The arrival of October brought with it my favorite weekend since our wedding/honeymoon back in June. I had the pleasure of spending a couple of terrific days with Sidney’s family in the Clemson area. By all accounts, it was a memorable trip.
After work on Friday, Sidney and I jumped in the car with my in-laws and we started on our way to upstate South Carolina. It didn’t take long for the trip to become special. We revealed on social media that we were expecting and as we drove through the beautiful state we were overjoyed with the outpouring of congratulatory messages that came through.
We stopped in Columbia for dinner at a place called Rush’s, a local fast food type restaurant specializing in fried chicken. We loaded up on chicken and fries and relaxed while we took a break from the road. With two hours of driving down, we had roughly two hours of driving to go. Just like the first half of the drive, the second half went quick. Before we knew it, we pulled into our hotel in the town of Easley, South Carolina, at around 9:45 p.m. We checked into our room and watched the Washington-Stanford football game before drifting off to sleep.
The four of us woke up early the next morning. After watching a little bit of College Gameday from the exact same location we would soon be at (the show was at Clemson), we left the hotel to go see the rest of our family. The other two Mathis sisters were at a campground near Clemson. Steph was there with her husband, Jon, and Courtney was with her boyfriend, John Henry. After stopping at a grocery store to pick up some supplies, we used Navigation to get us to the campground.
What was waiting for us when we arrived was the full set up! John Henry had with him his luxurious camper that included just about everything you needed. Outside they had chairs and a television so we could all sit around and talk while watching the early games. The best part, though? The food!! The four of them cooked up grits, bacon, and quiche. We soaked in the beautiful weather while eating/drinking, watching football, and enjoying one another’s company.
The time came for us to head to campus. The women got in one vehicle and the men got in another. The girls went off to shop around at a Clemson apparel store and us guys went to a hidden gem to pick up our tailgating food of fried pork chops, mac & cheese, potato salad, and coleslaw. We met back up at a parking lot right outside of campus and merged into one car. From there we went to our tailgate spot.
Tailgating at Clemson is crazy! After Jon maneuvered the vehicle into our spot, we set up shop and started to have fun. It wasn’t long until some special guests joined us. As I mentioned in my Thursday Rundown, I had plans to meet my friend Kenny during the course of the day. As he is the nephew of Bobby Petrino (Clemson was playing Louisville), he brought some of his family members to hang out with us, including a couple of Coach Petrino’s adult children. The Tigers and Cardinals all got along great.
After our guests left, it was the Mathis family just relaxing and having a good time. In addition to all the food we had bought at the place we stopped at before coming to campus, Brenda (mother-in-law) had also brought along a bunch of snacks that we enjoyed as well. With no shortage of drinks either, our tailgate was a lot of fun. However, the main event awaited us. With about 45 minutes to go until kickoff, we all headed toward Memorial Stadium.
In an electric atmosphere, two of the best college football teams squared off in one of the best games of the college football season thus far. It was a high scoring, back-and-forth affair that went down to the wire. However, even though it was a nail biter and even though I ate myself silly at the campground and at the tailgate, I still visited the concession stand during the game. I got myself peanuts and a large dish of cookie dough Dippin’ Dots.
Watching two of the best quarterbacks in the nation compete was exhilarating. Inside the stadium you could just sense the magnitude of the game. The crowd showed up early, stayed during halftime, and of course remained in the stands through the thrilling finish. When the Cardinals came up just yards short of a last second victory, the celebration was on in Death Valley as the students stormed the field.
With the game on national television combined with the amount of points scored it made for a long game. By the time the Tigers improved to 5-0 with a 42-36 victory, it was close to midnight. We all went back to the tailgate area and waited about an hour for traffic to thaw out a little bit. The eight of us then piled back into the vehicle and went back to the parking lot where we split off. We arrived back at the hotel around 2:30 a.m. and by the time I laid down in bed it was 3 a.m. It had been a long and amazing day.
The next morning, the four of us got back in the car to head home. Steph/Jon/Court/John Henry were about an hour behind us. We stopped in Columbia to eat lunch, this time opting for Texas Roadhouse. We arrived back in Myrtle Beach around 5 p.m. When Mr. Sid and Brenda dropped us off at our house it was a little sad to say goodbye, even though they live just a couple minutes away from us and even though we had spent the whole weekend with them. But that just explains what a great time we had.
Thanks to the Mathis family for a wonderful weekend. I can’t wait to do this again one of these days. Don’t Blink.