Rocky Top in the Big Apple

I was born in Tennessee, but, for the first few years of my life, my family didn’t actually live here. Then, when I was 9, we moved to East Tennessee. I was less then thrilled at my new surroundings, and this was only exacerbated when, on the 1st day of school, I was shoved into a large group of singing 4th graders. They had just burst into a song about a girl that was ‘half bear the other half cat’ and something called ‘corn from a jar.’ I was appalled.

Husband and I in 2005. We actually used this picture for the ‘guest book’ at our wedding, and it now hangs in our bedroom.

Fast forward 18 years and my husband & I are both UT graduates, two of our best friends actually said their wedding vows on that ‘hallowed hill in Tennessee,’ I have been known to partake of ‘corn from a jar,’ and I have seen for myself the original written lyrics of “Rocky Top” hanging in the home of the esteemed former Pride of the Southland director WJ Julian. (For the record, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant literally crossed a few other animals off the list before deciding she would be ‘wild as a mink but sweet as a soda pop.’)

Now, I will be the first to tell you that football is not my thing. Sure, I love picking out a cute outfit and tailgating for a couple of hours up the hill from Neyland stadium. I appreciate the spirit & talent of the SEC, but the main reason I go to football games is to see the band form the Power T. I am known to leave football games after the halftime show because, by that time, I have usually lost interest whatever it is those boys are doing on the field.

However, today, football may have been just what I needed. Around 4, Husband and I made our way to a bar in Midtown Manhattan called Traffic and watched the game with a room full of other Big Orange fans dressed, of course, in orange and singing “Rocky Top” loud and proud. In a week full of high fashion, busy streets, and hot subway rides, it was exactly what I needed. New York City is fun, but it can get overwhelming and make a southern girl like me feel very alone. Isn’t it funny how a song that at one point in my life I found so alienating can now make me feel so at home.


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