The SEC Championship football game is playing on a television in an empty living room.
In this room there is no furniture, no framed pictures, no lamps, and no signs of life. Just a barren house and spiders who died of old age.
This used to be my mother-in-law’s house. Now that she is no longer with us, it’s a tomb.
My wife and I are seated on the hard floor, watching our last game in this room, eating box dinners. The Michelob never tasted so bittersweet.
Alabama just intercepted the ball. My wife leaps to her feet, howling, dancing the Cabbage Patch, shouting at the TV.
We are big TV shouters in this family. It’s tradition. My wife is worse about shouting than I am. If you ever get a chance, ask my wife about the time Washington Nationals Park security approached her about yelling inappropriate remarks to a starting pitcher regarding his mother.
But anyway, it’s hard to believe that only one hundred days ago this living room was populated with cushy sofas, oaken
side tables, brass floor lamps, gaudy 1970s wall art, and easy chairs.
What’s more, these rooms once contained my mother-in-law’s Christmas decorations, her cookbook anthologies, her porcelain figurines, her past issues of “Southern Living” dating back to February 1966, and her closets full of outdated polyester clothing.
But after the recent estate sale, all that remains is a TV.
Over the years I watched this TV a lot with with my mother-in-law. I have seen roughly four million Hallmark Channel Christmas movies on this screen. I’ve seen each episode of “Murder She Wrote” six or seven times. And I’ve watched all nine seasons of “Little House on the Prairie” thrice.
And, of course, each year the family would gather in this den to watch the SEC Championship. On this humble 48-inch low-definition screen, I’ve seen Alabama win seven SEC titles. After tonight, eight.