By SKIP TUCKER, Alabama Daily News Featured Columnist
Nearly midnight. A cold drizzle.
Hours earlier in the Louisiana Super Dome, the Alabama football team had eaten Miami for dinner, and against parlous odds.
The hometown contingent, in for the affray, numbered among themselves the legendary DT and another Great American, CaptainTrav Lee Keeton. Despite the erosive elements outside, their winds were up, stirred by the gallantry of the Tide defense.
All were enthralled by the win. At some point the adrenaline ambient to victory went straight to the Captain’s fists. Though not a bully, he loved to right perceived wrongs. That was normally a good thing, and this was the very night for it. Note, though, the word perceived. The Captain possessed a gimlet eye.
So, on a street named Desire, they encountered a group of lusty young men laughing loudly and long, and boasting about how the Texas Longhorns would make short, bloody slaughter of our heroes’ beloved Crimson Tide.
Two things leaped to the Captain’s attention. First, these louts without apparent reason appeared to be having more fun than he was, even though it was Alabama that had just won the natty. Second, they had affronted, egregiously claiming Texas could beat Alabama, a thing clearly impossible.
This was to the Captain a great wrong. He was seconded by DT.
“Start with me then,” said the Captain to the loudest lout, striding up and shoving him.
How were our jubilant heroes to know these very men were the recent winners of the featherweight division of the Texas Golden Glove tournament, come to the French Quarter to celebrate.
To say that Trav Lee Keeton was quick, strong and goodmean is to call a tiger a pussycat. But what he was, more than anything, was willing. Willingness will accomplish what little else can. He was willing and ever ready.
“What the hell!”
And when the right fist landed on his nose and released an effusion, our Captain formed and loudly disclosed an oath that might’ve shaken the doors of heaven and the rafters of hell, an oath unlikely ever anywhere to be seen in print. A neologism, sure as shooting.
“I thought those things burned up when they hit atmosphere,” he thought.
DT knew about Leonidas and 300 Spartans facing thousands of Persians, knew about facing unbeatable foe. The Captain didn’t. He just knew he was getting his ass kicked and that there was little he could do about it except bleed some.
Time is a relative thing, as our old friend Albert Einstein assured us. What seemed mere moments to the Texans began to feel interminable to our heroes.
Finally, the Captain and DT looked at each other and simultaneously held up a hand, having had enough. The Texans held out theirs. A firm fast friendship formed, star-crossed from the getgo.
They decided to challenge the town.
“Parlous,” thought D.T.
The bouncer politely insisted, and that’s when one of the Texans punched him. Burly men carrying what looked suspiciously like the bottom halves of pool cues poured into the room.
Next morning, DT was still in a bit of a mood when the nurse came in. On the hospital tray, she placed a small cup of orange juice and a small cup for a urine sample and left. In the next bed was the Captain, looking like a six-car pileup.
DT smiled, though it pained his purple lip. With his uninjured left hand, DT poured the juice into the urine jar.
The nurse returned and cast her own gimlet eye on the container.
“Well,” she said. “We’re a bit cloudy this morning.”
“Hell,” said D.T., “if you don’t like it I’ll run it through again.”
He raised the urine jar toward the captain.
“Salud!” he said, and drank it down.
Consternation was quick, loud and satisfactory.
“Lets get out of here and get some breakfast, soon as we round up the cowboys,” said Captain Trav Lee Keeton, a Great American.
“Scrambled eggs,” he said.
The Captain nodded.
“Soft scrambled,” he said.
(Next week: Looking Forward by Looking Back )