It’s been 25 years since I last visited the sprawling campus of my alma mater. As I took my sentimental jog along Stadium Road passing General Van Fleet Hall where we trained and Lake Alice where we drilled, I was overcome with emotion.
College was the best time of my life, but also one of the most challenging.
I remember sitting through boring lectures, the long hours toiling over STEM projects, the all nighters only because I had procrastinated writing my essay until the bitter end.
As a tireless engineering student, resident assistant and community activist, I wore many hats – all of them fit, but never snugly. But despite the heavy course-load and a wide-range of extracurricular activities, I was content with my situation.
I loved the hustle and bustle of student life, the spirited sporting events, and uplifting social scene. Gator Growl was a welcomed annual ritual, the swamp with the cacophony of cheering fans and blistering heat was according to the legendary coach Steve Spurrier, “the place where only Gators got out alive.” And hawking ice-cold cokes in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium made me enough spending money to last until the next home game.
I bled Orange and Blue. And when I returned to see the Gainesville campus after been gone for a quarter of a century I wonder why I had ever left. If it wasn’t for my first assignment to Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, R.I., I probably never would have stayed
It was great to tour the campus and visit some of my old stomping grounds. Been spring break, the campus looked like a ghost town, and it was great to have the whole place to myself. I got to run around as long as I wanted without running into bikes and skateboards. For a stretch, I was the only soul around, just me, the birds and the feisty alligators sunning in Lake
I was surprised how much CLO looked the same
It was Fat Tuesday and I was in the mood for jumbalaya and andouille sausage. Harry’s Bar and Grill in downtown Gainesville was the perfect venue to celebrate the Cajun festival. I sat down at the bar and immediately ordered an Abita on draft.
Next to me was a middle-aged lady who was enjoying her seafood gumbo. We immediately started a conversation and connected about life in Gainesville.
We then visited this club down the street called Midnight. The club was an open patio that