Avoiding the Massacre: A Lovely Saturday in Lexington

Margie and me on the way to the game. She looks like a Southern planter.

It seems that every year at this time–late September–I’m trying to find a way to avoid watching the University of Tennessee’s football team being massacred by Florida and generally I turn to Washington & Lee’s football team to bail me out.

Yesterday was the annual event: a trip to Lexington to watch W&L play a Division III game against an entertaining opponent, lunch at one of Lexington’s several good restaurants, a walk downtown to the wonderful Artists in Cahoots shop and a stop at one of the best GWLtd stores (Goodwill) in Western Virginia.

We got all that done yesterday with the added benefit (not a first) of buying a lovely piece of jewelry at Artists in Cahoots for my grandgirl’s Christmas (wrapped in a Tiffany box) and meeting an artist named Karen Pannabecker whose work I adore. Another Christmas present, I suspect, this one for my daughter.

We found a burger for Margie.

Tennessee was, of course, clobbered I discovered once I got home and flipped on ESPN, but by then, I’d had so much fun I didn’t care. The W&L game against Guilford (a Quaker school plays football?) was thoroughly entertaining for a half, though the Generals ran away in the second half, winning 54-14. The sun was hot, the grass green, the obnoxious cowbells clanged and a young woman (about 45, so young to me) sitting in front of me was so fetching that she competed with the game for my eyes. Margie didn’t notice my occasional–harmless–glances.

W&L doesn’t offer football scholarships and doesn’t charge admittance for its games. Its concession stand is minimal, but the 1930s atmosphere is a real lure for me, even when the crowd is small, as it was yesterday (maybe 600 people, counting the teams).

Lunch at the Palms in downtown Lexington.

Margie and I stopped at the Palms Restaurant, opened in 1975 and featuring some of the thickest, tastiest hamburgers around–making Margie very, very happy.

In the evening, I managed to turn on the University of Virginia’s game against Old Dominion, joining the game in the second half with UVa trailing 17-7. That was a shocker, so I stuck it out until the end with the Cavs coming back to win 28-17 and salvage some dignity (which Virginia Tech did not do last year against ODU).

Good day all around. Margie liked it, too.

I shot this just before the game began at 1 p.m. Almost nobody was there yet. W&L’s crowds show up late.
Margie and I found seats on the 50, looking like old alumni, which we aren’t.
The W&L shuttle parked in the garage offered this license plate.
The reason we were in Lexington.

By admin

Dan Smith is an award-winning journalist in Roanoke, Va., and a member of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame. He is an author, photographer, essayist, father and grandfather. Co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine and founder of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. On Advisory Board of New River Voice.

Leave a Reply