Another Georgia/Florida game is in the books and Jacksonville, Florida can return to normal.

Georgia was the home team this year and as such created the game day program.

Loran Smith wrote an article for the program about my love of alma mater and college football… my appreciation of school traditions, and  my joy of tailgating especially with the opposing team’s fans.

Many of you know Loran Smith from his sideline reporting and popular Tailgate Show.  Many are familiar with his books on tailgating.  His most recent book is about Larry Munson, beloved radio voice of Georgia Bulldogs football.  Loran also is a freelance columnist and author.  

I’d like to share with you the article, written by Loran Smith.

Georgia/Florida game day program featuring Kathy Miller by Loran Smith photo by Kathy Miller



“Kathy Miller is an artist.  She is a photographer.  She can cook, and I bet, without asking her, she can sew with the best.  For sure she likes home cooking and hosting parties where she and her friends try out new recipes.

She has a delightful blog, which reflects poignantly that she is a seasoned and devoted aficionado of college football.  She can’t wait for fall color, gridiron glory, tailgate parties and the best of the rah, rah, rah cheers along with the sis boom bah traditions which has become part of our DNA.

She is blessed, and that is important to her, to be immersed into a number of college football rivalries.  She is a graduate of Tennessee, her husband, Dave, matriculated at Duke and her kids graduated from Florida.   Even with that exposure, she is, also a fan of Georgia.  In fact, she is a fan of every SEC school and conducts herself with upper scale sportsmanship throughout the year.  She is the classic college football fan whose purview is that you tailgate before the game with the greatest of passion, then root, root, root for your favorite team and when it is over return to the tailgate party without rancor or acrimony.  After all, it is a game!

There is no award for her exemplary attitude.  Come on Greg Sankey, your staff at the SEC office in Birmingham is keen on recognizing players and coaches.  All well deserved.  You have a staff of administrators, statisticians and promoters who do good work, but how about doing something for the fans?  Let’s also honor those who honor sportsmanship.  Like Kathy Miller.

Let’s make it Miller Time in the SEC.

Tailgating is big across the conference and honoring an outstanding tailgater who is imbued with the college spirit and sportsmanship would be a good thing-would it not?  Some get out of line and that is regrettable, but let’s schmooze and celebrate those who have a bent for sportsmanship.

In my many years of following sports, I have always been impressed with those who are gracious losers.  You find them most often in the sport of golf.  Earlier this month, we lost the most gracious athlete, perhaps, of all time.  Arnold Palmer.  Ever the gentleman, he always was gracious in defeat.  You blow a lead, as he did in the Masters and the U.S. Open, you have to be crushed, but you would never know it by the way he paid tribute to the victor.  That’s class.

Many coaches have it, many don’t.  Many fans can deal with disappointment, many can’t.  This is not to suggest that there should be a culture of losing and liking it.  Do your best and if it is not good enough, tip your hat to the one who was better that day.

Miller, Dave and their friends enjoy tailgating with the greatest passion.  If you were to happen on their tailgates in Knoxville, Durham, Gainesville or Jacksonville, they would wave you in for socializing.  Kathy Miller would small talk you to death, she would invite you to taste her latest tailgate dish and welcome you with open arms.

If you show up wearing opponent colors, you would still be welcome.  “It doesn’t matter who your favorite school is,” she said, “we are all part of the SEC family and we can have fun tailgating and be civil at the game.  I love pulling for my team, but respect your pulling for your team.”

Miller has visited every campus in the SEC.  She has collected recipes from every school, she has photographed every landmark and has written about all teams in the league.

Tailgating Under The Arch painting by Kathy Miller

University of Georgia…Athens, Georgia

There is love and emotion when she visits a campus.  There is never any contempt or castigation.  After all if you appreciate your alma mater as Miller does hers, then you should respect others who have the same feeling about the college where they matriculated.

Tailgating With The Vol Navy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville painting by Kathy Miller

University of Tennessee…Knoxville, Tennessee

You never see her without her camera.  That tree over there with lush blooms in the spring and heartwarming color in the fall.  That brook, that barn, that stone fence.  A treasured photo might wind up on canvas.  Miller graduated from Tennessee with plans to make it big in the fashion industry.  There was some success, but she had to take time off from her career to be a mother.

She has always been a star in her kitchen.  She is a passionate collector of recipes and treasures cookbooks.  There is always a fun evening with a recipe she might have collected in College Station, Texas or Tuscaloosa or Nashville or Athens-also Knoxville and Gainesville where she has been hanging out much of her life.

Often at her home on Amelia Island, Miller will throw a party with the main fare being a recipe she collected while making friends on the campus mentioned above.  She’s a have -camera, will-travel advocate!  Give me a recipe and I will prepare you a snack!  Let’s have a tailgate party, let’s play some football.

She never enrolled in art in high school or college.  Then an accomplished artist who lived next door, Ellen Diamond, influenced her to take up art and the “rest of the story” has given her a “best of times” avocation which has segued into a fun career.  She doesn’t make a living out of her interests, but she has made having creative fun a full time relationship.

Let’s have applause please for one college football fan, who reminds us of the value of social compatibility and friendship.  If you happen by her tailgate, you will be invited in, you might even get your picture taken…you might even wind up on canvas with a famous landmark of your favorite campus.  But only if you act right.”

(I love the last line!!! But only if you act right!)

Tailgating In The Swamp painting by Kathy Miller

University of Florida…Gainesville, Florida

 Thank you Loran Smith!  You put into words so much better than I could,  how passionate I am about love of school, traditions, tailgating, and the meeting of like-minded college football fans.  I have had more fun traveling to other schools; meeting their fans, enjoying their traditions, tasting their tailgating food, and then sharing with my family, friends and readers.

Loran Smith and Kathy Miller at booksigning Plantation Shop Amelia Island Florida photo by Kathy Miller

And for those who have asked me since reading the article,  I do know how to sew.  You don’t get a degree in Textiles & Clothing without understanding the basics of sewing, design and the chemistry of fibers and fabrics.  The most difficult class I had in college was a fabric/fiber lab.  We were given a box of hundreds of greige goods samples, raw fabric before undergoing dying or bleaching, and asked to label each.  We are talking about identifying whether it was woven or knit, the fiber  (rayon, cotton, wool, polyester, etc) the weave (broadcloth, serge, twill, gabardine, poplin, basketweave, etc)  all from little swatches of grey fabrics.  I still have nightmares about that one!

Dave and Kathy Miller with Loran Smith Florida/Georgia game photo by Kathy Miller

Watch for upcoming stories from my tailgating travels. 

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table…or the fabric lab.



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