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By Charles Walston:
The phone rang and I picked up. A lady with a voice like honey said, “Hold for Coach Bryant.” It was October 1979 and I was working as a cub sports writer at the Evening Independent, the afternoon rag in my hometown of St. Pete, Florida. I had been assigned to write an advance on the football game between the winless Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was a fool’s errand, but I wasn’t about to play the chump. I put in a call to the Alabama athletic department and told a student assistant I needed to talk to Bear Bryant. I figured I’d wait around an hour or so, tell the boss he wouldn’t talk, and skip out to the Tarpon Bar in time for happy hour. My plan was foiled when Bear Bryant called me back. Bear Bryant – the man who walked on water, cured […]
Forty years ago I woke up in the mud at a Rolling Stones concert. It was in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Dec. 1, 1969, on the final day of the West Palm Beach Pop Festival. Rain had fallen for three days straight and temperatures dropped into the 40s, which is nut-numbing cold by Florida standards. The site was a dragstrip halfway out to Lake Okeechobee, and kids were burning old tires to keep warm, hoping that the thick black smoke wasn’t as toxic as it looked. The usual arsenal of south Florida remedies proved useless against the bitter elements, and by the time the Stones came on around 4 a.m., most of the 40 thousand people had given up and gone home. Unless they were in jail.