The nurse that lives in my house (who I'm happy to be married to) wasn't real thrilled at my insistence that I attend the Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech game this past Saturday. I even pulled the "It's Daddy's birthday....if he was here he'd WANT me to be honoring his memory watching his Jackets play ball..." card on her. My bride's a smart cookie - she pulled out the "yes, but if your Mother was here she'd say that you've just gotten out of the hospital and you need to be at home resting" card. It was a stalemate. Finally, she said I could go if I promised that there would be no tailgating, no bourbon, no excess walking (had to take the golf cart from parking to stadium instead of enjoying my traditional pre-game stroll through campus.) At first I thought "no tailgating? No bourbon? What's the point?" But then I realized that the game is what's important and promised to abide by these conditions.
I started the day attending the men's prayer breakfast at the First Baptist Church of Buford. No, I haven't converted (relax John Wesley...I'm still a card-carrying Methodist.) I took it as an opportunity to spend quality time with the man who now plays the role of my father very well. I wasn't awake enough until after the second cup of coffee at that breakfast to remember that it was my biological father's birthday. I looked across the table at my father-in-law and knew that, were he able, Sam Freeman would shake Charles Fowler's hand and tell him how grateful he was for the job he's done taking care of me, teaching me and talking college ball with me....and then he'd step outside for a quick chew of Redman and start getting anxious about what time we were heading down to North Avenue. (You think I get to ballgames early? You never went with my father. For noon games it was sometimes just starting to get light out when we got downtown.)
So what had been a pretty crappy week took a really good turn that Saturday morning. I'd spent most of the week making everyone around me miserable because I was miserable. I'm a bad patient, I'll admit it. But any lingering symptoms disappeared sitting in the cold that night watching my boys embarrass the fourth ranked team in the country. When the clock said 00:00 I kissed my bride, I told my dad happy birthday and I thanked God that I'd gotten out of that hospital in time to see this. I wanted badly to call my father-in-law and tell him that my attendance at the prayer breakfast had surely brought about the divine intervention that my boys needed to pull this off...but we'd already heard that his beloved Auburn Tigers had gotten thumped by a bad Kentucky team..probably not the time for me to call gushing about my team.
I then wished I had one good belt of Kentucky's finest because it was really cold and I could've used some anti-freeze.