Thanks for the Memories
A bittersweet weekend lies ahead for the Auburn Family. A-Day is always an exciting primer for the upcoming football season, and this year is no exception. There is a lot of excitement around the program right now and the fans are looking forward to seeing positive signs that things have begun to turn upward for the football team. This year however, the annual spring football game is to be followed by the final rolling of the Toomer’s Oaks.
After nearly three years of fighting, the two trees that have been an Auburn landmark for over a century have lost the battle with the poison used on them following the 2010 Iron Bowl. The event is intended to be a celebration by the university and not a time of mourning, but there’s no denying the magnitude of this loss to the Auburn Family. Indeed, Saturday is sure to be a surreal event for many. The sheer volume of memories that will be present and recounted at tomorrow’s celebration will be a testament to that.
One of my fondest memories of my life occurred right there next to the oaks. It was during the 2008 football season. My wife (then girlfriend) and I had been dating three years. I remember planning for and purchasing an engagement ring and how I would ask her to marry me. Nothing I could think of seemed more appropriate (for us) than popping the question at Toomer’s following an Auburn win. Unfortunately for me, in 2008 wins were scarce for the football team. A couple of weeks went by (now mid-October) and I was getting pretty anxious.
Finally, one evening after a formal for her sorority, we were on our way home and I knew it was time. It was a Saturday and Auburn had either lost or was off completely so Samford Hall and the area around the oaks was fairly quiet. I somehow managed to initiate a detour to take a walk to the lawn in front of Samford without totally blowing my cover. I remember getting the ring from my truck and slipping it in my jacket pocket without her noticing. That was right before she asked for my jacket because it was cold out that night. (Pro tip! check the weather conditions carefully in the location where you plan on initiating a life altering event.)
We finally made it to our destination (Samford lawn), and I just remember trying to figure out exactly how I was going to pick-pocket a ring off of my wife and turn right around and propose to her with it. A hug served as my perfect opportunity. I reached in the pocket, grabbed the ring, and dropped to one knee. From a distance it probably looked like a poorly executed stabbing, but I accomplished my goal. She said yes. I’m pretty sure there were some excited calls made to friends and family, but it wasn’t long before we were standing under the oak trees, taking pictures, and tossing toilet paper around.
To me, that is the true beauty of what the oaks stand for. They don’t just represent celebration of victories in athletics, but also in academics, and all the way into Auburn peoples’ personal lives as well. It’s Auburn’s stage to say, “Hey, he/she/we did something great today.” The trees will ultimately meet their demise at the hands of an ugly act, but the spirit they represent and their legacy will always be part of Auburn.
What is your most memorable Toomer’s Corner moment?