News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


In defense of the Crimson Tide

Ruby Gray Buckingham is like her maternal grandfather when it comes to talking and smiling. Sometimes we gab and grin only when situations call for talk and smiles.

That trait posed a problem for her mother, Lynn, last week in South Georgia when she took Ruby Gray for a portrait.

"If you tell her to smile, she won't," Lynn cautioned the photographer, offering the benefit of her experience. "But if you ask her for a 'Roll Tide' she might give you a good expression."

Accepting the challenge, the photographer asked Ruby Gray to smile. No smile.

"Come on, Ruby, smile for me," she pleaded with the 2 year old.

Still no smile; just a serious Wright-type look.

Lynn reminded the photographer that "Roll Tide" might be the magic words to break the ice.

The photographer protested. She is a University of Florida Gator fan. Having to say "Roll Tide" to get somebody's child to smile for a picture was, she thought, asking too much during football season.

"Smile," she again coaxed Ruby Gray. No smile, and Ruby Gray was tired of posing.

Finally, the photographer gave a puny "Roll Tide" which appeared more to test the football gods than to elicit a little girl's favorable reaction.


"Roll Tide," the photographer said again, giving it a bit more oomph.

No smile.

After the third unsuccessful try, the photographer gave a desperate but enthusiastic "Go Gators."

The words clicked.

"Roll Tide! Go Bama! Roll Tide! Go Bama! Roll Tide! Go Bama! Roll Tide!" Ruby Gray shouted, as the photographer clicked away.

"I'm just glad the photographer didn't say 'Go Bulldogs' or 'War Eagle,' " Lynn said later, "we might still be there."

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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