Ron and Sandy Brooks are not normal Ole Miss fans and supporters. They not only “talk the talk” (eight days a week), but drive the drive some 19 weekends a year from Houma, Louisiana. According to my calculation, this equates to some 228 highway hours, not to mention the amount of time they devote in following the Rebs once they arrive at whatever destination they are targeting. HottyToddy.com cornered them long enough at the most recent baseball weekend to have a brief chat.
HottyToddy.com: Ron and Sandy, thanks for taking the time to visit with us. Please give our readers a little background info on you guys.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: Ron grew up in Magee and landed in Oxford in September, 1962, where he started his pursuit of pharmacy. Sandy was raised in Houma where the couple met following Ron’s graduation.
HottyToddy.com: Why do you make this lengthy trip so often?
Ron and Sandy Brooks: This is Mayberry with a college. We don’t know where heaven is, but it cannot be far from here (Oxford). There is a sense of peace upon arriving, and we can even feel stress departing from us on the way up.
HottyToddy.com: Because of the timing of this discussion, I would be remiss not to ask you about the NCAA investigation.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: We love Ole Miss. We love Hugh Freeze. We love the AD, and we’re not fair weather fans. This will not keep us from continuing to come.
HottyToddy.com: No surprise there. What do you do upon arrival?
Ron and Sandy Brooks: We attend baseball practice and the games: basketball, football and also ladies’ basketball. We’re members of the Bullpen Club, Quarterback Club and Kennedy’s Korner. We even attend tennis matches when we can.
HottyToddy.com: Aside from sports, what else do you enjoy?
Ron and Sandy Brooks: We frequent movies, occasionally walk the trails and routinely visit the Square. The atmosphere and growth in Oxford and Ole Miss are very inviting, stimulating and encouraging. Because of technology, we can continue to work on our RE and Property Management businesses. Not to leave out, the food here is second only to New Orleans.
HottyToddy.com: You two are part of quite famous tailgating group.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: That we are. “The Real Thing” tailgating group has been previously recognized by the NY Times, and HottyToddy.com did a feature on us this past fall. We have 14 hosts and regularly feed 50 to 60 during a football Saturday.
HottyToddy.com: Apparently you have developed some wonderful relationships from this connection.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: We see our tailgating members regularly, probably six times a year outside of football. The personal relationships are meaningful, which is yet another reason to return often.
HottyToddy.com: The apple does not fall far from the tree. If I remember correctly, your daughter, Elizabeth Simons, is an Ole Miss alum and wasn’t she a PhiMu here?
Ron and Sandy Brooks: Elizabeth has a group that meets here annually which numbers about 10 Phi Mu’s. This past year they decided to take a side trip to Seaside, Florida, on the Emerald Coast. They have also traveled to the Dominican Republic and celebrated a 20th reunion in Oxford.
HottyToddy.com: I must ask Ron what it was like during that most unusual fall of 1962.
Ron Brooks: The bright spot that autumn was the football program. Some 55 years after the fact and reflecting back, it was an unfortunate incident that was stoked by outside influences. I was totally focused on studying pharmacy and far removed from the events.
HottyToddy.com: Turning to Sandy, what else do you like about this environment other than what we have already covered?
Sandy Brooks: The fact that the landscape here is not flat is very appealing. We love the hills. The natural beauty of the campus along with the feeling of “well being” is refreshing. The opportunities for maintaining both your physical and mental health are tremendous. We also enjoy various shows and entertainment at the Ford Center.
HottyToddy.com: You two are major fans in that Ole Miss sports are almost a full time occupation for you.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: Referring to us as fans is only half the story. We are “fanatics” for Ole Miss. About ten years ago, we acquired a weekend residence here. We thoroughly enjoy the interaction with being around young people.
HottyToddy.com: Speaking about youth, doesn’t Ron have a significant birthday coming soon?
Sandy Brooks: That he does. Ron will celebrate his 75th birthday at the opening football game this September. Two years ago, we celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary at the State game.
HottyToddy.com: In wrapping up, you also bring quite a number of guests here.
Ron and Sandy Brooks: We often do as all of our Houma friends covet an invitation to visit Oxford. (Sandy recently had three friends join her after Thanksgiving, playing bridge and shopping.)
*Footnote: Elizabeth’s husband, Slade, played football at Georgia. The couple met in New Orleans where they presently reside.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.