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An Unexpected Funeral Procession

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Bear Bryant. I knew that would make you silent. Bear Bryant - just invoking his name. Still a legend in Alabama - he coached the University of Alabama Crimson Tide for 25 years - six national championships - and became the flinty face of Alabama football. Paul Bryant - his parents didn't name him Bear - died in 1983 just a month after he coached his last game.

Marjorie Boykin, who was a student at the University of Alabama, Birmingham then, says that she ran home between classes to get a book one day when she noticed a motorcycle police behind her and people lining the freeway. They were holding signs and waving red-and-white pompoms, she told us. The signs said, we love you, Bear. That's when I realized I was leaving Bear Bryant's funeral procession.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: The hearse was right behind me. There were cars on either side, and I couldn't get into another lane. I just went with it and waved at folks until later, when the procession took an exit to the Elmwood Cemetery. Well, Coach Bryant always admired a player who could run their route.

(LAUGHTER) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.