This past weekend my handsome husband took me to Alabama to see his family and to attend the University of Alabama’s homecoming football game.
We got into town Thursday night and headed straight to a classic local Mexican restaurant. I was exhausted, but the food was good and it was nice to catch up with my in-laws!
Friday we went to lunch with my sweet mother-in-law and her mama at Chicken Salad Chick – a place I love and William allows me to indulge when we’re in town. I got a trio of chicken salad flavors because I couldn’t decide which sounded best, and have already convinced William to make chicken salad when we get home. He is such a good cook!
Saturday we were up early to get ready to head to Tuscaloosa so I could experience a full game day in T-Town. My generous mother-in-law bought me four new tops, a pair of earrings and a bracelet, so I had plenty of choices for what to wear to my first game in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I went with a long sleeve black tunic with a houndstooth printed back and neckline with black leggings and gray converse.
We started our day off at Mugshots for some tasty burgers. William & I each got a different one, then split them so it was like eating two different burgers. After lunch we walked down to BlackWarrior Brewing where the Kentucky Alumni Association had camped out and grabbed a locally brewed cider (me) and beer (William). That cider was crisp, refreshing and tasted wonderful! After our drinks we continued walking along the parade route towards campus, where I stopped at Steel City Pops for a Bosc pear and honey popsicle; it was really flavorful and a refreshing treat as the temperature started to rise.
We decided to spend a couple hours at the Houdstooth to watch the parade and meet up with some friends. I had a large margarita that totally hit the spot; William knows my love of margaritas is strong! The parade was fun – seeing the sheer size of the sorority pledge classes & the effort that went into pomping the floats made my college experience at Montana look quaint. We met up with Sam and his girlfriend and then decided to try and go to Galette’s so I could experience a yellow hammer, but the line to get in was insane and they were charging a cover, so we decided to head to Sam’s brother-in-law’s tailgate and grab some beer from Publix.
After hanging out at the tailgate for a bit, we headed to sorority row so I could see some of the pomping the girls had been doing all week. What a different experience for me! The sorority houses were larger than the buildings I went to class in at Montana, let alone the house I lived in for four years. We stopped by the Kappa Alpha Theta house so I could see it and William could use the restroom. I got my Theta loves the Tide sticker for the game and donated a couple dollars to the suicide awareness and prevention campaign the chapter was doing.
Last year, the Theta chapter lost a sister to suicide, so this year they chose to donate their homecoming budget to suicide awareness and to raise funds from alumni and Alabama fans during Hoemcoming week. It made me so proud as a future mental health professional and a Theta alumna to see the girls choose to do something so impactful. They had set a goal of $5,000.00 and by the time we stopped by heading into the stadium had raised almost $15,000.00! If we had had more time, we could have eaten at Theta, but we had seats in the Zone with free food and drinks, so we headed to Bryant-Denny!
I seriously could not stop grinning the closer we got to the stadium! It has been a bucket-list item and long-time dream for me to experience a game at Alabama and I was in awe of the sheer size and maintenance of the facility. I have been to Mile High stadium in Denver and to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and Bryant-Denny put them to shame!
We watched the game with William’s family and had a wonderful time, with Alabama securing the homecoming victory over Kentucky. The game wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t care – I was watching Alabama football in person and experiencing the incredible atmosphere in that stadium. The defense looked strong, but the offense has some work to do this season – there were points where it felt like Hurts didn’t realize he had any other targets outside of Ridley, and if he couldn’t find Ridley would throw the ball away. Bryant-Denny is the only place I’ve ever heard people sing the school fight song and actually be able to distinguish the words cause everyone knew them. The band was huge and I loved all of the components that go into creating the game day experience at Alabama.
Saturday was magical for me. I know it’s an experience that for many is a normal part of life and they don’t recognize it as anything special, but I was on cloud nine all day long! I have been a fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide since third grade when I was asked, “who do you go for?” At eight years old I chose Alabama and have been loyal ever since. In high school I wanted to attend the University of Alabama, but could not afford it as an out-of-state student. To finally experience game day was a dream come true that my thoughtful husband fulfilled for me. I don’t think I’ll forget that experience ever, since it was something I’d dreamed of for so long!
Sunday we spent a lazy day on my in-laws screened porch watching the Ryder Cup and NFL football before doing a fish fry for dinner with leftover fish from the bucket-list deep sea fishing trip we took over the summer.
It’s been a wonderful weekend filled with people I love and sweet experiences that my husband knew I’d dreamed about. He has already made so many of my dreams come true, and I’m in awe of what I’ve done to deserve him and the kindness and love he shares with me every day. He is so thoughtful and finds such joy in helping me cross off my bucket-list, and I hope he feels that I try to do the same for him.