We'd like to combine a little bit of All of This in today's post. Today, actually, is all about Grown Men & the College Gridiron. University of Wisconsin Football, to be precise. Today we pay homage to Candid Carrie, a hard-working Wisconsin Blogger who Bleeds Red & White.
Mr. Fairway, folks, is a Wisconsin Badger. He's quite a few years (decades?) out from his days in Madison, Wisconsin, but every Saturday, he's pretty much with the team--in spirit, if not in person. Ella Numera Una, pictured above with Her Dear Daddy on the day Bucky Badger last went to the Rose Bowl in 2000, wrote about Mr. Fairway and his passions as part of a high school assignment. We peg her at 13 in this foto (that's GG the Cat in the snap, struggling to get away from Mr. Fairway's screams, we reckon!), & 15 when she wrote the following essay. She's almost 22 now, & headed to law school in the fall. Ella Numera Una, but of course, hopes to Learn her Lawyering at the University of Wisconsin.
Life has a funny way of Coming Full Circle, don't it? Here ya go, Carrie. Enjoy! We're playing along with Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta. You should stop by. As they say Up Nort, It's a Keeper!
My Dad, By Ella Numera Una
Screams come from the basement: “Sack that moron! Just sack him!” A few loud thuds follow. I run down the stairs to see what the commotion is all about. As I skid across the blue carpet, I see my father sitting on the raggedy, rust-orange couch with his head down, massaging his temples. I sigh and glance over at the television, where I discover the problem.
The University of Wisconsin Badgers, my Dad’s alma mater, are losing, and their defense is not doing its job. The players come back out on the field and my dad is in the ready position: sitting on the edge of the couch, hands folded, his knee bouncing. His hazel eyes look like they are going to pop out of his head and his graying black hair seems to stand on end. I know that as soon as the ball is snapped he will be up screaming and stomping. After all, it’s a ritual.
Although my dad graduated from Wisconsin more than 30 years ago, he is still a loyal fan. Every Saturday, from September through January, he parks in front of the television, urging the Badgers on. During each and every televised game, he wears one of his many red and white Wisconsin T-shirts complete with a Bucky Badger sweatshirt and a baseball cap from his collection. If he has a prior commitment on a Saturday, he will tape the game and watch it when he gets home. We have a shelf of dusty videotapes in the basement with yellowed labels, which read, “Wisconsin Football.” During the football season, my dad always buys extra sports channels from the cable company because it is a known fact that a Wisconsin game is never on the same channel two weeks in a row.
Football has been one of his passions since he was a boy. My dad grew up in a small town in Northern Wisconsin, where there wasn’t much to do. The highlight of the week was the local high school’s football game. It was the same story in college. My dad and his friends sat for hours on ice-cold bleachers in mid-November cheering until they lost their voices. He’s tried to continue the tradition with my sister and me, and hasn’t been very successful. We once ended up in the blazing heat in New Jersey. Wisconsin played Syracuse and lost badly; my Dad screamed until he got red in the face and I cheered unenthusiastically. My mom and sister didn’t even bother: They went into the shade and occupied themselves with several games of UNO.
Dad’s other passion is golf. He’s played all the local courses, at least three times if not more. On sunny days, on rainy days, even on snowy days, he can almost always be found at the local country club hitting balls, working on his putting or playing nine holes. Some would call him “psycho”; I prefer the words “intense” and “dedicated.”
My Dad may seem intense. He may even seem intimidating, especially during football games. He has a tough outer shell. When he’s not happy, his lips curl under and purse together like he is sucking on lemons. And when he is irate, he looks like he is going to kill somebody. His face gets very dark, his eyes narrow and he breathes heavily.
In contrast, my Dad has a warm heart; he’s a softy. We like to call him “Mr. Mom.” Every morning when I wake up, I go downstairs to eat breakfast. Most of the time, my orange juice is poured, my cereal is in its bowl, and my Dad is over at the kitchen counter. He stands there in his green, flannel pajama pants and T-shirt, half-asleep, spreading peanut butter on pieces of bread and putting a juice box into a brown paper bag. On my way out of the house, I put my lunch into my backpack, and when I eat the gooey peanut butter sandwich at school I know my Dad made it with love.
Most girls go shopping with their moms. Well, sometimes my Mom takes my sister and me shopping, but she’s not really the shopping type. Usually, my Dad takes us on our shopping trips. He can tolerate the crowds, and not to mention, he has impeccable taste. He’ll wait in front of crowded dressing rooms for hours, sitting and sighing, while we parade around in our new outfits. He makes faces at the clothes he doesn’t like: “It’s too frilly or too girly,” and the clothes he does like, he adds to the collection of jeans, shirts and hangers dangling from his arms.
My Dad not only loves us, but he loves small animals. He won’t admit it, he may say he’s “allergic,” but he loves cats. They’ve grown on him. When he first married my Mom, he detested living with a cat. He would always peer into the microwave, pretending to see if Mama Cat would be able to fit in the small space. And at night, he would pick her up, stroke her black hair and ask; “Does Mama Cat want to sleep on the Interstate tonight?” When Mama Cat died six years ago, I was really upset. I cried and cried. My Dad sat with me while I cried and consoled me. He talked about what a good companion Mama Cat was and how much everyone loved her, including himself. We sat on the blue couch in the living room, which was covered in black hair, and he put his arm around me and squeezed me tight. I felt protected, loved and a whole lot better.
My Dad probably wishes he had at least one son. Someone he could watch football with; maybe a golf partner. But he’s stuck: He has a lovely, understanding wife, a 12-year-old daughter, and me. He’s very lucky and he knows it. Although I refuse to play golf, I sometimes like to sit on the raggedy, rust-orange couch next to my father and laugh at him while he yells at the T.V.