Flashbacks in the Stadium

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

It’s me, Rose, again. The other night I had a flashback. I remembered what had happened just before I left the University campus for the last time. Of course, I returned to Tutwiler Hall as a ghost.

Just before I had returned home for Christmas in 1968, I’d read in the news that Bud Silvis had shot himself in the head. He was a student who been arrested in a raid of the Haight Hut. The police hadn’t found any drugs, if the head shop’s owner is to be believed. The cops seized water pipes and stuff like that. Silvis faced a possible sentence for possessing LSD of 25 years in prison. He committed suicide before his trial.

I’d heard about the Haight Hut and this disgusting bar The Chukker from my friend Estelle. I actually bought some rolling papers at the head shop. I rolled up some pipe tobacco and didn’t feel anything except nauseated when I smoked it. I never got around to smoking pot, which was what most people were using rolling paper for who went to the Haight Hut.

I only visited The Chukker one time after Estelle had dared me to. It was the nastiest place I’d ever encountered. I’d never had an alcoholic beverage before so I ordered a coke and listened to the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth” that was playing on the jukebox. I could relate to the song’s lyrics — “There’s something happening here. But what it is ain’t exactly clear.”

I guess, if I’d not blown out my brains on Christmas Day, I might have gone back to The Chukker. Who knows? On Christmas Day, I’d found a handgun in my Dad’s dresser drawer. That was the first time I’d ever picked up a gun. I don’t know why I pointed it at my head and pulled the trigger. I didn’t think it was loaded. My Dad had a cheap “Saturday Night Special” with a hair trigger and no safety. I was just making a dramatic gesture to express my alienation from all things jolly on Christmas. I was certainly not trying to mimic Bud Silvis.

My new home away from life in Bryant-Denny Stadium sure looks a lot different than it did when I went to a few games as a student. I’ve visited every part of the stadium now. The football team’s locker room sure looks a lot nicer than rooms in Tutwiler Hall used to look. And the club rooms and skyboxes are really fancy.

For what it’s worth, I’m not really sure if going to a football game and using the new facilities will make things any better if the Crimson Tide football team isn’t victorious.

The fans used to chant after a win, whether it was over an unrated team or tougher competition. The Rammer Jammer cheer, as I understand it, was derived from a 1920’s campus humor magazine of the same name. What “rammer” means has always puzzled me. The barrel of muskets used to be loaded with a rammer. “Jammer” is even more elusive. Somehow it all has a vague sexual connotation.

An important part of the cheer is “We’re gonna beat the hell outta’ you!” I read that the cheer was considered offensive enough to be banned at one time. When I attended games there wasn’t any Rammer Jammer cheer. It came along in the early 1980s.

I’ll probably hear it soon enough. The 2022 football season is about to get started. And I’ll be at my home away from life — Bryant-Denny Stadium.


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