Randy Smith: How Baseball Brought Me Closer To My Mother-In-Law

Saturday, May 18, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Thursday, May 17, 1973, I was living in Murfreesboro, Tn. at the time and was just two days away from my wedding. I was umpiring Babe Ruth League baseball and had a pair of games on this clear, beautiful evening. I was paid a grand total of $15 for the two, meaning umpire’s pay back then was a whopping $7.50 per game.

After the first game, I got my complimentary hamburger and soft drink from the concession stand, and I walked over to the bleacher area to sit down. As I slid across the wooden bench in the bleacher area, I realized how old and splintery this particular row of the bleachers was. In other words, my rear end was full of little wooden splinters. At first, they were sore, but after a while I forgot they were there; until I sat down in my car and drove home.

That’s when I knew, ‘I’ve got to get these things out.’

On Friday morning, I drove to Whitwell, for the final time as a single man. On Saturday, May 19, I would marry my best friend, and the most beautiful woman I ever saw. Shelia Morrison was waiting for me when I pulled into her driveway. I very gingerly got out of my 1962 Chevrolet Bel-Air, and when she asked me why I was walking funny, I told her, “My butt is full of splinters.”

By the time I got there, they had begun to get infected, and with our wedding the next day, we were all set to drive to Daytona Beach, Fla., for our honeymoon. I had to get those splinters out, right now. As I walked into the house and told my future mother-in-law, Louise Morrison what had happened, she said, "Drop your drawers and bend over the washing machine. Shelia, go get my tweezers.”

Now, the way things had started in our relationship was not good at all. The first three times I went to Whitwell to visit Shelia, Mrs. Morrison said all of three words to me. “I’m Shelia’s Mother.” She did not like me and had no intention of allowing her daughter to date a “long haired, guitar-picker from Nashville.” Shelia’s father, Oscar Morrison was always friendly with me and he at least talked to me some. Louise, on the other hand, even tried to turn Shelia’s nephew Scotty against me. He told me, “You’re not taking my Aunt Shelia across Monteagle Mountain.”

Needless to say we worked things out. She came to accept me and as I was bending over the washing machine in her kitchen, with my drawers down below my knees, I realized just what a vulnerable position I was in. The game of baseball had allowed me to bond with my mother-in-law, in the strangest way possible.

The last words Louise Morrison ever said to me were, “I couldn’t have loved you more, if you had been my very own.” That was the day she died in April of 2004. I have never forgotten those words, nor have I forgotten the time she plucked the splinters from my butt, the day before my marriage to her daughter. 

Happy 40th anniversary to my wife Shelia. It hasn’t been perfect, but it sure has been a lot of fun. I love you!

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).


Five Area Players Voted To TSWA All-State Soccer Teams

Five Chattanooga-area soccer players have been voted to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association all-state soccer team. Making the team were Notre Dame's Michael Quatrano and James Teal, McCallie's  Drew Viscomi and Jonah Bryan and Baylor's Jackson Campbell. THE TEAMS Soccer   Class AAA GK: Tyler Delgado, Independence GK: A.J. Robbins, Dobyns-Bennett ... (click for more)

Flenniken Wins Ira Templeton Chattanooga Classic

The heat didn’t faze Casey Flenniken who won the 2016 Ira Templeton Chattanooga Classic by 1 stroke over Marshall Talkington and 2015 Champion Nick Garretson. Flenniken had a two-day total of 6-under-par 134 at Creeks Bend Golf Club in Hixson, TN. On the opening day Flenniken caught fire. He had five birdies and no bogey’s to shoot 65. On the second day Flenniken had to ... (click for more)

County Commission Gives Up Fight On $900,000 In Discretionary Funds

County Commission members have given up the fight for the annual $900,000 in discretionary funds. Commission Chairman Chester Bankston said there was not enough money available after requests from a number of agencies and departments were cut to balance the budget without a tax increase. Commissioner Sabrena Smedley said the fact that commissioners can no longer allot the ... (click for more)

Bridge Repair Over 12th Street To Cause Temporary Lane Closure On US 27

While investigating a pothole in the existing bridge on U.S. 27 North over 12 th Street in the construction zone, crews discovered a potential weak spot in the bridge deck that could over time result in more damage to the bridge deck.  For the safety of the traveling public, the outside lane in this area will be closed until the contractor makes necessary repairs, TDOT ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (2)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What You Leave Behind

Randy Travis, one of the best at singing country songs that has ever been, had a song about three people who got killed when an 18-wheeler missed a stop sign. There was a farmer and a teacher, a hooker and a preacher on this bus and Randy tells us: “One's headed for vacation, one for higher education, An' two of them were searchin' for lost souls.” In that wonderful song, the ... (click for more)