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COLUMN: Connie, Crack-o-lanterns and General Robert E. Lee

Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

Connie’s guilting me into painting my buttocks so she can see the Eagles in concert.

Here’s the back story.

The other day our good friend Connie (the one who lives on Canard Road and who’s trying unsuccessfully to quit estate sale-ing) was at a wedding shower for her daughter and I was there as well. Near the end of the event, I walk into the main area where some folks had gathered and I heard Connie say that there was a radio contest where you could win two tickets to see the Eagles at Philips Arena on Oct. 21.

You could win those tickets by painting your...buttocks...to look like a jack-o-lantern. The radio station was calling it a “crack-o-lantern” contest.

So as her friends laughed and her son in law looked on in horror, Connie proceeds to tell everyone that she would like to paint her rear end and enter the contest because she’d love to see the Eagles live in concert.

Hearing this conversation and wanting to egg Connie on, I jokingly said “I’ll do it with you, Connie.”

Well she immediately jumped on that and suddenly we were going to take on this new venture to have our butts painted and win tickets to see the Eagles. We started discussing ideas about what we’d paint on our buttocks and how we’d have such a great time at the concert and who, in fact, we could get to actually paint on our....posterior canvasses — you know, typical wedding shower conversation.

Since I was only joking I just forgot about the whole thing until a few days ago when I get an urgent text from Connie. Here’s what it said:

“Did you send in your crack-o-lantern pic? We are running out of time. I figured yours will be epic and enough for us to win so I’m going to put all my confidence in your buttocks for the win! Remember I am old and this may be my last chance to see the Eagles. Rock stars are dropping like flies.”

I replied with: “You can’t put all that pressure on my buttocks.”

Connie: “My LAST chance.” (and she added a pumpkin emoji).

She kept emphasizing “last chance” like either she or all the Eagles would die before she could see them in concert again so I felt a definite sense of pressure to come through for her.

And notice how with one text message she has now removed herself from the contest and it’s only me who should submit a photo. Yet if I win, she gets a ticket. The woman is a master manipulator...and somehow I respect that.

But I should add here that you can’t not love Connie. She’s good as gold and will give you the shirt off her back if you ask her. And she is certainly good for a laugh.

We were sitting at the Rome City Brewing Company (formerly The Brewhouse) the other day having dinner and Connie is going on about how General Robert E. Lee is looking down on us.

I look over to where she’s pointing — above the bar — and there stands two statues of a man in a long jacket, hat, bow tie and a big mustache.

But it ain’t General Lee.

Up until this point, Connie has believed that Confederate General Robert E. Lee has kept a silent vigil over the patrons of the Brewhouse when in fact it’s actually famous whiskey company founder JACK DANIEL.

Oh, before I forget I should add here that at that dinner I tried the cajun pasta at RCBC and it was phenomenal. I highly recommend it. I got the half order and it was enough for me. So tasty.

But I digress. What I’m saying is I love Connie. She’s a hoot. And she takes good care of me.

I think I’ve missed the deadline for submitting my “crack-o-lantern” photo to the radio station (I’m heartbroken as you can imagine) and now I feel bad because Connie probably won’t get to see The Eagles on Oct. 21.

I saw them a couple years ago at Verizon Amphitheater and it was incredible. They did all the old hits and it sounded immaculate. If you closed your eyes, you’d think it was 1977 all over again. They are amazing live. And I just wanted Connie to experience that “one last time” as she so dramatically put it.

Maybe if Connie and I both went to the bar and prayed at the feet of Jack Daniel he might bless us with a couple tickets.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune.