Columns are spawned by a variety of factors. This column is shared each week on social media in hopes that someone will reflect on their memories as I share mine. Readers sometime leave comments with their own stories and opinions of the subject matter. For the record, every one of those comments is inspirational to me and keeps me focused as to the reason I do this. I like to think of this as a community column as opposed to my column. Without your readership, it is useless. When you add a thought or idea to the column, it serves as the icing on the cake. So, thank you for helping me with this each week.
With college football winding down, I recently wrote a column about a memory that involved my Daddy and college football. There’s no need to rehash it. It was what it was. Several people commented, with some sharing their personal experience dealing with the bigger issue of Alzheimer’s. It isn’t just my family that has dealt with it. It also isn’t just those people I know. The disease doesn’t care who it strikes. It plays no favorites. I’m sure many of you have dealt with or are dealing with the devastating effects of this illness.
One of the recent comments to the column was posted by Randy Saxon. He is the son of Frank Saxon and the late Doris Saxon. Randy has two brothers, Lance and Kent, and a sister, Amy. Much of my childhood was spent with the Saxons. Frank and Daddy were good friends. This transformed into Lance and I being good friends since we are the same age. Lance and I played many years of Midget Football together. As I typed that, it dawned on me they probably don’t call it that anymore in order to be politically correct. For the record, I think all the political correctness we live with today is stupid. Moving on, Frank was our football coach for several of the years Lance and I played. He has a great understanding of the game and passed that on to us kids. More importantly, he loves the game. There is no doubt that his love for the game, along with others, contributed to my love for football.
If you know Frank Saxon, you know you can’t hear his name without immediately thinking about the Georgia Bulldogs. Cherokee County has known no bigger Bulldog fan than Frank. From his Bulldog car to his years of season tickets, he has lived for fall to come around and the games to begin. When I was a kid, he took me to a game in Athens even though I’m a lifelong Georgia Tech fan. I remember it being a beautiful fall day and Lance and I having a good time. To this day I couldn’t tell you who they played. Maybe it was Tech. It wasn’t important. It was a good time had with good friends. When football was in the off-season, this never stopped Frank’s enthusiasm for the Bulldogs. He talked football all year long. If Tech lost to Georgia, he never let me forget it. We sparred over this rivalry for many years.
After Doris passed away, she seemed to take some of the passion Frank had for his beloved Georgia Bulldogs. He still loves them. But it’s never been the same since Doris’ passing. For the Saxons, the Bulldogs are a family affair. It brings this close family even closer together. Frank is now living in an assisted living home. I’ve visited only once, which is not enough. Randy said while visiting his Dad recently, he asked him if he wanted to watch the UGA game. Frank answered him saying, “No. I don’t care anything about it.” For those of you who know him, let that sink in for a minute. As one of the most loyal Bulldog fans in our town’s history, his statement tells us something about his current condition. It also put things in perspective. Football is a great game. But it’s still just a game.
This is my hope. On the day this column is published, the Georgia Bulldogs will be playing the LSU Tigers for the SEC Championship. It is my hope that someone will turn the game on in Frank’s room so he can watch it. If only for a minute, if he finds that old fire for his Dawgs, it will count as a good day in his life.