As a kid, I dreamed all year of our annual vacations, particularly about the flying part. Despite that my parents had taught me the world is an oblate spheroid, I liked to imagine various nations as two-dimensional planes that floated above and under one another, much like a 3D chess layout. The longer the plane was up in the air, the farther the plates from one another. No one has accused me of being unimaginative.
Now, flying is anathema to me. Recycled air, turbulence, heightened (often stupid) security, hauling luggage, delayed flights, no one to take care of my paperwork, carry me around and read me stories, you get the picture.
Unfortunately, a Packer fan who lives in New Orleans doesn’t get to stand in Lambeau Field and watch her team beat the Vikings 9-7 by not getting on a plane, or worse, a 20-hour car ride. Die, Vikings, die.
The light at the end of the airport tunnel, friends and D’s family showered me with Christmas gifts in the form of Packer paraphernalia. Let’s do a tally:
– A Packers nutcracker (Christmas nutcracker, that is)
– Green and yellow sweatshirt
– Packer voodoo doll (with tiny cheesehead)
– A thick, long-sleeved, dark-green GBP jersey
– A cheddar-yellow poncho with gigantic Packer G on front
– Sharon‘s limited-edition pink ABCD ball cap with Packer G
– Sharon’s limited-edition, all-stitched Reggie White jersey with NFL 75 patches and all lettering hand-sewn by the now-retired-from-the-Packers Mrs. Noel (D’s friend’s mom). All hail the Minister of Defense.
– a (token) Wisconsin Badgers hoodie
Now, I have everything but Packer sweatpants and winter coat. Hint, hint.
It feels almost sacrilegous to now own and wear Sharon’s most cherished football gear. The part of me that forgets she is physically no longer with us and talks about her using the present tense thinks, “Why do I have her stuff? Doesn’t she want it?” Then the knowledge sputters into my head that Sharon doesn’t need these things where she is, chatting with Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi over heavenly cheese curds and brandy old-fashioned sweets. We definitely can choose our friends. A peculiar world, isn’t it?
As my closet turns green and gold, I wish the Saints and their fans only the best. Finally, you know what it’s like to root for a winner. As for me, I get a team to heartily cheer on in January while preparing for Mardi Gras – what’s better than that? Besides, if the Packers don’t make it to the playoffs, better draft picks for us.
Also this: Bacon. It’s what’s for dinner. Go Bucky!