Discussion in 'The Tiger's Den' started by MBTigah, Apr 28, 2012.
Very sorry to hear this. He's seeing the afterlife through purple and gold glasses, no doubt.
I just read the full press release issued by Dandy Don's family
When one of my best friends (and my closest friend at the time) died unexpectedly a couple years ago, the priest urged those of us at the funeral service to celebrate his death as a joyful event, rather than mourn it as a sad one, after all, if you believe in heaven, eternal bliss with God, that is a much better place than our life on earth, and my friend was a really, really good person, and there was a lot to celebrate about his life.
Likewise, when my grandfather, a very, very good man (and a very, very passionate college football fan), was on his death bed, his dying wish was that we celebrate his passing and his life, rather than mourn it, and so we threw a party with drinking and feasting for everybody after his funeral like he asked us too.
My grandfather died at the same age Dandy Don was when he died, and like Dandy Don, he was always positive, you never heard a negative thing come out of his mouth, life has enough suffering and pain as it is, there is no good reason to add to that by being negative...and my grandfather didn't have very many blessings in his life, which makes it more impressive that he was always positive. It's similar to Dandy Don, a man who was long suffering badly from painful colon (intestinal) cancer, cancer in your gut (even his son, who cared for him in his pain, expressed thankfulness for his death, as he now "suffers no more").
And Dandy Don wasn't just suffering from colon cancer, he was also suffering as a result of the absence of his deceased wife who he had been married to for 53 years. In the few years my grandmother lived after her husband of 55 years died, she would cry whenever she talked about him, because she missed him so dearly. I have no doubt Dandy Don missed his wife just as much if not more, so I am thankful that both Dandy Don and my grandmother are now reunited with their spouses in Heaven. And Dandy Don didn't just suffer from his wife's death, he suffered through her battle with Parkinson's Disease as well.
And despite Dandy Don going through all that pain and suffering, he always remained positive on his LSU blog, even during all the most disappointing moments and lows that LSU experienced, and this was a man that had more vested in LSU's success that most...he greeted Tiger Nation early every morning from 1996 until his death with his iconic "Good Morning, Tiger Fans" and he went to every LSU football game for more than 30 years until his wife (and later himself) became ill.
So I believe Dandy Don would like us to celebrate his passing rather than mourn it.
Also, Dandy Don's legacy on earth will live on, his son promises to carry on his legacy by continuing Dandy Don's daily LSU blog (which his son made as a gift for him in the first place), and his son wrote:
“I intend to keep my father’s legacy alive and well by continuing the blog,” said Long. “There will be no discernible change to the blog. In fact, I have been writing the daily reports for nearly a year as my father’s health declined, so readers can expect the same content and commitment as always from DandyDon.com.”
So cheers to you, Dandy Don, cheers to your life, your passing, and your legacy.
A great Tiger, whose life forever makes Tiger Nation proud. As far as I could tell, not only was he always positive and joyful, but always passionate, faithful, and very humble as well...all qualities of a great Christian...and LSU will be served well with a man like Dandy Don in Heaven, gentlely and humbly asking God to help his Tigers out a tad for the rest of the future (because Lord knows their is a rival school out East that has gotten more than its fair share of blessings in football )
Finally, consider giving the Long family just a few bucks if not more, to help cover the expenses of Dandy Don's funeral (after all, he and his son did spend all those years and work giving us their website free of charge)
RIP DD....you will be missed. I will always read your blog, always.
Godspeed Dandy Don, thanks for being an example to us.
He will be deeply missed. A true Tiger fan.
I grew up about a block from where Dandy's mother and father and younger brothers lived and managed to visit with him when he would come to Winnfield. Donald was the fifth of eight sons born to Mr. and Mrs. R. R. "Little Brother" Long. Also, he was a cousin to my wife. He ended up with his parents' home and I kept an eye on it for him from time to time. If I missed one of his visits, especially during spring or summer, he'd call and tell me to go by and pick up some fresh vegetables he'd harvested and left on the porch for me. One of our grandest challenges was getting rid of a huge bee hive that had built in the roof of the house. Mr. Don was always interested in Winnfield, Winn Parish, the people, and especially our Winnfield Tigers. I remember he called me once needing a set of tires and said he knew one of the guys in town subscribed to Dandy Don's website and he felt obligated to buy something in return. Simply put, he was a loyal man to his family, his God, and his friends. Never a more loyal Tiger fan, either. R. I. P.
This gets me every time....
Dandy Don’s 2011 Thanksgiving Message
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I would like to wish all of you in the great state of Louisiana, in this great country and in this wonderful world a very Happy Thanksgiving.
As those of you who have been following this site for the last 15 years know, I become very reminiscent and a little sappy at this time of year as I think of the many gifts in my life for which to be thankful. I hope that in sharing the following thoughts and stories you will be reminded of the many gifts in your own lives.
This Thanksgiving Day is particularly special to me because it very well could be my last. As most of you know, I’ve been battling colon cancer for quite sometime, and if my doctors’ prognosis is correct, it is unlikely that I will be around this time next year. With that in mind, there are many people I’d like to thank for their love, their support their friendship and their prayers.
At the top of my list of people to thank are my dearly departed wife Joy who stood by me faithfully and lovingly for 53 years, my five children, my 13 grandchildren and my six great-grandchildren. The Good Lord has blessed me beyond measure to have such an incredible family.
I’d also like to thank all of you who read this website. I’ve made countless friends through DandyDon.com and through my support of LSU athletics, and for this I’m very grateful.
In the context of this website, I want to give special thanks to my youngest son, Scott, who has been my partner in DandyDon.com and my right-hand-man for the last 15 years. This website was Scott’s idea, and his birthday gift to me back in 1996. I also want to thank Scott for being by my side each day during my fight against Cancer. He is always there when I need him.
I mention Scott because once I am no longer able to continue working on this site he will keep it going. Scott and I have worked as a close team on dandydon.com for 15 years and during that time we have never missed a single day of reporting. Scott has the dedication and passion required to keep this site going without missing a beat, and I’m confident that he will do a great job. In fact, the transition to Scott taking the reins began several months ago and has gone largely unnoticed.
I ask that once DandyDon.com is entirely in Scott’s hands you will continue reading the site and supporting it through our annual fundraiser. Scott graduated from LSU in 1992 and has been married to his beautiful wife for 16 years. He and his wife have three beautiful girls ranging in age from four to eight. Scott also operates his own graphic design and website development business and is his company’s only full-time employee. The additional time that he will dedicate to this site once I’m no longer here will impact the amount of work he will be able to take on in his other business, so your support will be even more important than ever. With that in mind, I’d like to thank you in advance for keeping my legacy alive by showing your support for Scott and his efforts to keep you well informed on our beloved Tigers.
As I get older in life, particularly at this time of the year, I like to reminisce about my years growing up in Winn Parish back in the late 30s and 40s. Each year at Thanksgiving I get nostalgic and share a bit of my past with you. Many of you are familiar with my stories of the good ol’ days gone by that I share each year. I hope you find these stories worthy of sharing, remembering and repeating.
...As I get older in life, particularly at this time of the year, I like to reminisce about my years growing up in Winn Parish back in the late 30s and 40s. Each year at Thanksgiving I get nostalgic and share a bit of my past with you. Many of you are familiar with my stories of the good ol’ days gone by that I share each year. I hope you find these stories worthy of sharing, remembering and repeating.
When I was a kid, my family was financially poor but we didn't know it. We had each other, good health, plenty of great food to eat and an overflow of love from Mom and Dad. Life was hard back then and a one-dollar bill would buy a lot of things. A box of salt cost five cents, a pound of coffee was 19 cents, a gallon of gas was 19 cents but was not very important because we didn't own a car. The only telephone in the neighborhood was a party line phone that the entire neighborhood shared, and sometimes you would have to wait hours to get a dial tone. There was no such thing as air conditioning and central heating. In the Summer, we would sleep with the windows up and the front and back doors open to bring in fresh air. In the Winter, we used a wood stove in the kitchen and a fireplace in the living room to heat the house.
My parents raised eight boys on their small 40-acre red dirt farm in Tannehill, Louisiana. The five oldest of the eight boys were born at home and only the three youngest at a hospital. Four of my brothers are still living. My brother Tom, who was 18 months older than me, was killed in an automobile accident when he was 31 years old. Tom was on his way to Natchitoches when his car collided with his best friend who was driving back from Natchitoches. The accident happened on top of a high hill when Tom's friend's car crossed over into Tom's driving lane.
My Daddy was a farmer. He grew cotton, corn and watermelons as his main crops. The cotton he raised would only grow about two feet high and would only make one bail per acre (one and a half on an exceptional year) – not much compared to cotton grown in the Delta that would produce two bails per acre.
Dad would usually plant 12-15 acres of cotton and we boys handpicked it. After the cotton was picked, it was hauled to a cotton gin in Winnfield and Dad would be paid a small amount per bail. He would usually plant eight to 10 acres of corn to feed the animals during the winter months, and would plant 10 to 12 acres of watermelons. Dad made pretty good money growing watermelons if we had them ready to harvest by the first of July. The market value of watermelons would drop by at least 50 percent after the fourth of July. I remember several years when there would be five or six trucks parked in front of our watermelon field to load melons. We would load them onto a wagon and drive it up to the back of the trucks for loading. That was a hard job.
Dad also grew a few acres of sugar cane on the backside of our 40 acres and had a grinder to make syrup from it. One of us would feed the grinder attached to a long pole pulled by a mule that would walk in circles to grind the cane. The juice from the sugar cane would flow into a long pan about 30 feet long, six inches deep and about three feet off the ground. Underneath the pan was pine and oak wood soaked in fuel. Dad would light the wood and cook the juice until it made thick syrup. We made enough syrup for the entire community and Dad would usually have 100-150 gallons of syrup to sale at 75 cents per gallon. I would always bring a couple of quarts of cane juice to school to give to my teachers, but it didn't help any with my grades.
Dad also grew purple hull peas and plenty of butter beans. After all the crops were harvested in the late Fall, he would work in the woods peeling logs to make a little extra money for the holidays.
I would love to be able to go back and help Mom and Dad shell the purple hull peas or butter beans in the front yard and listen to Mom, Dad and the neighbors sing gospel music while shelling. I can almost still hear Dad hit the bass note on “There will be peace in the Valley” and “Rock of Ages.”
I would also like to be able to go back to early Spring with my Dad and go back behind the baseball field and dig earthworms for fishing and selling. Dad would sell the worms fifty cents a hundred. We would usually dig three to four hundred worms early each morning. By the first of May each year, we would have all the available space, which was about the size of a football field, completely dug up. Dad was very particular in leveling the ground so we would be able to dig worms each Spring.
Another simple pleasure of the past that I would love to relive is going into the backyard to help my Dad scale fish. My Dad's policy was to clean the small fish first and the larger fish last. He said if you scaled the larger fish first you might want to throw away the smaller fish by the time you got to them.
And what I would give to be able to taste Mom's cornbread and her homemade butter pound cake.
Of course, I would also love to be able to go back and spend some time with my seven brothers on the 40-acre red-dirt farm. We did not have television to watch or a car to ride to visit our friends, so we spent a lot of time playing marbles and hide and seek, and hunting and fishing. We didn't have a lot to do, but we sure did have a lot of fun.
Thanksgiving was a big holiday for our family. We spent most Thanksgivings in Winnfield at my Grandma and Papa Smith's house. My Aunt Clotile owned a car and would make three trips to Tannehill to get us all there. She would take Mom and two kids the first trip, four more of the children the second trip and Dad and the other two boys the third time around.
Mom was really a great mother and was very proud of her eight boys. She would always dress us as nicely as possible and cut all eight of us boys' hair a day or two before we made the trip to Winnfield.
While reminiscing, I'd like to share a few more pieces of my past for those of you who are interested.
A few years ago while I was in Tannehill, I drove by my old home place, which is now grown over with Pine trees. I parked my truck and walked through the woods that my family used to walk through to get to the dirt road that led to Zion Hill Baptist Church. The trail that we would walk 55-60 years ago was no longer available, but I did see some familiar blueberry bushes that reminded me of an Easter Sunday morning when I was nine or 10 years old. Mom had made us boys each a nice white suit to wear to church. I would always walk behind everyone else for some reason, and on that particular day I noticed some ripe blueberries on a bush along the way. I broke away from the group to walk over and pick a double handful and started eating the ripe, juicy berries. Of course, when I finished eating them I wiped my hands on my new white suit. A few minutes later, someone noticed that I was nowhere to be seen and Mom told Dad to go look for me. When he found me and saw the blueberry stains on my white coat, the words that came out of his mouth were “Son, you're in trouble with your Momma.” After Mom saw what happened, she cried and told Dad to take me home and dress me in blue jean overalls. I sure did feel funny sitting in the church in my overalls between all of my well-dressed brothers in their new white suits. Mom sang in the church choir, and that day while singing she looked over at me and smiled. I knew she had forgiven me.
While in Tannehill, I walked through the woods that lead to Big Kieschie Creek, the place where my Dad was baptized when I was 10 years old. My Dad was not much of a church-going man until his late 30s. Back when I was growing up, when a person joined the Church he was baptized by the pastor in Big Kieschie Creek. The pastor would pinch the nose and dunk the head underwater three times for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. My Dad did not like his head being dunked underwater and the pastor had to settle on pouring water on the top of his head after just one dunk.
Another memory I'll never forget is of another event that took place when I was about 10 years old. My Dad loved to fish and money was tight, to say the least. One day, my Dad was able to come up with 75 cents by digging in drawers and other places and went to Winnfield to buy an artificial bait called a Water Scout. He showed the bait to us boys and put it on top of the dresser before going to bed. My brother Tom and I made plans to get up very early the following Saturday morning and run down to the river to try to catch a big bass that we had seen turnover a few days earlier. We did not have rod and reels to fish with back then, so we used a long cane pole with a line half as long as the pole and would flip the bait into the water and pull it to the bank. The first throw I made, the big bass hit the lure. As I was pulling him in, the line came untied and I lost the fish and Dad's Water Scout. My brother Tom and I knew that we were in big trouble. As we were walking back home through the field we saw Dad walking our way as fast as he could. When Dad got to us he saw that there was no Water Scout on the end of the line. With tears in his eyes and quivering lips he asked if we boys had lost his new bait. We told Dad what happened and were depressed the entire weekend. Tom and I managed to come up with 75 cents and on Monday and skipped class to go to Matt Milam's department store to buy another Water Scout for Dad. When we got home that afternoon and gave Dad the lure, he went back to the same spot on the river and threw the bait by the same log. He hooked a big bass, got it on the bank and saw that it was the same fish we had hooked. The Water Scout was still in its mouth and I was one happy 10-year old.
Another memory that sticks with me is of Christmas Day when I was 10 or 11 years old. The winter had been bad. Dad wasn't able to work in the woods cutting and peeling logs and didn't have enough money to pay off the layaway at Milam's Department Store. Consequently, we didn't awake to any Christmas presents. Santa Claus had, however, left a note stating that his sled was overloaded and could not hold anymore toys and that he would make a special trip to our house later that week. Our stockings were filled with apples, oranges and chewing gum, but we were disappointed that Santa hadn't delivered any presents. At about 10 a.m., we looked down the road and a car was turning onto the dirt road that led to our house. It was Mr. Milam with our Christmas presents that he said Santa had left at his store. Mr. Matt Milam had a big heart and felt sorry for us kids and knew that Dad would pay off the layaway as soon as possible. Three or four of us boys got Red Ryder BB guns. We used up all of our bb’s before the end of the day and I can still remember the sight of black birds we killed lying in the snow.
I also remember well July 4th when I was 11 years old. It was one of the driest summers in many years and the crops in the fields were dying from lack of rain. Dad was depending on a good cotton crop to pay back the bank the money he had borrowed in the Spring to buy seed, fertilizer and clothing for the family. All the people in the community had called for a dinner on the church picnic grounds to pray for rain. At about noon when everyone gathered around to pray for rain and to eat, there was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was close to 100 degrees. At that time, Mom looked down the road and saw a little old Lady walking to the picnic grounds with an umbrella over her head. This little old Lady was the only person who brought an umbrella. At about 3 p.m. someone thought they heard thunder from the West, but no one could see any clouds because of the thick pine trees behind the church area. The thunder got louder and closer, and a few minutes later the bottom fell out and the little old lady with the umbrella ran out in front of the church dancing with joy.
All the events described above are in the past and will never return, but the memories will always be with me. I am proud of my memories growing up financially poor, but rich with lots of love. I hope that many of you have enjoyed my journey back in time.
May God bless us all this Thanksgiving Day and grant us many memories to share.