Friday, November 22, 2013

Marriage Made in Heaven? "Go Blue!" vs. "Roll Tide!"

Marriage Made in Heaven?  “Go Blue!” vs. “Roll Tide!” by Debra H. Goldstein
The University of Michigan was ranked #1 in football the week I moved to Alabama.   The day I walked into my office a new Birmingham colleague asked “who is the top college football coach?  Being a Michigan football ticket scalper and newspaper poll reader, I said “Michigan is #1 so it has to be Bo Schembechler." 

Wrong answer. My colleague enlightened me that in Alabama, “school colors are red and white, houndstooth is a fashion statement, blood runs crimson and no matter what the newspaper says, Bear Bryant is God.”

I was confused.  Although there had been a few jokes that Alabama football is an all consuming religion that divides families, influences marriages and even impacts promotional opportunities, because I grew up in New Jersey and Michigan I didn’t realize what underlying controversy the possibility of a mixed marriage of maize and blue and crimson red could provoke.

Author Deborah Sharp, author of the wonderful Mace Bauer series, immediately honed in on the issue in
her comment that was randomly selected  to dictate this week's blog.  Deborah, whose writing, especially in her newest book Mama Gets Trashed, demonstrated a wicked understanding of irony and humor, was interested "in reading how a transplanted Yankee hooked up with a hubby whose blood runs crimson."

The truth is that when I met Joel, I wanted no part of him.  His cousin, a friend of mine, thought we’d be perfect for each other, but he was slowly coming out of a divorce.  In my book, a divorced guy is not dating material until he has been divorced for a year.  Until then, he is just plumb crazy.

Because of his cousin’s nagging, Joel, who hadn’t been on a date in twelve years, got up the courage to call and ask me out for the following Saturday night.   Happily, I had other plans.  Refusing was easy.  Not to be discouraged, he asked me out for the next day.  I was about to concoct an excuse when he suggested we go to DeSoto Caverns, one of the few tourist places near Birmingham I had yet to visit.  Free dinner and my way paid into the Caverns outweighed my natural instinct to say no.

We never made it into the Caverns because just as we got out of the car, it began to pour.  We ended up at a roadside café having coffee and apple pie.  I loved the pie, but learned more than I ever wanted to know about his kids, his ex, and the fact that he was a diehard Alabama fan with little to no love for the University of Michigan.

Don’t ask me why, but I accepted a second and third date followed by one that his five and seven year old children came along on.  Even after that date, which is a story unto itself, I continued to see him.

When I realized he was getting serious too fast, I decided to slow things down by only agreeing to date him on either Friday or Saturday night.  The other weekend night, I insisted he ask another girl out.  To make life easier for him, I gave him a list of 20 names.  After a number of weeks of this, he jokingly asked if we had reached the point where he could stop dating girls from the list.

“It depends,” I replied.  “Who have you gone out with?”
He pulled the list from his pocket and handed it to me.  Several names had been carefully marked out.  “I can understand this one,” I said, pointing to a name.  “This one, too.  But this one?  She’s so sweet!  Just the kind of girl I would want to marry myself.”

“But not the one I want to marry.” 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Debra H. Goldstein is the author of the 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue (Harlequin Worldwide Mystery Selection for May 2014), a murder mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s.  Her newest short story, “A Political Cornucopia” is the November Bethlehem Writers Roundtable featured story at

Based upon her post being the randomly drawn one from my last Stiletto Gang blogpost, Deborah Sharp won a copy of Maze in Blue and the right to select this blog’s topic.  Not only does she have a perfect name, she is the author of the hilarious Mace Bauer Mystery series that includes Mama Does Time, Mama Rides Shotgun, Mama Gets Hitched, Mama Sees Stars, and Mama Gets Trashed.


  1. Barb,
    And true -- poor Joel...what I put him through though I have learned to accept that his hats, work-out shirts, and heart belong to the Crimson Tide.

  2. Love it! Your Joel sounds like a catch, despite the unfortunate football allegiance. Signed, a proud UGA grad

    1. Glad your randomly chosen response to my last blog gave me a topic dear to my heart to write about. I always kid that I'm still adjusting to being married (after thirty years), but I don't think I'd trade him in except for his football allegiance.

  3. LOVED this, Debra!! Made me smile all the way through. He sounds like a keeper...even if he likes the Crimson Tide. :)

    1. There ARE times I threaten to trade him in, but not too many. Thank you for letting me know the piece made you smile.