Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SxSE: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Photo by David Smith flickr.com
The South by Southeast Virtual Road Trip blows into Tuscaloosa this week and next, to visit the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

♦ Tuscaloosa is the 7th closest SEC town to Columbia, 620 miles away (490 air miles).  Alabama is in the SEC West Division.

♦ There is an active Birmingham-North Alabama Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association

Fun Facts about Tuscaloosa, AL:
Forrest Gump
Former Bama Football Star
♦ There are 5 Chik-fil-a locations in Tuscaloosa

♦ Former Alabama Football Coach Bear Bryant is revered in Tuscaloosa.  While in town you can check out:
While no one would be so crass as to name a business the Bear Bryant ________ without permission, local entrepenuers have found a way to tie their businesses to the "Bear".  There are dozens of businesses bearing the name "Houndstooth", after Bear Bryant's signature houndstooth hat.  And houndstooth seems to be the official city "color" or pattern, as exemplified in the TTown Houndstooth Ribbon, memorializing those lost in the 2011 tornado.

♦ Druids are also apparently revered in Tuscaloosa, known as The Druid City.  The reason for this is a fascinating story.  Or not.

Twanglish Lesson: Southern Cussemisms (real-southern.com)
Let’s talk a little bit about Southern cussing. More specifically, let’s talk about the Southern substitutes for cuss words, “cussemisms” if you will.
. . .
Swanny -euphemism 1. To swear 2. To declare or state unequivocally, often preceding a statement of hyperbole:

“I swanny, that boy’s got a bigger appetite than Junior Samples.”

HolyTurf.com's SEC Bucket List: Tuscaloosa
#53 Rama Jama's: Rama Jama’s is located on 1000 Paul W. Bryant Dr. just outside the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The inside of Rama Jama’s is a shrine of sorts to Alabama football with tons of old pictures and mementos. Coach Bear Bryant used to visit Rama Jama’s for meals back in the day.

If you are going for breakfast give the French toast or chocolate chip pancakes a whirl. The biscuits are also very popular. Lunch requires you get a cheeseburger, milkshake and French fries. If you chili dogs are more your cup of tea, Rama Jama’s has a dog you must devour

♦ Tuscaloosa was hit by a massive tornado on April 27, 2011.
  • What Stands in a Storm is an issue of Southern Living magazine that features numerous photo spreads and articles and commentaries about the storm and the recovery efforts that followed.
    It had been a bad spring. The sirens screamed every few days, in Mississippi, Alabama, and beyond. In Tuscaloosa, just days before the big storm, Mary Kate Jemison Cochrane and her daughter, Emily, walked through the family house in Glendale, looking for a place the 91-year-old Mrs. Cochrane could shelter when the weather turned. They settled on a hall closet, removed two Electrolux vacuum cleaners, silent since antiquity, and put in a chair. When sirens did sound on April 27, Mrs. Cochrane stepped inside and shut the door.

    She passed the time by looking through things, forgotten and dusty. She picked up a cookie tin, and pried off the lid. Neatly rolled inside was her christening gown, the one she wore as a baby, almost 92 years ago. She had been looking for that.

    She is hard of hearing. Inside, with her memories, she did not hear the destruction. She felt the house shake, but it had shaken before. Then she heard someone calling her name.

    A neighbor, Michael Carr, had huddled as the storm tore at his walls. The first thing he did, when it passed, was break into her house, damaged but intact, and shout for her. It was the same all along the street, as people ran from house to house, shouting, hoping.

    Carr called for her again. The closet door swung open.

    “Well I am fine, Michael,” she said graciously, “and you are just so kind, to come check on me.”

    She stayed here because it was where she raised her children, where she once found a live horse in a bedroom, where every cardboard box bulged with history. It took the storm of a lifetime to move her. She walked through the ruin, and rode away. But she sent Emily back for the gown.

    There will be great-grandchildren to baptize. They must be properly dressed.
♦ Be sure to check out Dreamland Bar-B-Que
1958 was a big year for Tuscaloosa. Not only was it the first year that Paul “Bear” Bryant starting coaching at Alabama, but it was the year that John “Big Daddy” Bishop opened his first Dreamland Café. Big Daddy was a brick mason for many years and he longed for another way to support his family. He had narrowed it down to opening either a mortuary or a restaurant and he got down on his knees and prayed for guidance. Legend has it that God told him in a dream that night to build a café on the land next to his home and Big Daddy made that dream a reality.

The SEC Guide to Alabama Home Turf doles out advice on where to go and where to eat in Tuscaloosa:
When in Tuscaloosa there are so many places to check out. You'll have to visit multiple times to see all the key places. Most people flock to Dreamland and Rama Jamas -- both will leave you drooling and are must eats. In addition, for dinner, Nicks, aka Nicks in the Sticks to us -- which is where you go to find the place -- is a hidden treasure. The menu is small, but ranges from chick gizzards to steaks. Be prepared for a wait, but you won't even notice because you'll be sipping on their famous beverage -- the Nickademus.
KFRU's The Closers talked to an Alabama sports writer about Tuscaloosa and Rolling Tide traditions.  Listen to the podcast HERE on RockMNation.  Later they talked to Bill Conelly of RockMNation -  Listen HERE

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