Monday, September 14, 2009

A Quick Trip Down a Familiar Route

The great man is he who does not lose his child's-heart.
Mencius, Book IV

Beginning in the late 1980's, my kids and I spent four weeks every summer with my parents in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In mid-July I'd arrive with my entourage of three boys, to escape the Texas summer heat and enjoy a Midwestern summer.

Some days we'd pick raspberries, cherries and strawberries followed by my cooking up cases of jelly for the coming year. Sometimes we hung out at the local library for the movies and story times or drove to Door County to swim in Lake Michigan or Green Bay or attend a drive-in movie. But many mornings, we'd drive the few short miles to Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, to watch the summer training camp.

My young sons walked beside the giant players as they came off the practice field for the long walk to the stadium locker rooms. Local kids offered their bicycles to the players. Quite a site - a 250 pound behemoth of men riding tiny bicycles while a thrilled child ran beside carrying their helmet. (FYI - they still do this every summer.)

The players, famous and not so famous, walked among those children, signing autographs and accepting the good wishes of the loyal fans. My kids were right in there, gathering signatures from the likes of James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe, Reggie White and more.

One year, my middle son, then 5 years old, stomped his foot in frustration after Ty Detmer handed back his signed football.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"They all write in cursive," he said.

While others yelled out at the players "Sharpe, Favre, Schroeder!", my oldest son, a new master in the art of Southern manners, said "Excuse me, sir. May I get your autograph?" Many a player reached over the crowds to add his name to the collection on the Wheaties box he held up.

Much to my surprise, that boy became an ardent Dallas Cowboy fan. During the Cowboy summer practices we visited, the likes of Troy Aikman, Emmet Smith, and Deion Sanders didn't even proffer a glance at the young kids calling their names from the stands.

Knowing no opportunity presented itself before or after the practice for an autograph, he still adopted this team as his. Has remained loyal and, of course, predicts their victory in the Super Bowl this year.

(I have never really been certain if he truly loves the Cowboys or if it was just a way to separate him from his other brothers. Entirely possible.)

However, that oldest boy and I spent last week in Green Bay visiting my parents. We both took the opportunity to spend time with my folks before our work ventures take up our time here in Texas. He taunted his brothers that he would wear his Dallas Cowboy shirt if he visited Lambeau Field.

We did visit the stadium. I did take pictures, Please notice there is nothing Dallas Cowboy about the shirt he's wearing. I think in his heart, he's still a Packer fan more than he'd ever admit.

My last post did include pictures of Alaska. A trip my husband and I took last year for our 30th wedding anniverary. Hope you enjoyed the glacier.


  1. I dunno...kinda Dallas cowboyish somehow....:))

  2. I so enjoy visiting your world of boys and men! Something unfamiliar to me. Well, there is my husband .. does he count?

  3. What wonderful memories you have made with your sons.....precious.....:-) Hugs

  4. You're back! I missed you - you've been gone way too much lately! Here's my favorite part of this post: '"They all write in cursive," he said.'

    It's so great to have a place to visit, an old neighborhood or town, relatives, something with a past or a shared memory or person. Makes more memories for everyone concerned.

  5. Memory lane,isn't it grand,and to get to go down it with your son is even better.Which by the way is very good looking.Looks just like you,I know you are proud of him.

  6. Sounds like you and your sons have lots of wonderful summer memories. I can understand the need to leave the hot summers of the Southwest for milder climates. When we lived in AZ, the girls and I would travel back to RI for at least 3 weeks every summer. It was pure heaven for me.

  7. He is a fan of both teams. He has too many memories of his summer days to hang on to.

  8. Great memories with your sons. Sometimes I am so amazed how fast that time went - when they were young and life was so easy for them.

  9. Wonderful memories of very special times with your boys and parents. My children were raised in Maryland and twice a year we would make the pilgrimage to Louisiana to visit my family. Those were the days! Glad you're back. Cheers!

  10. Vacations with grandparents are always good for the kids.. Sounds like they have fun

  11. Ahhh, sweet memories of summer. The boys will cherish these Forever. No matter the team they root for, I think their favorite will always be the "Team Family".

  12. What great summer memories you've built with your boys. I love this story.

  13. The great man is he who does not lose his child's-heart.

    The perfect quote for your post!

  14. Nice slice of life. Your boys are lucky...

  15. What nice summer memories you made for your family in good old Wisconsin!

  16. I also got Matt Hasselbecks signature when he was a back up.

  17. How cute~~ I love the comment about 'they all write in cursive'. It is a lost art!
    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen, come back anytime.

  18. Lovely reminiscences...thank you! You gave your sons some great experiences and memories.


  19. This is a good glimpse into a subculture I know so little about (quite on purpose). I don't think my kids actually have ever heard of football--outside of "that's what they call soccer in the rest of the world."

    So, um, gooooooooo, Vikings?

  20. Nice story, I can picture the little kids and the giant players.


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