In the Fall of 1995, I was in my senior year at Auburn (set to graduate the following March), my freshman brother had become my new roommate, and my beloved Tigers were off to a 3-1 start of a season that would end with a lackluster 8-4 record but an Iron Bowl victory. Terry Bowden was the coach, Patrick Nix was the QB, and Stephen Davis was our main running back. (It makes me feel a bit old to know that Stephen Davis, Jr. is now on the team….) My original group of close friends had all but disbanded due to everyone heading in different life directions.
In late September, a storm started churning in the Atlantic that would eventually wreak havoc on the Lovely Village of Auburn: Hurricane Opal. Auburn is not particularly close to the beach (about a 4 hour drive), but this was a big storm. It was still a hurricane as it passed through South Alabama.
Matt (my brother) and I were living on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, and we dutifully put big X’s on our windows with masking tape. (Supposedly this would keep the windows from shattering in a million pieces. Most likely, it was pointless.) We had a few visitors that night. Russ was there. I had gone out a couple of times with a guy named John Curtis, and he was there, too. There was another guy there, too, whose name I can’t remember, but he was about 6’7″ and really old. Like 30. Ha! Anyway.
As both the wind and the drunken Hurricane Parties swirled around us outside, the 4 of us were huddled in our little bathroom, Russ was sitting in the bathtub, and we were singing praise songs. Shockingly, that was too much for John Curtis and the other guy, and they left. I never heard from John again after that. Oh well. If you can’t huddle with me in the bathroom in the middle of a hurricane, you’re not the man for me.
Russ ended up spending the night with us. To avoid being right beside windows, we had moved all of the mattresses out of the bedrooms, so I remember sleeping in the kitchen. Russ and my brother were in the den. I also remember trying to not to move much in my sleep to avoid waking up with terrible Bed Hair.
The power was out at our apartment when we woke the next morning. Neither my brother nor I remember exactly how long it stayed off but I believe it was a couple of days. However, we did still have running water which is more than could be said for where David was living. On the second or third morning, he showed up at our apartment to take a shower looking pretty rough and smelling even rougher. We let him in and headed out to a place on College St that had power and served breakfast.
This particular part of this story isn’t all that related to mine and David’s story, I suppose, but it’s certainly one of my most memorable experiences at Auburn, and my son wanted to know about it. He’s been asking me to write Part Four for a couple of days now. I love that he’s so interested.
In 1996, things get a lot more interesting.