Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Guest column: Finally Season Is Here

September 1st, 2008 · No Comments

By Todd Bush

I had other things on my mind that night, including leading over 30 young men. But I wanted to take some time to remember the moment. I took just a few seconds and closed my eyes to make use of those rarely utilized, but just as important senses we all have.

It was all there, all over 10 years old and just under a thousand miles away. Back then I lived in The South, and this was one of the holiest times of the year. Now, I live in a different south, and it is a holy time, but one of many. But somehow, as I stood taking in the smells, the sounds, and the feel of the night, it was still the same…

There were the small explosions in the machine throwing out the buttery, slightly overcooked smell of popcorn served up in a waxy paper bag. The scent was drifting on the air softly, combining with the “come and get me” aroma and sweeter-than-a-baratone-sax-sizzle of an authentically grilled burger.

My entire body felt the rhythmic thump as a group of kids beat on bass drums, and my foot unconsciously beat a tap to the trombonist’s tune. Hands struck hands as friends slapped five in greeting. Moms started cheering their sons way too early. A booming voice too close to a too-old microphone announced the sponsors and boosters. My shoes crunched in the blades of freshly cut and newly painted grass, and a slight breeze tousled my hair as I leaned my head back to take it all in.

The snappy shriek of a whistle blown with authority broke through the peace and brought me back down to reality. Everything from the past was still there, but now faded to the background. I was no longer a decade away; I am here. In the present.

I was no longer a scared kid, trying to remember my first game in pads. Now I am a scared man, trying to win my first game as a coach.

It’s September, and finally… football season is here.

(Todd Bush is a Mississippi native who now lives with his wife, Kelly, in Delray Beach, Fla. He teaches geography and coaches football at King’s Academy in West Palm Beach, and like most Southerners, considers football his second religion.)

Tags: Southern Roots Run Deep

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