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Harris Blackwood: If you have to lose a bet, at least make sure it’s tasty
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

Friendly wagers can be a lot of fun, whether you win or not.

Earlier this year, I bet my counterpart in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that the Atlanta Falcons would defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

If we won, a gallon of the best New England clam chowder would be coming our way. If they won, a bushel of Georgia’s finest peaches would be shipped directly to Boston.

The caveat was that the loser had to sing the other’s state song at the national meeting of the Governor’s Highway Safety Association in Louisville, Ky.

For most of the Super Bowl, I had visions of chowder dancing in my head to the tune of “Georgia On My Mind.”

Then came the fourth quarter.

A few weeks ago, some really fine peaches from Jaemor Farms were delivered to New England. Last week, I sang the lovely (wink, wink) “All Hail to Massachusetts.” It’s not a bad song; they just tried to write the entire history of the commonwealth into one composition.

“For Lexington and Concord and the shot heard round the world, All Hail to Massachusetts, we’ll keep her flag unfurled.”

It is not the words of Hoagy Carmichael as immortalized by Ray Charles.

My colleagues from around the country gave me a thunderous ovation. I don’t know if that was because they liked it or were glad that it was over.

The peaches were a big hit. Staff members from the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division gushed when they talked about the fresh peaches from the foothills of Georgia.

“They were soooo good,” I heard over and over again. I’m glad I had the opportunity to share a delicious taste of the fruit that is widely identified with our state.

Later in the week, I had a bit of good news, perhaps a chance to avenge my loss.

The University of Georgia announced its 2018 football schedule. On Nov. 17, 2018, the Minutemen of the University of Massachusetts will enter the confines of Sanford Stadium for a game with the Bulldogs.

Nothing is a sure thing, but this has promise. Right now, UMass is 0-4. On Saturday, they were in Knoxville taking on Tennessee. Because of publishing deadlines, I don’t know the outcome, but I feel pretty confident in guessing that the Volunteers won. I know a bunch of Tennessee fans and that state doesn’t have enough space in the coronary care units to care for all the heart events that would result from a UMass win.

Jeff Larason, director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Office, winced when I offered up a rematch, this time at the college level.

“Football may not be their best sport,” he said diplomatically. I smiled back with a chowder-loving grin.

Well, it looks like if I want New England clam chowder, I better buy a ticket to Boston.

Next year, our conference will be held in Atlanta. I won’t let the whole crowd leave without a taste of Georgia’s peaches, peanuts and poultry.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear Sunday; email,

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