This is an opinion column.

Sometimes, I tell folks we have two bosses in our home — Malarie and Maggie Jo.

Maggie Jo, the baby of the family and our mini-boss, turned 3 on Nov. 23. I’ve been told that Maggie Jo has me wrapped around her little finger, and it’s an accurate statement. She’s a daddy’s girl and I’m trying to enjoy every moment, because when she’s 13, she probably won’t have the same high opinion of me.

Recently, Maggie Jo said to me, “You’re the best daddy ever!” And, she said to Malarie, “You’re the best mommy ever!” Her sweet words melted our hearts.

Other family members joined us as we celebrated Maggie Jo’s birthday with a party in our home Nov. 20. All she asked for was blue cupcakes and CoComelon toys. By her next birthday, I’m certain her wish list will grow.

One of Maggie Jo’s favorite foods is pancakes, so Malarie prepared breakfast for her birthday meal. My beautiful bride referred to it as a “pancake party.” She even created a huge pancake, complete with sprinkles and three candles on top, for her cake.

Maggie Jo enjoyed opening her presents with her brothers, James and Brady, and her cousins Heidi Hedricks, Ivy Haven and Braxton Haven. Heidi is a kindergarten student, and Maggie Jo asked me this week when could Heidi come back and play again.

Happy birthday to you again, my sweet Maggie Jo. I love you!


Iron Bowl memories

You’re welcome to disagree with me, but there’s not many emotional roller coasters like the Iron Bowl. The annual battle between Alabama and Auburn can feature wild momentum swings, sometimes from one play to the next.

Anytime the game’s at Auburn (like this year), there seems to be a crazy play (or two) that goes the Tigers’ way while the Crimson Tide makes a few boneheaded plays or coaching decisions.

Players on both sides have punched their tickets to legendary status due to their performances in the Iron Bowl. I wonder who it will be today? I hope it’s somebody wearing a Crimson helmet.

I was blessed to be able to attend every Iron Bowl from 1979-2016. Forty years ago, I witnessed history occur when Alabama defeated Auburn 28-17 to give Paul “Bear” Bryant his 315th career victory.

The 1981 Iron Bowl win made Coach Bryant the winningest coach in college football history. Nobody knew then he would only coach one more season before retiring. Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno later surpassed Coach Bryant on the career wins list.

Whatever the outcome is of the 2021 Iron Bowl, just remember to be kind. The winning fans don’t have to remind the losing fans who won.    


Shannon J. Allen is publisher for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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