An Unexpected Citadel Related Surprise

Pat Conroy atEach Labor Day weekend my daughter and I attend the AJC Decatur Book Festival. It is a wonderful event, the largest independent book festival in the country. We enjoy meeting the authors, browsing the booths, and the fun of just being there. We never know who we will see.

This year we decided to start our visit at the session at the First Baptist Church of Decatur. Pat Conroy was scheduled to speak. Chelle and I arrived early enough to sit toward the front of the sanctuary. As we were deciding where to sit a gentlemen stood up to call us over. He said, “You don’t know me, but I know your husband and I recognized you from the photos in his blog.” As it turns out this gentleman, Randy McDow and my husband knew each other from their time at Georgia Tech. Randy introduced us to his father and we joined them in their pew.

As we talked, Randy mentioned that his father, Thomas F. McDow, was mentioned in The Boo, a book by Pat Conroy, for walking 120 tours in the quickest time recorded at the school. A tour is a punishment which requires a cadet to walk with their rifle for 50 minutes back and forth across the barracks quad for each tour given. After the tours were walked Thomas had his shoes bronzed. He retained one shoe and gave the other to assistant commandant, Lt. Col.Thomas Nugent Courvoisie, also called The Boo. The story is documented on The Citadel’s Daniel Library website.

After telling us the story Thomas showed me a photo of the shoe and the plaque on the shoe. We also took photos together to show my husband. It was the perfect visit to start off our experience at the book festival, especially since we were there to hear Pat Conroy, the well known author and a graduate of The Citadel. You just never know when you’ll meet a legend.

Thomas McDow and the bronze boot
Thomas F McDow holds up the photo of his “bronzed boot.” L-R Chelle Leary, Dorie Griggs, Thomas F. McDow. photo by Randy McDow
The plaque
The plaque under the “bronze boot”
Dorie and the McDow's
L-R Dorie Griggs, Thomas F. McDow, Randy McDow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.