After football season some Southerners get downright surly about the past season. Sometimes they get mad or reflective. Now and then, they get poetic.
I was in Alexandria, Louisiana last week at Porky’s, a walk-up joint that sells barbecue and gumbo and pork cracklins. A man walked up and asked if the cracklins were fresh. The dude behind the glass said he put them out just a few minutes earlier and the customer grunted as only a Cajun can and said, “Uh, I’ll wait, you.” And he stood there until the next batch was made. While he was waiting I had a chance to talk with him about LSU football.
“We shoulda beat Saban this year, we shoulda.” he said, still sore that Nick Saban had left the Bengal Tigers several years ago to go coach in the pros at Miami before settling into championship after championship at Alabama. “Had him on dem ropes and then dat screen pass just fluked us.”
“Fluked you?” I said.
“Yeah,” he said snarling. “When you supposed to win and a fluke happens, you get fluked, we did.”
“Never heard it put like that before,” I said. “Makes sense. I may borrow that saying if you don’t mind.”
“Oh yessir, take it if you want,” he said. “I heard it from an ol’ boy down in Baton Rouge years ago at a daiquiri stand. He twas bettin on a horse race and da horse runned oftenda track and dat wuz it. He got fluked.”
He took his cracklins, shook my hand and got in a beautifully dented-up Mercedes-Benz with a “Geaux Tigers” bumper sticker on the rear and drove towards Alexandria. I got my Gumbo and got back in my truck and ate alone and thought about all the times I’d been fluked. When I finished, I unpeeled a strawberry MoonPie and headed down I-49 towards New Orleans, through the bare sugar cane fields and crawdaddy swamps. Right before I got to Opelousas, the traffic just ground into a parking lot. As we inched along for 30 minutes or more, I noticed the dented Mercedes in the lane next to me and I rolled down the window and motioned at my old friend from back at Porky’s. He rolled down his window and waved his hands around like he was swatting at a fly.
“Now we both done got fluked!” he yells and laughs.
“Yes we did!” I yell back.
In a couple of miles, I tossed him a MoonPie through his open window. He smiled and yelled, “Maybe dis will unfluke us!”