TAMPA, Fla. —- Another holiday season is here and that means trying to find a parking space at the mall, punishing time shopping and finally wrapping presents for your old Uncle Mel.
This is also the time of year for reflecting of the past year which by the way seemed to fly by and then wishing and hoping for a new year without any stress.
Your old Uncle, is celebrating his first holiday season in the state were the sun is always shining, the beaches are always open and the threat of having snow for Christmas is unlikely, but there is always a video.
Tucked away in the city of Tampa, quietly sit’s the campus of the University of South Florida, the neighborhood is peaceful and quiet, now that graduation is over and the fall semester has ended.
Your old buddy and favorite uncle, is waiting to receive a holiday card or phone call from the University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart, just an e-mail would do, you know just to show that there was no hard feelings.
It is not like the Bulls are going to a bowl game or anything like that, so there should be some spare time for a word.
At the beginning of the 2013 football season, Taggart kept inviting Uncle Mel to get on the bus and to hold on because the trip would be worth the price of the fare.
Uncle Mel reminded Taggart that your old uncle used to call Detroit home and the public busses that took the streets there, well let just say that Fred Flintstone’s car is a safer ride.
Taggart kept insisting that Uncle Mel hop aboard, in fact there would be a bus ride complete with entertaining melodies.
So nieces and nephews, your old uncle being as old as he is, did his best to hop on the bus, he grab a hold and found a seat.
The ride started out promising but soon there were plenty of twists and turns in front of us that took a seat on the bus, Uncle Mel did not know that there were that many detours in the city of Tampa.
Taggart said that everything is okay please do not worry and then he began to sing while driving-it is kind of like whistling while you work.
It did not distract Uncle Mel for long because your old buddy began to see the same sights as before, a lot of miscommunication, missed connections and general chaos on board the bus.
Taggart told Uncle Mel all of the turmoil is because the conductor on the bus are new and they are learning the job on the fly.
“Hey about another song?” Taggart asked.
Uncle Mel asked Taggart just how many conductors do you need on this bus?
Taggart replied “I need just one but I have four!”
Taggart started to sing a Percy Sledge request and the rest of the bus followed and the harmony sounded pretty good.
It seems to be a lot of distraction on board the bus, with the confusion , the singing , and just a lot of noise but the bus keeps going no where, Uncle Mel thought Taggart take the wheel back, it would help to keep everybody eyes on the road because the conductors seem to be driving all over the road.
As soon as, Taggart maneuvered the bus through one curve then two more would appear and the bus would seem to lose speed ,slow down and almost stall.
Taggart hung in there, his foot pumped on the gas and got the bus through all of the curves before the bus started up the hill and down the hill portion of the route – the roller coaster ride.
Taggart said come on everybody don’t worry be happy as the bus began a steep dive down a hillside.
As the road settled and the sight of the straight away never looked so inviting or so appreciated by the passengers riding on the bus, the passengers were cheering at the end of the route and the end of the ride.
The damage done to the bus was minimal, just the usual wear and tare on a bus, the tires although were completely worn, the air suspension developed a leak in the beginning of the bus ride but provided just enough sway to keep the bus in the road but through it all Taggart sung his song.
At the end of the route, your old Uncle Mel got off the bus with a little more gray hair, with the understanding of just how important a good conductors can be to a successful bus ride and the lyrics to a lot of new songs.
Uncle Mel is hoping that next season’s ride is not as bumpy and that there will be some new song being sung by Taggart.
Until then, to all of the old and dear friends back in Ypsilanti and to the new friends here in Tampa, Uncle Mel wishes to each one, please have a happy and peaceful holiday and hey please pass your old Uncle some of that eggnog!
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.