Today is a travel day so instead of writing much I’ll share the grand finale of Auburn’s graduation yesterday.
After the platform party processed out, the new grads stayed in their seats. The band launched into the fight song. Aubie, the finest mascot in SEC, bounded onto the stage and motioned for all of the graduates to toss their hats. It was the perfect end to the celebration.
This is Michael O’Neill (a pic I snagged from IMDB) — he’s an actor who’s been in lots of things, and he is also an Auburn alum. Notably, he will be the speaker at today’s graduation ceremony.
I didn’t realize any of this as he was just sitting at the table next to me in the lobby coffee shop of the Auburn University Hotel. Another coffee lover did recognize him, which gave me the intel to write this post.
The town next to Auburn is called Opelika (it’s fun to say, give it a try!).
It is much easier to get a hotel in Opelika than in Auburn on busy weekends (fun fact: this is also true for the SEC football refs, as we learned during a stay at the Opelika Hampton Inn a couple of years ago). The Opelika hotels surround a shopping center known as TigerTown, which may indicate its proximity to the Auburn campus.
A certain soon-to-be college graduate, I have found, doesn’t want to meet up with her mom until 9 a.m. Since I get up early, I have learned that the TigerTown Target opens at 7 (perfect for picking up waterproof mascara).
And on this early morning, I’m enjoying the warmth of the TigerTown Starbucks as I listen to the salty-sweet accents of the older gents at the next table, sorting out the worlds problems…
… and happily getting a text from Jim to let me know that he succeeded in navigating a Roanoke ice storm to get to the airport for his flight down here this morning.
The family starts arriving this afternoon. But first the grad-to-be and I will get one last walk around campus. A well fortified walk.
One of my favorite things to do while visiting Auburn, Alabama, is to walk with our girl through the neighborhoods surrounding the university. They have winding streets and bungalow houses that were mainly built in the 1930s and are, for the most part, beautifully restored.
They seem to be populated with former Auburn students who stuck around after graduation, judging from the number of university insignias or Aubie tigers in the front yards.
We have been here to visit mainly during various football seasons, and it is an astonishing experience with the crowds and the tailgate parties. It’s kind of cool being here in the off season now and getting a glimpse of a quieter time.