Friday Night Lights meant a glorious time

Published 11:33 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

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High school football is not supposed to be played in August. Folks should be swimming in the creek and eating watermelon.

The first night of the high school football season should kick off on the Friday after Labor Day.

If that’s not biblical, it’s in the Constitution of the United States of America.

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School registration is to be on the Friday before Labor Day, which is a national holiday and school bells to toll on the Tuesday after Labor Day. That’s the gospel and the way it used to be.

And, how glorious were the Friday night lights.

We, the girls, would dress in our new, usually homemade, plaid, wool skirts, shirts with Peter Pan collars and matching wool sweaters. Sometimes, we would don a sweater clip and let our sweaters hang loosely around our shoulders.

We came out in bobby socks and saddle oxfords and maybe, a bracelet or a windup watch. Only Gypsies wore earbobs. How cute we were under the Friday night lights.

We would climb the wood bleachers, waiting patiently for someone to move over and let us go up. The band would play “The Star-Spangled Banner” and we would salute the American Flag with pride and cheer our Bulldogs to victory. “Wash ’em out! Ring ’em out! Hang ’em on the line. We can beat Goshen any ol’ time! Yea!!!

At halftime, the Bulldog band would take the field with a John Phillip Sousa march, then march to the other side of the field and form the letter “G” for Goshen and play a song. Everybody in the home side bleachers would stand and cheer loudly as the band came to play a patriotic song for us in a “B” formation.

At the end of the game, we would run out on the field and congratulate our ’Dogs win or lose Then, it was off to the school auditorium for the dance. The wood floor had been swept and the aroma of sweeping compound still lingered.

Records would already be playing and Mrs. Rutledge, the librarian, and Mrs. Sanders, the home-ec teacher would be on-guard.

The boys would stand against the wall on one side of the auditorium and the girls on the other, just waiting and hoping for one or the other to venture across the floor and ask for a dance.

The chaperones, aka teachers, would meander around the dance floor and shake their heads if a couple was dancing too close while doing the box step or wiggling too much on twist.

Every dance ended with Tab Hunter singing “Red Sails in the sunset, way out on the sea; Carry my loved one home safely to me.”

And, the Friday night lights would go out but the memories would linger for a lifetime.