Last weekend was the third Saturday in October. For anyone who lives in my state or the one just south of here, especially those who like the color orange or crimson, we know what that means. And statistically, it usually means a loss for us, although every once in a while we pull out a W.
Not too surprisingly, this was not a year for that. Swimmer Girl and I had volunteered to help with a charity chili cook-off so we let Oldest Son and Mr. Official trek to Knoxville to cheer for the Big Orange. We kept up with the score during the chili festivities, and when we got home we turned on the game to see the score as 10-3. It was as good as it got all night.
I couldn’t bear to watch the game in real time so we opted for a movie instead and checked the score throughout. “Easy A” was on, and I hadn’t seen it. Its title and plot line borrow from Nathaniel Hawthorn’s “The Scarlet Letter.” (There is a point to this sidebar, I promise.)
Long story short: we lost the game. And Vol fans are once again ready to skewer the coach. When you’re an SEC team with a national title under your belt, you don’t take losing seasons in stride. Heads should roll. Tar pots and feathers should be prepared. It’s ugly and with every loss, the rumbling becomes more ominous.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I stand in my closet and contemplate my choices. A houndstooth blouse and charcoal gray skirt catch my eye. I throw on a dark sweater because I’m pretty sure our worship auditorium is used for a meat locker when we’re not assembled in it. (Just kidding, but it is near-Arctic temps in there most Sundays.)
Mr. Official, who rarely comments on my outfits, took one look and raised an eyebrow and objection to my ensemble. It took me a few seconds to catch his drift, but I did realize I had committed a huge football fashion faux pas. No time to change, but I was sporting an orange purse and it somewhat counterbalanced the offense.
In my defense, at least I instinctively avoided a beloved crimson brocade jacket (which would have looked smashing with it, I must say.)
And that leads me back to the movie and underlying literary theme. Seriously, ‘bama fans: do y’all not read classic literature in your state? Surely someone realized the potentially negative connotation of using crimson as a school color in a state whose name begins with the letter “A.” Or maybe not, given the number of ginormous red “A’s” on the fronts of t-shirts and back windows of cars and trucks.
My flirty fashion fling with houndstooth was brought up in the adults class Mr. Official is teaching this quarter. And all his friends – Vol and ‘Bama fans alike – made it a point to comment on my outfit – all in good fun, of course. But I think I now know what it must have felt like to wear that scarlet letter.