Monday, August 28, 2017


~Doc Lawrence

Frank Spence, Skilled Raconteur
It's the ultimate American feast where community literally means thousands gathering on a given Saturday somewhere in the college football stadium lots coast-to-coast. Tailgating conjures wonderful images of laughter, food, beverages, friendly folks dressed to reflect loyalties than often run deep. Here, there is one unifying purpose: feed the masses and win that game.

According to no less an authority than National Geographic, tailgating originated early in the Civil War. Frank Spence, a Nashville native who resides in Atlanta echoes this. Spence, a peerless raconteur now a retired Atlanta Falcons front office executive tells a spellbinding story. "Congressmen and their beautiful ladies arrived just outside Washington to view their 'team,' the boys in blue in the Union Army kick the Confederates from the fields of Manassas into oblivion." Stonewall Jackson's army, continued Spence, turned them back and "they fled back across the Potomac. The civilian revelers quickly followed in what history calls 'The Great Skedaddle,' leaving all the food and Champagne for Jackson's soldiers to enjoy."

One dessert, Charlotte Ruse, was in an abandoned wagon and soon after the end of the war, it was duplicated and served in Baton Rouge.

The celebration was brought home and blended into college football which emerged shortly after the war. Fans gathered peacefully, wearing colors associated with their favorite teams and over the years spread tailgating throughout the country. Today, it's just as much a part of a game day Saturday in Athens, Georgia as Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 The 2017 edition of tailgating kicks off this weekend with the historic double header in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz stadium with FSU taking on Alabama and Tennessee doing battle with Georgia Tech.

I'll be there looking for that gifted kitchen wizard who is talented enough to make and bring along a regal Charlotte Ruse.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh, Frank Spence - what a great guy. Love the article, Doc, and looks like fun times in Atlanta this weekend for sure!!