Today it is 63 degrees with a 13 mile per hour wind. It is a lovely fall day. It is Homecoming for Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. I have relished reading the happy posts on Facebook regarding returning alumni enjoying a piece of pizza from Pag’s Pizza or, this morning, a Bloody Mary at the Cellar. I saw what appeared to be nothing but smiling faces at the Chancellor’s Golf Scramble. I was reminded of the year that I was asked to attend Chancellor Argersinger’s Golf Scramble. I replied that I not only did not know how to golf but that the entrance fee was more than my pocketbook would allow.
Aaron said that he may attend the Homecoming Football game and once again I recalled taking he and Jonathon to Saluki Football games…in the 1990’s…in McAndrew Stadium. I liked watching people more than the game…although Jonathon endeavored to explain to me what was happening on the field. One football season on the last game…near Thanksgiving…it was so cold that we all agreed to leave early. Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995…while we were at a Saluki Football game. One game in the 90’s we sat in the vip seats at McAndrew Football Stadium at the invitation of the First Lady of the SIUC Campus, Shirley Beggs. I was grateful for the sincere gesture of friendship and I worked hard to try to convince then University President, Ted Sanders, to keep Chancellor Beggs beyond his 2 year contract. In those halcyon days we had around 23 thousand students at SIUC.
May 8, 2009 a Derecho devastated Carbondale and the University. A commencement ceremony was going on in Shryock Auditorium on the campus…when the inland hurricane hit. One hundred year old trees were pulled up by their roots and lain on their sides. Electrical power was off for over a week. There were thousands of parents in town for the on-going college commencements all day Saturday. Our department, Building Services, cleaned McAndrew stadium by flash light under lightning filled skies and never complained…commencement in the football stadium…under the Saturday Sunlight…was a success.