When PNC Bank, one of the big national names, opened branches in Alabama last year, it caught heat from the locals about its debit cards.
In that college football hotbed, Crimson Tide fans protested getting orange-and-blue cards from PNC. The cards looked too much like rival Auburn’s school colors. What a faux pas.
PNC - the “P” stands for Pittsburgh - quickly changed the Alabamans’ cards, putting on them an American flag instead, according to “The Wall Street Journal.”
In Alabama, they should have tried the Stars and Bars.
You’d think they’d know better in Pittsburgh, where Steelers fans turn the stadium there into a sea of yellow by waving towels at big football games.
They wouldn’t put the Cleveland Browns’ color scheme or the Cincinnati Bengals’ orange with black stripes on the debit cards they send out in and around Pittsburgh, now would they?
It seems the Pittsburghers have a thing or two to learn about the South.
Apparently they don’t know any better in the Harris household, either. I’ve got UNC gear all over, but the boss of the house somehow snuck in a red-and-white N.C. State sweatshirt.
“I’m cold,” she said a while back. I keep the house too cold in winter for the city girl’s taste.
“Put on a sweatshirt,” I said as I stepped in it.
So here she sashays out with a big grin and that red State sweatshirt that she keeps hidden in a back corner somewhere. She went into a striptease in reverse as she slowly and teasingly donned the State shirt for my benefit.
And she even went out in public in that nasty thing.
She must’ve gotten that shirt from one of her sons. They both like State basketball.
So one Christmas I took with me to the family get-together a relic from my old school days. It was a State joke book. I shared a bunch of State jokes with the boys. Example: Did you hear about the stranded State students who waited for the rescue squad after the power went out on the escalator?
It was all hilarious.
The next Christmas the boys in turn gave me the present of a Carolina joke book. The jokes weren’t funny.
One evening long ago in the dormatory Down East the power went out. So nearly a hundred of us guys milled around out front in the dark with nothing to do on the warm night. A volatile situation.
We happened to spot a nifty little sports car parked right in front of the place. The car sported a State sports novelty license plate shining boldly in the dark.
Hum, we collectively thought. Now here’s a situation that deserves attention. So what were we to do about this?
Now this was the same crowd that one time packed the dorm TV room and cheered lustily for David Thompson as he led State to an overtime victory over Bill Walton and UCLA in the 1974 basketball Final Four and ended UCLA’s unprecedented run of seven consecutive national championships.
Thompson was a magical player who could transcend even the most heated sports rivalries. Not even Michael Jordan, a few years later, had that kind of magic.
But the afterglow of the Thompson/State victory had faded by the time the guys gathered around the State-fan’s car parked up against the curb.
Beside the sports car sat a garbage dumpster. There were more than enough guys available to gently ease the dumpster over and position it right behind the rear bumper of the State car, blocking it in.
Just as we were setting down the garbage dumpster, here comes the State man down the sidewalk.
He was the nicest guy you’d ever meet. So soft-spoken and humble. He chatted pleasantly with the mob of passionate sports rivals surrounding him in the dark.
He declined our offer to come inside our darkened abode for a spell, said he really had to be going. We almost regretted seeing him drive off after we put the garbage dumpster back.
Sports passion is not confined to TV sports, you know.
A couple of years ago I went down to try out the tennis courts at Elkin Park after they had resurfaced and fixed things up. I was shocked to find they had repainted the courts Elkin High blue instead of the traditional pale green.
The courts are the home of Elkin High tennis, thus the paint job, but nevertheless on this Saturday morning my Cardinal-red blood ran hot.
“I almost couldn’t play on that,” I complained subsequently by e-mail to a buddy who once was a member of the Elkin High tennis team. I was looking to start something.
I had first met Charles Davis at the dorm, coincidentally. He said he wasn’t in the crowd during the power outage.
But like the State man in the dark Charles was just too nice a guy to take my bait about the Elkin blue tennis courts. He wisely ignored my tease.
I bet if Charles was in Alabama he wouldn’t even complain about debit cards in Auburn’s colors.
I just hope he doesn’t get any ideas now about garbage dumpsters and come looking for my car.
By the way, they asked the new PNC regional president in Raleigh whom she liked: Duke, Carolina or State.
“I’m trying to stay on the sidelines and support them all,” Paula Fryland told “The Journal.”
She’d learned her lesson.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.