24 May
2021

Fridays with Rice

first_img You Might Like Photo feature: Oh, Christmas Tree! An ornament is seen on a tree at the Johnson Center for the Arts. (Photo/Jaine Treadwell) The annual Christmas Tree… read more Members of the Alabama Friday Lunch Crowd meet each week at Julia’€™s Restaurant. Gone is their friend and Alabama fan, Bill Rice, Sr. But Rice is not forgotten. He still has a place at their table and in their hearts. His chair leans against the table each Friday and the conversation always includes him. From left, seated, Allen Jones, Tony Smith, Dickie Calhoun, William Davis, Jim Colley and Mack Hixon. Standing, Jimmy Phillips and Joe Faulk. (Photo/Jaine Treadwell)Friends still hold a spot for longtime Alabama fanA restaurant chair leans empty against the table at Julia’s Restaurant at lunchtime each Friday.There’s laughter, good-natured kidding and a few barbs among the men who share the table. But every now and then, and from each of them, a wistful glance is cast in the direction of the empty chair. Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day Just what it was about Bill Rice Sr. that drew people to him, William Davis said, he’s not sure. But he is sure that it was no one thing.“Bill was a man with many interests,” Davis said. “He was knowledgeable about so many things – Alabama football, politics, Alabama football, history, Alabama football …”It was the common interest in Alabama football that brought the men together in 1981. Over the years, the group has picked up members and lost members. But they meet, year round every Friday, now at Julia’s, for lunch.“Every now and then, Doug Hawkins comes around to harass us, especially not that Auburn is ‘finally’ winning a few games,” Calhoun said, laughing. Fridays with Rice Sponsored Content By The Penny Hoarder Published 12:11 am Saturday, January 7, 2012 Skip The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… For early 30 years, that chair was occupied by Bill Rice Sr., first at Mr. Ho’s in 1981 and then at other restaurants around town. On Oct. 12, 2010, the chair no longer had an occupant.“I never thought about it until Bill died, but I had lunch with him every Friday for almost 30 years,” said Dickie Calhoun, a member of the Alabama Friday Lunch Crowd. “That’s a thousand meals we shared. Other than your wife, there’s probably not a single person that you sit down and have a face-to-face talk with over lunch a thousand times.”For Calhoun and all the others who shared Friday lunches with Rice, those days are cherished memories. Around the WebDoctor: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Health VideosIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? 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We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel Email the author Book Nook to reopen By Jaine Treadwell Rice had “inside” information on the Crimson Tide that he often shared, “but you can never repeat what I’m telling you,” he would say to his lunch bunch friends.Rice had been a stalwart on the 1957-58 Troy High School football teams and was a blue chip choice for more than one team when he graduated.“Some of the Auburn fans in Troy offered to buy Bill a suit of clothes at Rosenberg’s if he would go to Auburn,” said Joe Faulk. “But Bill was Alabama through and through.”Rice chose to play for the Tide and entered the University of Alabama the fall of 1958 as a member of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s first recruiting class. He was a starter on Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961.“Bill played end and tackle for Alabama and caught quite a few passes as a tackle-eligible,” said Davis.Prior to Bryant’s arrival at the Capstone, J.B. “Ears” Whitworth had posted dismal records including an 0 and 10 record and a 2-7-1 record the year before the Bear arrived.“Bill helped bring prominence back to Alabama football. That team laid the foundation for what was to come,” Davis said.Faulk said one of his favorite Alabama Rice stores, that he can tell, is about Rice’s inability to get up and get to an 8 a.m. class.“Bill said that Coach Bryant called him into his office and told him that he understood that he was missing his early morning class,” Faulk said. “Coach Bryant told him to meet him the next morning at 4:30 in the office and to be wearing a coat and tie. Bill said Coach Bryant had him study in his office until it was time to go to his 8 o’clock class.“After about a week or more of that, Coach Bryant asked Bill if he thought he could make it to his 8 o’clock class. Bill said, ‘Yes, sir.’”Mack Hixon and Rice were freshmen at Alabama together and pledged the same fraternity.“It was a real honor for me to know Bill because everybody looked up to the football players,” he said.But, Hixon also knew Rice as a fun-loving college boy who joined him on panty raids.Back then, panty raids were nothing like climbing a fire escape and going to get them, Hixon said.“About a hundred of us would stand under the dorm windows on sorority row and, sometimes a girl or two would throw down some ‘lingerie.’” Hixon said laughing. “Those were fun, special times.”For the men who shared lunch, laughter and a few heated discussions with Rice, those were also very special times.“We all respected Bill because he knew a lot about a lot of things,” Calhoun said. “Back during the last governor’s race, Bill said he was going to support Robert Bentley, who by all accounts wasn’t qualified to be governor. I told him that Bentley didn’t know anything about politics. That he couldn’t win. But Bill said, ‘Yes, he could.’ And he did.”Jim Colley said Rice knew more about most everything than most of the Alabama Friday lunch crowd, including movies. Rice thought any movie that John Wayne appeared in was a good movie.“He could be hard-headed and we didn’t always agree with him, but he was right most of the time,” Colley said.Sometimes, Rice would invite his Friday lunch friends up to his house on Lake Martin. He would take them to lunch at Hotel Talisi and then out on the lake on his boat.“Bill liked to have a good time and he liked to have friends around,” said Jimmy Phillips. “And, we liked to be around him. We always had a good time when Bill was around.”Allen Jones said that Rice made good and lasting friendships and especially with those of like minds – Alabama minds.“He became very good friends with Martha Bradshaw Gibbs, who was married to Charlie Bradshaw, who was an assistant at Alabama,” Jones said. “She was close friends with the Bryants. Their friendship was a unique connection with the Bryant family.”Over the years, Bill Rice formed many friendships but none closer that the ones with the Alabama Friday Lunch Crowd.The “crowd” had lunch on the Friday before he died on Saturday.“None of us ever thought …” Calhoun said.Rice had watched Bama win a close one over Arkansas and later suffered a heart attack at his home.Davis and Phillips went immediately to the emergency room at Troy Regional Medical Center to be with him.“Bill asked me what I was doing there and I told him I came to be with a friend,” Phillips said.Davis said, with a smile, that, in true Bill Rice fashion, he kept asking the nurses, “Is Auburn still losing?”Rice died the way that his friends had often thought he might – after the excitement of an Alabama victory.Bill Rice Sr. is gone from the Alabama Friday Lunch Crowd but he is not forgotten.His Alabama friends are still holding his chair for him and his name always comes up at Friday lunches and not just one time but also many.“After Marsha’s illness and her death, Bill said that coming to our Friday lunch was the highlight of his week. He still has the place of honor at our table. He’s still with us,” Phillips said.On Monday night, Alabama will play LSU for the national championship.Some of his friends will be at the game and the others will be watching on television. And, to a one, they will be rooting for their team and hoping and believing that the Tide can win one for the Rice man. Print Article Latest Stories Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kitslast_img read more

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20 Sep
2020

Top sides will take note of Japan upset – Johnny Sexton

first_img Japan’s 34-32 victory over double World Cup-winners South Africa in Brighton lit up the opening weekend, shrewd coach Eddie Jones masterminding the greatest upset in the competition’s history. Fly-half Sexton believes Ireland’s 50-7 victory over Canada in Cardiff looks even more impressive in the context of Japan’s stunning triumph. Press Association “Our game was really good and we got the result we deserved, but we maybe saw the flip-side of what can happen if you maybe take your eye off the ball and the gap is narrowing.” Ireland motored north from Cardiff to their new base of St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent on Sunday, at the Football Association’s purpose-built facility. Team manager Mick Kearney declared an injury-free squad following the Canada battle, save for the hamstring trouble Robbie Henshaw continues to fight. Connacht centre Henshaw remains in contention to be fit to face Romania at Wembley, but is yet to return to training. “Thankfully in relation to yesterday apart from the normal bumps and bruises associated with Test rugby we’ve got a clean bill of health which is good news,” said Kearney. “Robbie is progressing very well through his rehab and the expectation is that he’d be available for selection for the Romania game on Sunday. “He hasn’t trained yet but the expectation would be that would train this week.” Ireland lost their final two warm-up matches against Wales and England, but almost flicked the switch back to grind back into top gear against Canada. British and Irish Lions playmaker Sexton said Ireland are starting to feel match-hardened now, and just when it matters most. “That’s what those games are for really, to make sure we’re ready,” said Sexton of the warm-up fixtures. “That’s why we play them and they are badly needed. “You can’t get match-fit training hard. “We trained really hard in the summer, but the fitness you need in the match is totally different. “I felt a lot better at the weekend. “We’re all starting to get our match-sharpness and match-fitness and that’s what we want at this time now.” Ireland face Romania at Wembley Stadium next weekend, with Sexton calling on Joe Schmidt’s men to maintain their focus. “That victory for Japan has given the sides that are the so-called minnows a boost, to see Japan do that,” said Sexton. “You saw Uruguay do that against Wales, they put it to them for the first 20 minutes and made life difficult for them. “Argentina were obviously making life tough for New Zealand too. “It gives everyone a boost to know anything can happen. “And it’s given us an alarm call I suppose. “It was great to watch Japan win like that, and it made our performance and our result over Canada a lot better, seeing them beat a team like South Africa. “We obviously could have been on the end of something similar a couple of hours earlier. Johnny Sexton believes Japan’s shock victory over South Africa has handed Ireland a World Cup “alarm call”.last_img read more

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