I feel like the last two weeks have molded into one big celebration extravaganza. I went down to Auburn for A Day and a wedding then was back in Birmingham for a short time before heading to Kentucky for another wedding. I'll save the Kentucky trip for another post, but for now I'll get to what I'm sure every Auburn fan immersed themselves in last week..
A Day and The Final Roll!
It was a glorious day on the plains, really hot in the sun, but cool in the shade.
The stadium was PACKED with over 83,000 fans. A record for A Day in Auburn.
I CANNOT WAIT FOR FOOTBALL SEASON!
I couldn't do an Auburn post without Sammy now could I? (that's what I call Samford Hall for all that are new here)
I met up with Murray and we walked downtown for the Final Roll celebration. All the streets were blocked off, and they set up a stage for speakers after the game.
This was the first sight we saw as we rounded the corner. EEEE! So many people already!
We dropped in Auburn Art to check on the Toomer's Tree string arts!
It was NUTS in there! There were so many people. They ended up selling out of my trees! WOO! They had the biggest sales day in their history, and I don't doubt it. It was literally shoulder to shoulder. I held up the flow of people to get the shot above haha!
They had this huge tree on a canvas, and anyone could add their "leaf" thumbprint. There was a drawing to win this piece, and you better believe I entered it!
Murray was thrilled with all the barners surrounding him..
but he obliged my request to get close to the trees!
It was not an easy feat, but we made it over there. There was even a big enough part in the crowd for me to do my favorite pose..
And a couple seconds later, this bad boy (yes, the tp roll) flew in our direction, and I got to roll the tree with it. Yay!
A sweet lady took our picture and got the paper flying in the background. It was non-stop the entire time we were down there.
Then we had to get one with my prized possession..
I just love our tradition.
Auburn is probably the only place where it's cool to have toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
We eventually pushed right up under the tree and I made Murray take yet another picture with me doing the pose.
Murray has a habit of taking about 5 pictures in a row, so I've learned to change my pose around to get different looks..
I call this below "I'm going to lean back as far as possible bc I know the camera is close enough that I'll have a double chin" look. Or "hey, don't cross in front of the camera, I'm posing with the tree" look.
Who is that hanging out across the street?! Sweet baby Cam!
He seemed to pop up out of nowhere! Being a bama fan, Murray does not like Cam, so he was not thrilled with his presence, but I like to think he was watching over the fans. :D
Have you seen the awesome aerial shot of the crowd? I got a picture of the helicopter circling the corner.
Here is the amazing view:
I'm the girl with the camera pointed up. Do you see me? (hardy har har)
We ran into some friends before we had to head off to the wedding.
I spotted Emory Blake (former AU football player) in the crowd, and he so nicely took a picture with me! I'd like to think he's wearing a herring shirt..
He just signed with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent! How exciting!
After walking around a bit, we tried to get closer to hear the speakers. Spoiler alert: we couldn't hear anything. I've heard bits and pieces from the interwebs since then, but I have to say this video by Alan Brazzell had one of the best, not to mention excellent videography. Just do yourself and watch it, AU peeps. I've embedded it for your convenience:
As we tried to push through the crowds, we noticed there were police officers on top of the buildings. Can you see the two of them?
There were so many people! As I said, there were over 83,000 people at the game, but way more than that at the corner. Toomer's Drugstore came thisclose to running out of lemonade! Moe's BBQ made the most that any of their locations had ever made in one day on Saturday! Other places were running out of food! Madness!
The boys just hanging out with the cutout cheerleader.
Right before we had to leave for the wedding!
Toomer's with Sammy in the back.
This is my "Goodbye Toomer's Trees, I'll be back after the wedding!" shot.
The wedding was glorious! I had so much fun dancing, and the food was delish. Sadly, I only got a few pictures of the couple leaving, so there were only some blurry shots with sparklers. Everyone decided to come back downtown afterwards, which made me super excited to go see the trees again.
They were snowed with toilet paper!
I took these couple of shots through the window, and soon after we realized my car was smoking out of the hood! People were pointing at us haha!
We quickly drove it to my sister's house to drop it off until it could be looked at, but then it was back to the corner!
Some scenery shots, shall we?
I got Murray to do the pose!
View from another corner!
A willing fan got a couple of shots of us in our wedding getups.
I love up-the-branches shots.
I'll miss you, trees!
There were lots of others down there late night as well, playing in the paper as if it was snow.
Of course I had to give the tree one last hug.
The ground was COVERED with paper.
Murray was thrilled with the amount of pictures I was taking and making him do the pose.. again.
It went alllll the way down the street and was so deep.
On Sunday, I got a few shots out of the window from my sissy's car. No one would walk down there with me, surprise surprise. So many people and still so thick! The city allowed the paper to stay up all through Sunday.
On Sunday evening, a few of us went to the lake for dinner with my dad, so of course I took a few more shots out the window.
This nut was with us.
On the way back into town (again through the window). The AU Equestrian Team won the National Championship, so they were down there on Sunday celebrating and gave the trees another coating of tp!
So Monday rolls around. I am a crazy lunatic fan, and I talked my sister into eating lunch downtown so that I could look at the trees again.
This time the workers were out there removing the paper by hand. They usually blast it out with water hoses, but since the removal was the next day, I'm assuming they didn't want the branches to be wet.
Binky was thrilled.
She snipped at me that these pictures were useless since the workers were in there, but I had to document for the blog!
They still had the walkway open between the trees.
They had also placed these boxes over the eagles that sit atop these columns.
Probably to prevent a branch from swinging down on them the next day.
So so sad.
Here's the new plan!
You can click here for a better view/more information.
I hung out at Binky's house with the pups for the rest of the day.
That Possum is a nut.
I told you earlier I had some car trouble, so it go towed off to dad's shop in Opelika. Poor Greenbean! (that's what I call my big ol' tahoe).
Dad had come to look at it before it got towed away. This lovely flower was growing in Bink's front yard on a big ol' bush (similar to the one on the left in the pic above), and he picked it an gave it too me. How schweet!
It was glorious outside. When I use to live in this house, I loved sitting on the porch to do my homework. Knowing that I was going to stay in town a few days, I brought along some of my trees to string.
Monday just happened to be Earth Day. That's probably why they waited to cut the trees down until Tuesday, don't you think? Who would harm a tree on Earth Day?!? haha
I watched a little birdie couple build a nest. Here's one of them gathering sticks. They had been working all day, then a cat came along and climbed the shrub they were building it in, and tried to catch the birds. It was all very exciting!
I'm easily amused..
For dinner, a few of us went to Moe's BBQ for wing night (hells yeah). I brought along my nice camera, ya know, because I would be near the trees again and had yet another photo opportunity.
This is Binky's "if you mention those damn trees again, I'll throw that camera out the window" look. I seriously could not stop talking about them/wanting to get pictures/be downtown to look at them the ENTIRE time I was down there.
We ended up parking behind the building. Here is Bink celebrating that we don't have to have another photo session with the trees.
But fear not, yall. I walked my butt down there by myself to get a couple more shots. I did it for you guys.. I swear I'm not crazy.
They almost look better in pictures because the trees behind them make it seem like they have leaves.
So. The day finally arrived. My mother was unable to come to A Day weekend, but she wanted to see them one last time, so she came to Auburn Monday night for us to go Tuesday. Thank goodness she came, or else I would've been all by my lonesome standing out there. She picked me up around 7am. You know it's something big if I get up with the sun.. I woke up before 6 if you can believe it.
The streets had been blocked off for the removal on all sides, and there were a surprising amount of people that early.
There were two rows of blockades: the center ring with the construction workers and people lucky enough to get close, the second ring full of media people, and the third ring of everyone else/peasants.
It was said a million times that day, but it really did seem like funeral. Everyone was quiet or whispering as the workers marked off the branches. There was one guy doing all the cutting from the bucket truck. They would tie a branch off with a rope, he would cut it, and the poor thing would swing until they lowered it to the ground.
Here they are lowering the first branch cut. When the guy got out the saw, everyone gasped and put their cameras up. I'm not gonna lie, I got a bit choked up from that first branch swinging from the rope. Good thing I had glasses on..
This is my sad pose, obvi.
They would cut several branches, place them on the curb, then this truck would pull up and place them into the back. They never overloaded it with branches, and after about 5 or 6, they would drive away and unload somewhere.
All the articles said they would carefully take down the branches. I don't know if there is a careful way to remove them, because several times the branch would be cut, and then SLAM into the trunk before being lowered onto the ground. Poor thing.
The guy on the left is Gary Keever, a horticulture professor at Auburn, and was being interviewed by several of the reporters. He's been one of the main people involved in the Toomer's project. Anyone inside the closest barricade had to wear a hardhat and construction vest, so even the photographers in there were wearing them.
Lucky guy got to get a piece of the bark (it's in his hat on the ground). I tried to get a leaf. The wind was blowing, so I kept wishing one would get over to me. Of course when one looked like it might blow through, a guy came around with a bucket and one of those claw picker-upper things and grabbed every leaf that was in the area.
Every single piece of the trees is being saved to be used as souvenirs for people. Leaves, branches, sawdust, you name it.
We were out there for about 5 hours. Yes, we're fanatics. We did get to enjoy a lovely breakfast at Big Blue Bagel. Binky's friend Texas works there, and when the wrong cream cheese was on my bagel, she got it fixed up real quick AND gave me some BACON! Talk about a silver lining!
We were about to head out for lunch when they took the trunk down of the bigger tree.
There was quite the media frenzy. I stood on the fence behind them to try to get a shot.
They laid it on its side, and there were several pictures taken with the horticulture people on the inside.
Can you see what shape it makes? A perfect tiger head looking to the right. Other people pointed out an eagle shape in the center.
Here is a picture from The War Eagle Reader:
As they stated, if the Virgin Mary can be seen in a grilled cheese sandwich, then Auburn's mascots can be seen in the tree. Rawr!
I dropped off a couple more string art trees at Auburn Art before we headed to lunch.
By then, they had started on the second tree.
We met up with my sissy, aunt, and cousins at Amsterdam (one of my favorites). After being out in the sun all morning, I had quite the Rudolph nose.
Shelley, Andrea, and Aunt Robin on the other side! Shelley is a freshman, and Andrea is a sophomore (Andrea is Aunt Robin's and Shelley is another cousin for those keeping track). I feel like such a grandma talking to them. I act as though I just left Auburn (it's been 4 years..) and everything is the same (it's not). Andrea lives in the new dorms which are SO LUXURIOUS! It's like a suite with 4 separate bedrooms, a common area, a kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. Back in my day, we had to share a room with another person, and then one bathroom connected two rooms. She took us up there to look around.
I talk about going out & whatnot and some of the places I went aren't there anymore (Botcher's for 36oz long island ice teas, anyone? and RIP Rooster's) or are completely different (Skybar has DOUBLED in size). I'm sure they think I'm crazy because I try to reminisce and act like I'm still a cool college kid.
Mom, Bink, and I drove by the corner one last time to get a final picture.
They covered the stumps in mulch. As my mother said, it was almost like a burial. So so sad.
As we were standing there, we got interviewed for the news! Alabama's 13 out of Birmingham asked us questions and filmed our answers. We were a bit "unique" being an alum, a recent alum, and a current student. We're practically famous now!
As we were leaving, a group came up to the corner and sang the Alma Mater. I think it was the AU Singers. It sounded lovely as we walked away.
We Herring ladies treated ourselves to some TCBY after our TV appearance and then went to pick up my car at the shop. Binky was so happy to be finished with Toomer's Corner talk (are we sure she's related to us?). She tried to stay in the car when we stopped to get the last pictures until the news crew came up haha!
As the billboards around town state, it's a new day.
I will dearly miss the trees.
But we will not let it get us down. I feel like Auburn is like Whoville from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and we will carry on with or without the trees.
I hate sounding so cheesy, but Auburn makes me this way.
I picked up this letterpress print at AuburnArt on my way out of town (you remember my obsession with letterpress beginning with Hatch Show Print..). There is a letterpress studio in Auburn that made these, and there were several different ones, but I loved this saying.
I look forward to the new beginning, new coaches, new season, and new Toomer's Corner (coming in 2014).
Kudos to those who made it through this 100+ picture post! I took over 500 pictures, and narrowed it down to these. It's taken three days to get it all together!