Hail, Dear Old State (And TJ Maxx, Too)

As some of you may remember, I nearly died last week during the Mississippi State / Arkansas game.

Oh, not dead dead. Just sorta kinda dead.

No need for alarm, of course. I bounced back beautifully.

Anyway, since the game against Arkansas was a bit of a heartbreaker, I was apprehensive at best about our game against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs really needed to win if we wanted to stay in the running for the Chick-fil-a bowl in Atlanta, and I’ve got enough years as a Bulldogs fan under my belt to know that things tend to get tricky for us when there’s some sort of pressure attached to a game.

And then there was the fact that the last time we played in Oxford, the Rebels beat us something like 104-2. Or maybe it was 45-0. Regardless, IT WAS SOMEWHAT EMBARRASSING.

I tried not to think about the game too much Saturday morning, and it helped that Sister and I spent a chunk of the day running errands. I had to get fabric for a couple of the little man’s school projects, and OH SWEET MERCY I may just lose my mind with the crafts. Put me in just about any situation that involves cutting fabric, and odds are that I eventually will find a small, private corner where I can assume the fetal position and weep at will. Thank goodness that Sister was here to stand in the crafty gap for me. I can’t imagine what my pre-game mental state would have been without her help.

Anyway, Sister and I were on our way home from the errands when we decided to make a quick stop at TJ Maxx. I don’t have a huge fondness for the TJ Maxx in our neck of the woods because I never seem to find anything there. I mean, I’ll occasionally find a deal, but they seem few and far between when you consider that I could walk into the TJ Maxx by Sister’s house in Nashville and find six red-hot deals within five minutes of entering the store. Maybe my TJ Maxx just gets picked over more quickly? Or maybe it’s part of a different distribution center? Or maybe I’m overthinking the nuances of TJ Maxx shopping and need to get back to the point of this post already?

Yes. That last thing.


We wandered back to the home stuff, mainly just to kill a little time before we headed back to my house before the State game. And when I turned down the third or fourth aisle, this little fella caught my eye:

Our mascot? Walking upright in a sea of red? At a TJ Maxx in Birmingham, Alabama that never has one bit of Mississippi State stuff since it is always FILLED TO THE BRIM with Alabama and Auburn merchandise?


In all seriousness, though, Sister and I did our best not to assign more meaning to that little Bulldog than what he deserved, and once the surprise of the initial Bulldog sighting wore off, I really didn’t think much more of it. After we looked around about 15 more minutes, we figured we probably should wrap up our Maxx-ing, so we started making our way to the front of the store.

But then this stopped me dead in my tracks.


As you might imagine, I gasped.

It was, as best I could tell, the only one in the store. And while I was standing there trying to figure out what it might mean, WHAT COULD IT ALL MEAN, Sister tapped my shoulder and pointed at something across the aisle.

Clearly the Lord had decided to speak to us through t-shirts. I mean, it was like an Egg Bowl showdown right there in the middle of the casual knitwear.

We stood there for a few seconds, looking from the State shirt to the Ole Miss shirt to the State shirt to the Ole Miss shirt (I guess we thought that at some point the shirts were going to have words? Or a football from sporting goods was going to jump in the mix and the two shirts could battle it out in the parking lot?), and eventually my eye settled on a red tag on the Ole Miss shirt. About that time Sister said, “LOOK!” while she held up the very same tag.

The Ole Miss shirt was on sale. The State shirt wasn’t. WHAT COULD IT ALL MEAN?

And that’s not all. Because if you look even more closely at the tag, you can see two telltale words:


Let that settle in for a few seconds, my friends.


What happened this past season? Well, the Bulldogs beat the Rebels 41-27 in the Egg Bowl. THAT’S what happened this past season.

Let me guess: cold chills just ran down your spine.


Sister and I laughed about the whole thing while we stood in the checkout line, but we were definitely still nervous about the game. Once we got back to my house and cooked supper, everybody settled in for the Egg Bowl (Sister and I may or may not have watched from separate rooms, but I’ll save that tale of our collective crazy for another day). We cheered and hollered and clapped for three hours, and do you know what happened?

The Bulldogs won. 31-23.

The Egg Bowl trophy stays in Starkville.

photo by Keith Warren


Go ‘Dogs.

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  1. I was SO glad to be at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving so that I could watch the game on ESPNU. The dawgs came through. I needed that SEC rivalry to go my way.
    Go Dawgs!
    Pig Sooie!
    Roll Tide Always!
    And my new favorite…GO NEVADA!!

  2. I’m a Penn State fan, and based on the way we played (OR DIDN’T!!) this weekend, I’m thinking maybe I should browse TJ Maxx before our next game. It certainly couldn’t hurt anything at this point. Glad you had a successful football weekend!

  3. I’m glad at least someone’s State team pulled out a necessary win. I wish we would have been so fortunate: http://kuliejellogg.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-bad.html

  4. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen MSU paraphenalia at our TJ Maxx . . . of course, I’m a wee bit north of you! But I can’t remember seeing Badger or Green Bay Packer merchandise either. Clearly, it was a sign.

    Happy 5-year bloggiversary!

    BA HA HA!

  6. This doesn’t have anything to do with football, but I’ll tell you a time when Kohl’s gave us a sign for the future. We were meeting our daughter’s birth parents for the first time, so nervous about this “interview” process. We live in Maryland and they were in Colorado and we had two adoptions that fell through earlier that year. But as nervous as we were, the birthmom and birthfather went shopping before our last breakfast together in the weekend and they came in with a Maryland ice bucket/glasses/coaster set that they just bought. Seriously, something from the Univ of Maryland on display at Kohl’s with a bunch of Colorado stuff. The only MD item on the entire table. This young couple was SO EXCITED about it being a sign that we were the right couple to adopt their baby.

    So, yeah, we can never underestimate the Retail Knowledge that is out there. :)

  7. Too funny! You are a riot!!! I would love to go shopping with you and sister sometime! The approx. 540 miles from Sinking Spring to Birmingham might be a minor detail to work out but I’d love to just hear your conversations.

    And yes, I agree…..it was absolutley a sign to find your teams’ stuff. I’m glad they won the game!

  8. Go Dawgs!!! We’ve already got our hotel booked in Atlanta! Can’t wait for my free Chik-Fil-A coupon at my seat in the Dome!

  9. Go Dawgs, indeed! So exciting! :)

    The funny thing is… I’m an Ole Miss student! But, only because I have to be, and I spent 2 years in Starkville first!

  10. HA! I can see the 2 of you standing there and having that conversation.

  11. As a MSU crazy myself, I found comfort knowing we share the same kind of crazy. Loved this!

  12. Hmmm. I wonder just how wide is the scope of TJMaxx’s gift of prophecy? I think I’ll have to test this one myself…

  13. I was fully prepared never to disclose this little tidbit.. EVER… but, in the spirit of things I will say that on Friday, after the first quarter of the stroke-worthy Alabama/Auburn game, I REFUSED to sit in the recliner anymore because I’d been there for those first 15 minutes. You know, the ones where Auburn forgot to play football?
    How embarrassing.. my superstition, that is, not the no-football playing.. because we all know that we came back, praise be to Jesus, and the 5 or so years that have been shaved off of my life is truly well worth the win.

  14. I laughed out loud reading this! Love, LOVE, LOVE the clearance on those Black Bears! LOL. Hubby and I were on our way home from WI and had to make due with live updates and play-by-play on espnu.com on the Blackberry…which let me tell you, is not so “live” as one might hope! It was pure torture watching that little screen, waiting for the next update. GO DAWGS!!

  15. You know, I was wondering how long it would take you to post about the game, but I am amazed at the fabulous finds at the TJ Maxx
    We were pretty fired up about the game here , even though that sweet Chad Bumphis was injured . [ and let me tell you, he IS sweet- I taught him for two years … good people]
    Any time TSUN merch is marked down is yet another reason to break out the cream cheese dips, I say!

  16. I wouldn’t ordinarily think to combine football karma and shopping karma, but you might have stumbled onto the next feng shui-esque craze for us pigskin princesses!

  17. My football weekend was just not what I had hoped, glad yours went well. I am a by birth, by being alumni and by being Million Dollar Band alumni, Bama Fan. Basically this season hasn’t gone as I had expected.
    As for TJ Maxx, I have found a few good deals there, but best of all my sweet three year old girl found a replacement for a lost lovey. It wasn’t the same pink bunny that she’d had since she was six months old, but she picked it out and can manage to suck her thumb and hold the things leg in her hand at the same time, which is the basic criteria. For that, I will forever be indebted to TJ Maxx!

  18. Hilarious! I’ve been needing a word from the Lord. Now I know. T-shirts. At TJ Maxx.

  19. Emily Massey says:

    Loved it Boo! And yes, I’m still riding around with the MSU flag flappin on the car!

  20. Okay, as usual, I have so many things to say about this post. 1) I agree about the TJ Maxx inconsistencies. There is one close to my (new) home here in my little Houston suburb and it’s really small and does not have much. I used to go to one in a Milwaukee suburb when I lived in WI and it was HORRIBLE – always a mess and just a disaster. HOWEVER – the TJ Maxx nearest to my hometown and my all-time fave, seemed to be loaded with good deals at all times. Every single second of every day. And also, my husband told me that the ladies in his office said the TJ Maxx in the more upscale areas of any given town are just nicer and filled with better goodies. Who knows?
    Second, I come from the North where I do think our Wisconsin Badgers have a good fan base, but OH-MY-WORD, we just happened to be traveling through Mississippi this past Saturday and I was absolutely FLOORED by the number of cars flying by with their Ole Miss flags flying. College football fans in the South are very impressive.

  21. I’m thinking that I may live close to Sister since I live in the same area that was 432 feet below water here in Nashville last May. If so, I have to agree with you that our T.J. Smaxx is one of the best around. Next time you visit, I would love to meet you ladies there and take you to lunch. Congrats to your Dogs on finishing strong. I’m always a little sad when football season comes to an end, but it might be best that my Orange Nation put this year behind us and move on after the bowl game!

  22. You are a hoot. A highly, highly enjoyable hoot. Thanks for the telling of the Prophecy of The TJ Maxx.

  23. This post makes me so happy. We are long-suffering, faithful Bulldog fans at my house, too…so, yes, I understand how these mysterious “signs” all added up to one thing–sweet victory! Thank goodness for your stop in that TJ Maxx! GO DAWGS

  24. That is just too hysterical, because I, too, live in the great state of Alabama and Auburn, and I would definitely consider it a sign from God to find anything Mississippi State (without the word “stinks”) anywhere within 100 mile radius of The Ham. And the Past Season – TOO GOOD! I will admit that I had a near panic attack in the third quarter when we decided to let the newer guys play awhile with a MERE TWO TOUCHDOWN LEAD. A buddy of mine, who is a rabid Bama fan, texted me and said “who do you guys think you are, Alabama?” Anyway, wasn’t it GREAT??