Tonight I was going to write about time-out. I think that one is going to have to wait for another day. All I can think about is Toomer’s Corner. This afternoon we got the news that the 130 year old oak trees at the center of Auburn had been poisoned. Poisoned? Really? Who would do that?
Well, the answer is apparently ‘Al from Dadeville.’ Thanks to him, tonight I had to tell my children the sad news that the trees that we have rolled every fall throughout their lives after an Auburn victory were dying. Not a natural death. Not a hurricane. Not a tornado. Not a freeze. Not a sickness. But from a poison applied by a man.
Of course their first question was “Why?” How do I explain that? That someone hated Auburn enough that they would actually pour poison all over the ground around the trees that have been at the heart of our community for over a century? That a football rivalry would drive someone to that vindictive of an act?
I did the best I could. I explained that it was not the fault of our in-state rival. It wasn’t the team or even their fans. It was someone who acted alone in a way that most of us will never understand. It’s okay for my kids to be angry, to be sad. I know I am, but I don’t want them to grow up hating the way that ‘Al from Dadeville’ does.
So, we loaded up the car and headed to Toomer’s Corner. Something we’ve done countless times. But this night it was a solemn ride. Not our usual cheerful parade with toilet paper after an Auburn win, but a slow quiet drive.
When we arrived, there were hundreds of other fans throwing toilet paper and singing Auburn fight songs. People were holding signs, “Honk for the trees!” The news media was there, but this time not because of an Auburn victory. This time it was to mark the beginning of the end of the Toomer’s Oaks.
Despite my bitterness and my sadness, there is one thing that I am certain of. It’s that nothing can poison the heart of the Auburn family. We are ‘All In’ through good times and bad. Tonight was no different and as always, “I believe in Auburn and love it.”