Forty years ago this summer, the Colonel was halfway through his undergraduate studies at Ole Miss.
Well..., the Colonel uses the word "studies" in the most general and non-descriptor fashion possible. As the Colonel's college transcripts will attest, he was not exactly the model student. Unless by model student you mean that he spent the vast majority of his matriculation at the "Harvard of the South" participating in every activity imaginable outside of actually studying.
And, the Colonel doesn't really claim to have attended a college -- he went to Ole Miss. There is a vast difference.
But, that's not important right now.
What is of the greatest import with regard to this post is the fact that the most fantastically amazing change was about to take place in the Colonel's life. He was about to get hitched for life with the love of his life -- the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda.
There are those among the spare readership of the regularly irregular posts on this blog who will ask, "I thought hunting and fishing was the love of the Colonel's life?"
Those folks know him -- just not as well as they think. It is true that the Colonel had a well-worn habit of introducing himself with, "hunting and fishing is my life -- the Marine Corps is my hobby...and, I'm passionate about my hobby." But, that was a half-truth, at best...
Hunting and fishing was the Colonel's first love to be sure. But the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda quickly and easily supplanted the pursuit of fin, feather, and fur.
Some among the readership of this blog -- you faithful few with nothing else of any measurable worth to do with your time but to spend it perusing posts hereon -- will ask, "I thought Ole Miss football was the love of the Colonel's life?"
Ah, but there is another layer of love, which, when peeled away, reveals the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda at the center of the Colonel's passion. Make no mistake there aren't many things that will quicken the cold, flinty cinder that passes for his heart more than the melody of "Dixie" -- if buried not-so secretly under another more politically correct tune -- as the Colonel's Rebels take the field.
Yet, more often than not, in his lengthening life, the Colonel's Rebels have disappointed; let him down; crushed the cold, flinty cinder that passes for his heart; pushed him downtrodden out the exits; left him more bitter and further hating Bama and LSU.
In all the Colonel's years with the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda -- approaching a half-century -- she has never let him down.
The Colonel wishes that he could say that he has reciprocated -- but it just ain't so. The Colonel is a cad.
He's a glad cad.
Glad that the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda saw something in the Colonel that the Colonel himself couldn't see.
Glad that when God said to the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, "that knucklehead over there is the one" she followed His direction just as she has every day since -- providing the Colonel a rock of faith in his life against which every storm imaginable has crashed without impact.
Glad that out of the 3.5 billion women on this planet, the Colonel found the only one who understands him, and loves him despite that understanding.
Forty years ago, the Colonel and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda decided they couldn't wait any longer to become man and wife. In spite of all of the advice to wait until he graduated, they decided to dive headlong into the matrimonial morass -- clueless and unafraid. They set a date -- July 31, 1976. And, they kept it.
If he could go back, the Colonel would do it all over again.
Well..., maybe he's try to limit the times he made her cry...