I’ve never wanted to write anything as little as I want to write this post. Because in a sense writing it makes real a loss I have a hard time coming to terms with.
Earlier this week we lost one of our own. PodunkDawg, a fixture on this site for that last 15 years, lost her battle with COVID complications on Monday.
Some is you knew her as PodunkDawg. Many knew her as Carol. All knew her as “the Housemother.” Carol kept us in line both in the comments and, frankly, behind the scenes. But her influence went far beyond that.
Carol became a Bulldog watching Herschel during the magical 1980 season. While only 8 years old and living in Connecticut at the time, and probably not 100% sure what she was seeing, it made an impression that stuck for a lifetime.
Even when she moved out to Oklahoma, and built a busy career as an accountant, she found time to get back for a Bulldog home game every year, usually with her sister Sandy, and often with other friends from this community of folks she cared about deeply.
Carol was also the driving force behind the annual Goat Roast get-togethers we held for several years at the Blind Pig in Athens. The event was always a lot of fun, even if it somehow always coincided with an uncomfortably close win or a Bulldog loss.
The last one of those, incidentally, was the 2016 Ole Miss game. As the Rebels bombed an overwhelmed UGA team Carol turned to me and demanded “Tell me it gets better than this.” I assured her it would, and believed it too, though even I didn’t expect that fifteen months later Carol herself would be sitting in Mercedes-Benz Stadium watching Kirby’s boys play for a national title. I was happy that Georgia was in the game. I was even more happy that my friend got to see it, even if I wish the result had been different. I hate that I won’t get to high five Carol, in person or virtually, when the ‘Dawgs eventually win it all. But I know she’ll be watching.
Carol was not only a proud Bulldog, but also a proud Warner Robins High School Demon (class of I won’t say). She always took a special delight in players from Houston County wearing the red and black (even the ones who went to Northside), but she supported every player in a Bulldog uniform and never met a Bulldog fan with whom she couldn’t find kinship.
But more than a fan, Carol was a friend. She was there for members of this community through good times and bad. She advised more than one of us about who we ought to marry. She coached me through my first few months of fatherhood, once telling me “all you can really do is make sure they know you love them and want what’s best for them. They’ll still be mad, but at least they know you mean well.” It remains perhaps the best parenting advice I ever received.
She was there for those of us who lost jobs, and for those who lost parents and spouses. Carol was an encourager, and consoler. She was the best of us, no matter to which “us” you were referring.
We’ll miss her terribly, in no small part because there’s no one else quite like her. But tonight we’ll wear our red and black and we’ll call the ‘Dawgs, and we’ll know that Carol would have wanted it that way.
And I hope we’ll also temper our passion with civility, our excitement with perspective, and we’ll try to be kind to our own and others because that’s what Carol expected from us. And trust me, you don’t want to disappoint the Housemother. Now and forever....
For those who can attend, a memorial service will be held on Tuesday, full details here. Carol loved flowers. But be warned, I’m fairly certain that if you send orange ones she will haunt you. And, as is customary on this page, I will fully support her decision.