Just the day before, Friday, he was diagnosed with cancer.
He’s taking the new pretty well, I guess. Clayton carries with him an air of good humor. He could make a mime laugh out loud. He’s Norm from Cheers, only with a much better attitude and higher tolerance for alcohol. He’s allergic to bad moods (at least, I think he is).
He’s a huge Appalachian State football fan, and was at the big game at Michigan. When boarding the plane for the flight home, he somehow managed to grab the incabin CB and make a special announcement to the passengers on-board. I was told it went something like this.
Attention please, attention please. I have an important announcement to make. The No. 5-ranked Michigan Wolverines just got their butt kicked by Appalachian State University! Enjoy your flight home!
Hi-fives decorated his trip down the aisle, of course.
I see Clayton every fall at our regular tailgate. When he’s around, a good time is always had by all. He’s been to just about every home game the past few seasons, and every championship at Chattanooga. He even once won a raffle for two seats in the chancellor’s box. He went. It was like inviting a Red Bull to a wine tasting. Way too much decorum and properness for a man like Clayton. “Cheer, people, CHEER! There’s a football game goin’ on out there!”
He came back into the stands after halftime. He brought with him napkins full of cookies – “Compliments of the chancellor.”
Tuesday Clayton was coming to terms with a second opinion and his impending intensive chemotherapy sessions. He was checking the many voicemail messages on his cell phone when one just jumped out at him. Somehow. Someway. For some odd reason. An ASU football player had left a message on his phone.
What in the world … ?
The player was Justin Woazeah. He said he wanted to wish Clayton the best and let him know he was in his prayers. Later that night, the two actually talked. Clayton was floored and much appreciative. Justin just said he heard of Clayton’s situation from a friend and wanted to offer some support. If there was anything he could do, let him know. Until then, he was praying for him.
I’m still not sure how Justin got wind of Clayton (Kevin Bacon is somehow involved .. I think), but nonetheless it was beyond cool what he did.
If you’re interested, Clayton has a blog setup here. For now, his spirits are as strong as his annual fourth-quarter admonishments of the Georgia Southern defense. (He really doesn’t like those guys).
I look forward to seeing you back in Boone, big man. You’re in my prayers too.