Professional hockey came to Huntsville when I was just a teenager. I remember it well, actually, because there was a contest to name the team and I submitted what I thought was the best idea.
But my idea wasn’t chosen.
My idea? The Huntsville Huskies. The alliteration of the H’s, huskies in cold weather, great mascot potential.
The name chosen? The Huntsville Channel Cats. At the time I was like huh? But turns out it’s a kind of catfish around here. Ok.
Those early seasons people threw fish on the ice from the stands. I didn’t ever see it but I heard about it. I’ve sometimes wondered if it’s true. But they announce before games “no throwing things on the ice” so maybe there’s something to it.
I still have a Channel Cats t-shirt from back then.
They’re not the Channel Cats anymore though. (The whole story about that is told pretty well on Wikipedia.) For about a decade now they’ve been the Huntsville Havoc. I get behind the name but I’m still kinda partial to Huskies, myself. Especially since the Havoc mascot kinda looks like a husky dog.
We call ourselves the Hockey Capital of the South, which I always thought was a pretty cool moniker for my city. In addition to pro hockey we also have the UAH Chargers hockey, where I spent many a date or night out with friends in high school and college.
The boys and I take in a hockey game every now and then — like we did tonight — and enjoy the live action sport and of course the fights. Tonight was particularly fight-heavy which adds to the excitement. After one fight just now Finn said “He went all WWE on him!” LOL!
I had an awesome shirt in college (may still have it somewhere actually) that said “Give blood, play hockey.” Although only once have I seen blood in hockey, and I think the guy must have lost some teeth too. He hit his face on the ice. The blood froze and the ref came along and just skated over it, chopped it up, and pushed it over to the side with his skates. I remember thinking how strange.
Oh, and I still think they should be called the Huskies. :-)
I kinda knew when I moved the boys to my alma mater that they’d have some classmates whose parents I knew from my own years at the school.
I couldn’t really anticipate what that would really be like though.
I’ve had a few awkward moments where so-and-so was popular in high school and I wasn’t in their “circle of influence” so I let myself feel inferior. For a minute. And then I’m like, um, hello, this ain’t high school anymore, why am I letting myself feel this way?
So there’s that.
But it never occurred to me that the high school basketball stars would be my sons’ coaches.
Those two guys above were several years ahead of me in school, so they weren’t people I actually “knew” but more people I “knew of.”
Today, they’re Coach Aaron and Coach Daniel, but more than that — when I showed these pictures to the boys — they’re Carter’s dad and Grant’s dad, and while I had the yearbook out I showed them a few others pictures and it was the same — that’s Lawson’s dad and there’s Henry’s dad.
I was a little “star struck” at first, at some of these former players now being every day, normal people in my life. They had a certain untouchable, popular and cool aura left over from high school.
But they’re just regular folks — just coach or just so-and-so’s dad, and I’m just Finn and Caden’s mom.
Really does show just how stupid the whole caste system in high school is, and how the things we spend all of our time worrying about in high school (popularity, looks, etc.) amount to nothing later in life, when playing fields get leveled.
Ah, Christmas cards.
It’s that time of year again.
In the past I’ve written a Christmas letter telling all about our previous year, or sent photos of the boys in Santa hats, or sent just plain ol’ traditional cards with a nativity and a verse from Luke chapter 2.
One year I mailed no cards at all and sent Christmas wishes via Facebook.
The list of people I mail cards to has kinda shrunk over the years, as I stay more in touch with folks via social media and only mail cards to those who live states away or who aren’t on social media.
This year, though, I’m SUPER excited about my cards.
I ordered them from St. Jude’s Ranch Recycled Card Program, which takes used cards and turns them into new. The old cards are re-made by young people at the ranch.
St. Jude’s Ranch is not affilated with St. Jude’s Children Hospital, for children with cancer. This is St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, a program that works with abused, abandoned, neglected or homeless children, teens and families. Read their about page here.
Earlier this year I mailed to the ranch used Christmas and birthday cards from years past, and this week I received an order of Christmas cards to send out this year. I wondered if any of the ones I sent in made it back to me in my packets of re-made cards.
The fronts of the old Christmas cards are cut to size and glued to the front of a new, blank card. The back of the card says it was made at St. Jude’s Ranch and it’s signed by the person who made it.
How special is that?
It’s probably not too late for you to order your Christmas cards for this year from St. Jude’s, if you’re looking for cards and want to do something a little different.
They also sell packages of cards for birthdays, thank you, all occasion, etc.
And of course after the holidays when you’re looking for what to do with all the Christmas cards you received, consider donating them to St. Jude’s.
All the info to order or donate can be found here.
The city of Huntsville, Alabama, has held the annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll for
I don’ t know how many years a long time. I’ve wanted to go but it hadn’t ever worked out … til this year.
First, let me tell you how I feel about Maple Hill Cemetery and maybe then you’ll appreciate a little more what finally making it to this event means.
This is the largest cemetery in my city. Some source say it’s the largest cemetery in the state. 100 acres. More than 80,000 people are bured there. As a kid we would drive past it and went on and on and on for what seemed like eternity.
It’s where everybody who’s anybody is buried.
It’s where I want to be buried. Not because I’m anybody special in the big picture, but because I’m from here and the cemetery has great local significance. I like the idea of someone, hundreds of years from now, seeing a marker with my name on it, wondering who I was and what I did and doing research to find out. The idea of being appreciated long after I’m gone.
Maybe someday I’ll even be portrayed in the Cemetery Stroll.
Which brings me back to the purpose of this here post and that was to talk about the Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll.
As I said, this was my first year to go and I thought I knew what to expect.
I was mostly right.
Remember that little kid in Sixth Sense who said “I see dead people”?
It’s not like that.
What it’s like is local historians, actors, TV personalities and even the county sheriff take on personas of people buried in the cemetery and talk, kinda from the grave, telling about the life and death of their person.
I thought the boys – 10 and nearly 8 — were old enough to handle the history portion in favor of walking around in a cemetery. Boys should appreciate the creepiness of a cemetery right? Especially in October, so near to Halloween.
But no, I was wrong. They were bored from the time I told them we were going.
Not even knowing one of the actors or the trolley ride from the parking lot at a nearby church to the cemetery gates was enough to interest them, really.
We weren’t even in the cemetery one minute when they were already asking “Can we go yet?” or saying “This is boring.”
I said, “Next time I’ll get a sitter and y’all can stay home,” to which the smart-alleck 10-year-old said “Is it too late to get a sitter, now?”
So moving on, there are more than 80 graves with actors to visit and the stroll only lasts two and a half hours.
Do the math.
There’s no way you could see all 80.
In fact, I was told to make sure and see the presentation about Lily Flagg, a famous Hunstville cow, and it was there that Ron Cooper, the man acting as Samuel B. Moore (Lily Flagg’s owner) gave the best cemetery stroll advice ever:
You can’t see it all in one year so come back year after year and see it blocks at a time so you know year after year which blocks you’ve seen and which blocks you haven’t.
I saw only two and a half presentations.
But not all was lost. I enjoyed the two (and a half) presentations that I saw, enough that I want to come back next year.
And this time I just might leave the kids at home.
Note: Just because my kids weren’t the best sports about going this year doesn’t mean your kids will be. The cemetery stroll is actually very kid-friendly with all the actors and actresses dressed in interesting period costumes, lots of guys in military wear, some with guns and muskets. A small band played period music and the Lily Flagg stop is a guy dressed in a furry cow costume. So certainly, it can be a family-friend thing. Bring the babies and the toddlers in strollers. It has the potential to teach kids about our local history and an opportunity to teach cemetery etiquette too.
If you go:
The Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll is sponsored by the Huntsville Pilgramage Association and held in October. The event is free but donations are collected and used to restore and preserve the cemetery’s headstones and monuments. Parking is very limited. Park at Jackson Way Baptist Church and ride the city trolley to the cemetery gates for free!