National Geographic : 1973 Nov
A big football weekend was coming up, so I went, and found that while tradition may be faltering, it is far from deceased. Several hundred alumni had their station wagons and campers arranged in long rows, tailgates down, tablecloths spread, ham and salad and iced drinks laid out for a picnic beside the stadium. "I'm a Gator," said an elderly man, who proved to be a bank president and rancher. "So's all my family. Get yourself a plate and a drink. You're a writer? Comin' down here to tell some more lies about us, I suppose." He laughed heartily. "Well, things have surely changed, haven't they? Now you got the problem, if you know what I mean." "You mean racial trouble in the North?" "You catch on quick, boy. Have some of that potato salad, it's delicious, I mean it. Yes sir, you've got a taste of it now, and you're welcome to it." Later in the day I saw him cheering wildly for some of the black players now represent ing his alma mater. The Gators lost, but that did not diminish the joie de vivre along Fraternity Row that night. In houses reverberating with rock music, attractive groups of young people postured to the incessant rhythm. They did not seem too far away from the Big Apple and zoot suits and goldfish swallowing. One long-haired young man was rather disap pointed with the return to normalcy, not to mention "squaridity," in university life. Frenetic Present to Peaceful Past He offered, but I declined with thanks, an invitation to spend an evening with an en lightened guru from India, passing through on his way to Nirvana, as well as an oppor tunity to listen to a gay panel discussion, and a chance to see Straw Dogs, a film that the exiled FloridaAlligatorsaid "strips away any pretense of moral order in the universe."