It’s the Christmas season and that means it’s time to relax with family, eat nachos, make Fried Alabama Crimson Tide Apple Chips and sit around and wait for the Crimson Tide to battle Clemson in the National Championship game. Lewis Grizzard called Clemson “Auburn with a lake.” and next week, Dabo Swinney and his rocket ship of a football team will line up against the defending National Champions and undefeated, Crimson Tide.
Enjoying the other bowl games makes for a truly relaxing holiday season. The rest of the scrubs are beating up on each other, playing in bowls at Shreveport and Memphis, while we’re snuggled up in our homes, toasting our toes to Anne Murray Christmas albums and making holiday gifts for each other, like cute little elves. Or little people. Midgets? I have no idea. I’m 6’3″ so most everyone I see is some version of short. Of course, that won’t keep a 5’6″ 220 lb. bottleneck from Attleboro from kicking your ass. Short beefy guys are, in no way, afraid of tall, lanky men. They see us as something they can fold like origami cranes. Fortunately, I occasionally run with BoSox animals so if anyone ever wants to throw down, they end up facing a frothing pack of timber wolves with broken Yuengling bottles and tire arms. But I digress, Christmas is NOT the season for fighting. It’s the time to spend all your money at Macy’s. Nope. Not that either.
In a global gyre of plastic garbage, there has been an evolution from spending money we don’t have on things nobody wants. Dress shirts and v-necks have long since been replaced by painted bar signs and silly spoon necklaces. In the months, and especially the weeks, leading up to the holiday, our homes are converted into Santa’s busy workshops, littered with paints, stain, and sawdust. Your house is messy, but not because of Christmas stuff. Stop buying all your presents on Amazon.com. I used to be an art teacher, so don’t tell me you can’t figure out something artsy-craftsy to pull together. Trust me, they don’t need another Bluetooth speaker. For members of The Nation, the exception to the rule is Alabama gear. The annual visit to Birmingham for Thanksgiving often serves as the perfect time to buy, yet another obsolete, National Championship flag.
Most years for Christmas, the elves in my workshop cook and can homemade apple butter. Three bags of apples, one jug of apple cider, sugar, and spices are all that’s needed to make perfect, southern apple butter; “But what about the peels?”
This year we looked down at our bowl of apple peels and worked to find a use for them. Boom-sickles! These Indians are using every part of the buffalo.
This snack is crispy sweetness mixed with a salty touch. Although light and crunchy, they simply melt in your mouth. This recipe comes from Alabama apples, which are a little small but entirely tasty, like me. It will also work just fine with apples from any one of the other lesser states in our union.
As long as we’re dealing with the Cotton State, we might as well address the upcoming National Championship game versus Clemson…again. Clemson still has an exceptional football team, a crushing defense and an electric quarterback. After outlasting them and their field general, Desaun Watson in last year’s game 45-40, we certainly did not want to give them another shot at the title. Folks can’t be allowed to come back to the well too many times. Like all good football players, he wants it. He and the Tigers were so close last year, they could taste it until the onside kick that defied both time and physics.
Recently, I heard a Clemson fan remark on how the road to greatness went straight through the Crimson Tide. That’s exactly right. One misconception about Alabama fans is that we’re never scared. We are always scared. We respect the game enough to know how fragile a thing like victory can be. We had the same attitude after we lost to Tim Tebow in the SEC championship game. He ran over the Tide in the fourth quarter like a supply wagon and kept throwing those silly dump passes to victory. It took a while, but the Crimson Tide got another shot the following year and left that pigeon crying on the sideline, like a little girl with a skint knee. But the fact remains; Just because you want it. Just because you think you deserve it. Just because it’s so close. That don’t necessarily make it so.
Set the chips up ahead of time and have a perfect snack for grazing during your football gatherings or for the warriors who take it to share with other Bama fans on the quad. It the shade of Denny Chimes, you will find some of the best Southern football vittles this side of Demopolis. Why do we care to be the best tailgaters in the world? It’s what we do. (Sorry Buckeyes, but you folks do bring a nice spread). We really wanted to play you this year and get some payback from that Sugar Bowl. The world would have enjoyed seeing the Crimson Tide play the Buckeyes. It just looks classy. Don’t worry precious ones, you can’t hide forever.
10 Glorious Crimson Tide Quotes:
- “Keep doing it until they stop it” Bryant
- “It came down to the kicking game, the butt kicking” Nail
- “You’d better pass.” Lyons
- You never know what a football player is made of until he plays against Alabama.” Neyland
- Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Tyson (of course that’s Iron Mike but it’s so good).
- “The Pope has gone to bed” Nail
- “He knocked me woozy. I have never been hit like that before and hopefully, I’ll never be hit like that again.” Beuerlein
- “If you’re not here to win the National Championship, then you’ve come to the wrong place”. Bryant
- “We’ve got some real hateful guys on our squad this year”. Saban
- “I always want my players to show class, knock’em down, pat on the back, and run back to the huddle.” Bryant
- apple peelings
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 T cinnamon
- sprinkle of brown sugar
- 2 T butter
- place apple peels in ovenproof dish
- cover with apple cider, white sugar and cinnamon
- cook on 350 for 45 min
- remove and strain out liquids
- deep fry in batches until crispy (about four minutes)
- cool on wire rack and top with brown sugar and cinnamon
- it's so easy
Since the inception of the university in 1831, Bama fans have been able to enjoy periodic seasons of football success. Its contagious electricity gets passed down through generations. Many other schools and fans never, or rarely get a chance to realize the fun that comes with following a team through the season and celebrating its culmination in a National Championship. It’s a great thrill to watch your group of people get excited and happy at the same time. There’s always a ton of hugging. It’s a tough world out there and a little reveling never hurts. You’d think we should able to harness that kind of energy and run a school or prison or something.
From Frank Thomas, Coach Bryant, Coach Stallings and now the Coach. We have been afforded victories and entire seasons of success that not one Alabama fan takes for granted. A whole football season is made up of many football gatherings, with spicy food, fellowship, and song. My father, known in South Florida circles as Tamiami Sammy, grew up an avid Crimson Tide fan in Jefferson County in the sixties and seventies. These were the days when you could shimmy into Legion Field for a few bucks and a folded ticket stub. This was the time of Johnny Musso, the Snake and the birth of the wishbone. By the time I was born in Mobile in 1971, he and mother had already been spoiled rotten by beastly, angry teams that dominated the sport for decades. The entire state had long-since adopted a passion for football similar to that of religious fervor, and in many cases, very closely related. Everyone knows that Coach Bryant “suggested” to God that Bo Jackson run around the right in the Iron Bow. The seventies would be the decade when it became clear to me that Coach Bryant ranked just above Santa Clause and Jesus.
Now, again we are eternally fortunate to have another football coach who is a genius at his position in the university. He’s more like the the WOPR, the silly huge computer from “War Games” whose always working on new ways to destroy the world and win football games. It can’t be easy. We have one more game to play and a chance to win another crystal football. Be careful, they’re fragile. I can only imagine that the rest of the world was hoping for a different match up, but there’s nothing we can do about that now. When they began arguing about who should be in the playoff, my mother said in her slow southern drawl, “The best way to avoid those problems…Don’t lose”. It really keeps things simple. But now it’s the week before the game. Let the bells ring and herald the time for trash talking. I have a freshman quarter back who was attending the Sadie Hawkins dance just a few months ago. Nobody has any idea what is about to happen. I can only hope my defense comes out and hits the Clemson players so hard that they become afraid to return to the football field.
There is an ire that accompanies great teams. Many people hate the Patriots for the same reason they dislike the Tide. I hate the Patriots for three reason; Tom Brady beat the Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl; they always win; and because simply, they are the damn Patriots, consistently a group of winners in spite of changes and external influences. This kind of excellence takes advanced coaching skills. It’s a fact that my coach is a branch of the Belichick coaching tree and there are countless similarities to the way they do things. Do you get sick of watching the same team win all the time, especially when you hate them? Switch teams, why don’t you. C’mon over.
There is another element of it also. We want to witness greatness and understand it. We want some of the “process” to rub off on us and show us how to be better, every day. Champions are a fantastic thing and it’s great excitement to take the hayride along with them. Become an Alabama Fan today! Our girls are pretty, our songs are easy and fun to sing, and we win football games all the time. It’s a real gas. You’re going to love it. No one will blame you. Burn that FSU gibberish before the first game of next year and wrap up in a crimson scarf. Yowza.