25 Years Ago

My dad would’ve turned 73 today. This is the fifth birthday we haven’t celebrated, and I’m still waiting for that not to suck. I expect that day will never come.

I’ve been combating my sadness this week by focusing on good memories, one of which has been top of mind, given that the Super Bowl is tomorrow. This year just happens to be the 25th anniversary of when Dad and his best friend Bud went to California to see the Super Bowl, which was one of the happiest moments of his life.

I told the story of the trip four years ago, when the Giants played in – and won! – the first Super Bowl after Dad died:

In 1987, the Giants made it to the Super Bowl, and their first chance at a national title since the 1950s, when my dad was a teenager. A true fan, as in fanatic , he jumped at the chance to go to Pasadena for the game when his lifelong best friend called and announced he’d gotten tickets. The story of Dad and Bud’s California adventure — and the related tale of the snowstorm that trapped them in St. Louis Kansas City on the way home — has become the stuff of family legend, and both the ticket and commemorative seat cushion had places honor in my parents’ upstairs bedroom. (No, I’m not kidding. My mom is an unusual woman to have let such things happen without a fuss.)

I think the Giants’ next Super Bowl, in 1991,* came too close on the heels of their first to justify another road trip, and by 2001, Dad’s MS had progressed to the point where that kind of travel just wasn’t an option, but his enthusiasm was undimmed. I’m sure it would be over-stating to say he never missed a game on tv, but he planned his weekend around the Giants in the same way he did around church; that is to say, pretty consistently.

When Dad died last March, we buried him in his Giants jacket.

What I didn’t realize then, and only just recently thought to ask about, is that there were pictures from that trip. My mom sent them to me last week – along with a newspaper article about their adventure – and I can think of no better way to celebrate my dad’s birthday than showing him at his happiest.

Dad at the Super Bowl. I swear he's having fun - he just didn't like having his picture taken.
Dad at the Super Bowl. I swear he's having fun - he just didn't like having his picture taken.
Bud at Super Bowl XXI, rocking his Giants trucker hat.
Bud at Super Bowl XXI, rocking his Giants trucker hat.
Super Bowl XXI, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
Super Bowl XXI, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA

I don’t pretend to have any faith in what the afterlife does or does not entail, but I like to think that Dad is in the heaven he believed in, one that I hope includes seats on the 50-yard line in Indianapolis, so he can cheer his Giants on to another championship.

Happy birthday, Daddy. I love and miss you always, and Let’s Go Giants!

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13 thoughts on “25 Years Ago

  1. Mom February 4, 2012 / 4:02 pm

    I am teary. This is a special tribute indeed to Our #1 Fan!! And in His Heaven, he also has his ticket to the game. I just found out recently that it got slipped into his jacket pocket. I love you, Sarah, and still love and miss Daddy too. LETS GO GIANTS !!

  2. Eileen February 4, 2012 / 4:21 pm

    Thanks sis. I’ve been thinking about him all day. I’m so grateful Jeff captured this story and so glad for small town newspapers willing to print it! What a treasure. I hope someday to collect a bunch of family favorites about day in a book for James so he feels like he knows the man behind his name. It’s unfathomable that it’s been five birthdays. 😦 but heartening to think that in heaven the Giants win every superbowl, the Yanks every pennant, and every horse is a win!!

  3. maryann February 4, 2012 / 5:14 pm

    Thank you Sarah dear one. Bud and I are sitting here remembering with tears and love.

    • Eileen February 4, 2012 / 5:29 pm

      Maryann, I’d love to hear Buds side of the tale!! That’s quite some look he was sporting back in the day – they both look so young! Miss you guys! Hugs

  4. Fran February 4, 2012 / 5:27 pm

    Warm Tasty and Clean alluded to a “special”. Knowing today’s birthday and the Giant love-affair, your words are perfect. Tears and smiles here, too. Hugging you all.

  5. Fran February 4, 2012 / 7:51 pm

    Just in from ABC: ticket price for tmw game $3800. His seat in his heaven: priceless.

  6. Mom February 4, 2012 / 8:11 pm

    BUD: wasn’t the seat 25 years ago $75 ?? And, we thought that was outrageous!

    I saw on TV today that SB “packages” are going for $11,000 per person. YIKES. You guys got your thrill at the right time. 🙂

  7. Common loon February 4, 2012 / 8:40 pm

    Perfect post for today! Sending each of you a HUGE hug, and raising a glass…

  8. Common loon February 4, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    Perfect post for today! Sending each of you a HUGE hug!!! How neat to learn about the ticket in his pocket – well done. Go Giants!

  9. maryann February 5, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    Bud says Yes the tickets were indeed $75 and the total cost of the package including air from NY to LA, 3 nights at the Hotel Hollywood, ticket, Super Sunday brunch, transportation to and from Pasadena was $1450 !!! Also, first thing he mentioned was that Jim wore a shirt with long sleeves 🙂 Many memories …yes, priceless.

  10. Shannon February 5, 2012 / 4:01 pm

    I never got tired of hearing that story, and I must have heard it at least a few times since we became BFFs. It’s a classic.

    This always makes me feel a tad guilty for being a Patriots fan and rooting against the Giants. Sorry Dad! I swear it was HIS fault that the Pats lost to the Giants the last time. Divine intervention indeed!

    He and I never saw eye to eye sports-wise but that made it all the more fun to come visit. 😉

  11. Maggie [The Freckled Citizen] February 6, 2012 / 11:24 pm

    This is just great.

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