Thursday, October 3, 2013

Game Day

The children are at school. Husband is on call. The lawn service is blowing off the driveway. The dining room table is a mess of genealogical stuff. The kitchen has a sink full of dirty dishes-- and yet, I wonder where they come from as I have not cooked in three days. I'm perusing fabric for the sofa that needs to be recovered. Music plays.

I have sat at my computer and typed, erased, and typed again about returning to my alma mater up the two lane highway last weekend with Brother. We went to The Biggest Game of the year and sat in his lovely club level seats while we cheered on the Dawgs. We wore our red. We ate fried chicken and boiled peanuts. We enjoyed the luscious day. It was, by far, the most memorable game.

More memorable than playing LSU back in 2004 and getting the ball to the one yard line directly in front of our seats.
More memorable than the SEC championship in New Orleans.
More memorable than when the students tore down the goal posts and ripped up the hedges within our sanctuary.

Saturday was a bucket of little things that added up to something amazing. Brother and Wife were at the game, as if we were twelve years younger with the world waiting for us at the bay of graduation. We headed up the highway, in and out of small towns, and parked in his usual parking lot, amongst his usual friends.

Wanting to take our time and not exacerbate Brother's situation (read: we didn't want him to have a seizure), he and I left to toddle towards the stadium about thirty minutes before kickoff. I used the excuse that I have never seen kick-off. Truthfully, I never have. Did you know that we sing our alma mater before the game? I didn't. Lesson learned. Amongst the sea of red clad fans carrying beers and flasks, we slowly made our way through the gates and felt that rush of sun and youth as we crossed into this place of worship, change, and life. The stadium where Brother graduated, where the Dawgs play, where we move forward, and mascots buried -- we were within her hallowed gates ready to cheer.

Turning left, we ask an usher where the elevator is and he said, "See those 1,543 stairs? Yeah, climb those bad boys and there's an elevator to take you the last 14 steps where you will land at club level." Actually, he didn't say that. But, that's what he should have said. We looked at those steps as Mount Everest and hope for a better answer. We walk through the tunnel and into the sunlight, hoping that there has to be another way. We stop two cops and ask where the elevator is.

"Hi. My brother had a stroke last year and we need to get to the club level. Where's the nearest elevator?"

The cops point across the Sahara Desert and a million miles to the other side of the stadium. That's where the elevator was. Ouch. No where on this side without climbing those 2,433 steps. We slowly start to work. The Red Sea parted (literally) and we slowly chugged along as the band started playing. Brother turned around and said, "You know, with the band playing- it really makes this walk nice." A breeze picked up and I said a Thank You to the Guy in the Sky, both for the breeze and to be here in this moment.

Getting to the other side, we ask another guard, "Where's the nearest elevator? My brother had a stroke and we need to get to club level."

Here's where it gets interesting.

A set of directions, a wave behind the gate and we were.... in no man's land.

Slowly, we start walking in the direction we were told to find the elevator. We pass patrol cars and massive piles of dirt, not to mention everyone had badges that we did not. I look over to my right and 20 yards away was Willie!

"Brother! Look! There's um... umm..... Duck Dynasty! Duck Dynasty! That guy! Oh... Come on! WILLIE! There's Willie!

"Shhh.... Wife, we aren't even supposed to be here."

Willie turns around-- because my whispering reverberated off the walls and not because I have no idea how to whisper. He waves. We, like pale 65 year old tourists in black knee high socks and flip flops wave back.

After a trip to the cleanest bathroom I have ever seen at a college football game, passing by the locker rooms, we find the elevator and head up. We dismount and head out a second gate-- to run into Vince Dooley.

"Brother! There's Dooley!" (this time I didn't need to whisper, it was crowded)

People were shaking his hand and congratulating him as he walked by, and directly into the men's room.

Seems he has to go just like everyone else.

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