire hose out and thin the crowd for me but I was still a bit wary of standing with so many people I didn’t know.
We went down to the BB&T Bank where one of the Bulldog statues is still standing guard over Broad Street and Aunt Kay took my picture with old Number 1 Bulldawg. He has on a leather helmet and they haven’t used those since the late forties so I know he must be in his eighties by now but he still looks like the youngest toughest Bulldog that ever lived. Uncle Ben says that all the young people walking by patting his back and rubbing his head keep him looking young.
We ate a late lunch at the East West Bistro. Aunt Kay went for the All-American Bistro Burger. Uncle Ben had a piece of pork that had been considerably spruced up with spices and garnishes. He said it was an excellent piece of meat. I had the EWB grilled cheese sandwich and I know it’s hard to believe but my grilled cheese sandwich had sliced tomatoes in it. Not only did it have a blend of sharp cheddar and fontina cheeses but it actually had tomatoes.
Uncle Ben said I am the only girl he knows who can eat over ten pounds of tomatoes at one meal as a side dish.
Since Uncle Ben has to have a nap after he eats we decided to go back home.
The last thing I remember hearing him say that evening was he always knew he would turn into a good Christian one day because there was absolutely no way he could have ever been a Muslim.
He says, for one thing, he loves ,adores and worships women and the second good reason is he will never get over his maddening craving for Brunswick stew, bar-b-cued ribs and pickled-pigs-feet.