Tomorrow, the Colonel will join a lucky, if long-suffering, small nation of kindred spirits as he and 60,000 of his temporarily closest friends conduct a near-religious rite, replete with pilgrimage pageantry, legionary parades, historical hymns, and rote chants whose roots in antiquity are so deeply buried that the meaning of their words are as obscure as the mud at the bottom of the mighty Mississippi herself.
Tomorrow, on the campus of Ole Miss, the Old and New South, in general, and the Old and New Mississippi, specifically, will cease the culture clash for a few hours, forget the feelings-based fights over the truly inconsequential and hug and holler out what connects them in ways they don't even fully understand and are certain no one else does.
Tomorrow, the Colonel will join at least four live generations, and the ghosts of at least a dozen more, in reverent revelry under the oaks, elms, and magnolias forming the ceiling of one of the most holy cathedrals in the South; a naturally beautiful ten-acre park at the heart of one of America's most beautiful campuses, serene for the most part of any day of any season and frenetic sea of happy humanity on seven Saturdays in the fall.
Tomorrow, the Colonel will join the throng of expectant Rebel revelers pouring from the Grove toward the beckoning stands of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, like parishioners parading from church to coliseum with the roar of the lions in their ears, to roar themselves in throaty, primal support and gleeful, grinning approval of valiant feats of skill and gridiron gladiator victory.
Today, the Colonel will prepare. He's old. The flinty, shriveled cinder which passes for his heart is cold and unstretched by months of inactivity and unready for the voltage the Colonel's Rebels will likely put through it this season.
The Colonel, from long experience, has learned to temper his expectations with regard to his Rebels.
But, this just might be the year.
Gotta get ready.
Are you ready, Rebel Nation?