fox theater

Whether the unrefined among you can comprehend it or not, those three items enumerated above are all closely interwoven. One must be able to think in three dimensional terms in order to grasp how they may be associated, and so I shall explain it in some detail in order to enlighten you.

First of all, Commerce. This is a small town on the map just north of Athens. It is legendary for two things – high school football and a lot of stores that have clothes for sale. High school football, though one of my favorite topics, is not included in this complex equation, but stores with clothes for sale most certainly are.

On the topic of new clothes, I am neutral. To put it bluntly, I like old clothes much better because they are more comfortable and because I look much more sophisticated in them. Not only that but if you get them dirty it is not cause for alarm because that’s what washing machines are made for. The opposite is true of new clothes. If you get them dirty, it seems to create panic and havoc in the household, washing machines notwithstanding. Unfortunately, there occasionally comes a time when my wife thinks that I am in dire need of refreshing my wardrobe and with that we have now connected the dots between Commerce, Georgia, and the new clothes portions of our topic.

Next comes the Fox as in the Fox Theater in a faraway place called Atlanta. It is a location where genteel people go, awash in the glory of their new clothes, to watch some kind of performance. There is much preening and sashaying around in those new duds and the on-stage performance is secondary. Much more important is everyone talking about where they got their new clothes and how much they paid for them.

Now that we have each of our major items defined, and somewhat connected, it is time to put them all together in story form.

Recently on a glorious Saturday that was grandly suited for golf, fishing, or some other worthy endeavor, I grudgingly volunteered to go shopping for new clothes with my wife. It was the type of thing that good husbands do from time to time in order to keep a harmonious balance in blissful wedlock. Besides I hadn’t refreshed my wardrobe in a while, and thus the memories of shopping misery had kind of faded in my memory banks. So, off we went to Commerce in search of good deals on pants, shirts, sweaters, shoes, and of course, a suit worthy of Sunday mornings. I was hoping to stop off at Commerce High School to see how their football field was looking, but we buzzed right by that turn off and straight to a place known, in distinguished clothes shopping circles, as Tanger Outlet Mall.

Once there, I began combing the sale racks of various stores in hopes of finding some items that were at least close to a good fit and didn’t cost much. I found some righteous good stuff at some low, low prices but alas, a unanimous verdict was not forthcoming on those articles. I then graciously bowed to my wife’s wishes and put them back. Soon afterward I found some pants, shirts, shoes and sweaters (not on sale) that I knew would fit because the sizes were printed right on them. Nonetheless, I was required to try them on and being the affable guy that I am, followed through on the “trying on phase,” which is of course a revered ritual of shopping.

All of that only took three hours.

Once my wardrobe inventory was upgraded, my wife did some shopping of her own, and I opted out of that segment. Instead, I wandered around and went into a sporting goods store where I struck up a long conversation with the proprietor concerning the merits of duck hunting and the joy of dove hunting. That lasted an hour, and then I checked in with my wife (by phone) to see how she was doing. She wasn’t through and estimated a couple of more hours at least.

I wandered some more until it was mercifully over and, with a grateful heart, headed back to Buckhead. At that point, my memory was fully refreshed as to why I don’t like to go on shopping trips. It is hard, aggravating work.

Now to bring all the threads together we come to the climax. A few days later we journeyed to faraway Atlanta in order to go to the Fox Theater. The purpose was to see Steve Martin and Martin Short do a comedy show. The performance was funny and worthwhile but, as noted earlier, it was secondary to showing off my new clothes. For the occasion, my genteel self was resplendent in brand new navy blue Haggar slacks (34 waist) with a nice stretchy elastic waistband, a striped Ralph Lauren button down shirt, a blue Cardigan sweater, and a shiny pair of Florsheim shoes that will make even the toughest guy’s feet hurt. As I preened and sashayed for the crowd, I noticed that not one person took note of my new wardrobe. To add insult to injury, no one asked me where I got my new clothes or how much I paid for them, and thus I’ve come to the conclusion that our shopping trip might just as well have taken place at the sale racks in Wal-Mart.

In closing, it is safe to say that there’s just no need to put lipstick on a pig. That is to say that putting superficial or cosmetic changes on me is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of my person which is, though genteel, just not very stylish, and thus I have gone on my last shopping trip.

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Alvin Richardson
After thirty-six years in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator, Alvin Richardson writes weekly outdoor articles and humor columns for the Morgan County Citizen, the Statesboro Herald, Greensboro Herald, and the Milledgeville Union-Recorder. A native of Rutledge, Georgia, he served as head football coach, athletic director and assistant principal for Morgan County High School. After retirement, he served as principal at the Morgan County Crossroads School for Alternative Education. Coach Richardson’s long history with football began at Cook High School under former Moultrie Coach Bud Willis and went on to work under the legendary coach Larry Campbell at Lincoln County High School. Richardson writes for Georgia Outdoor News magazine and the Georgia Gridiron Guide. He is author of It’s a Dawg’s Life, a sixty year historical account of the Morgan County football program, and Tracks of the Red Elephant, a 100 year history of the Gainesville High School football program. He has written four other books on high school football and is currently working on a book about Wildcat football.


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