Thanksgiving Memories Filled (Mostly) With Football
My Thanksgiving memories seem to all correlate with football for some reason.
November 28, 1991 was not one of those mild, calm Thanksgiving Days that happen on rare occasions in the Chicago area.
No, that was one of the wicked, freezing, snowing, when-did-January-get-here kind of Thanksgiving Days. And as a 15-year-old growing up in the north suburbs of Chicago, Mundelein to be exact, all I could care about was the fact that the Bears were playing Detroit on national television that day.
As the final preparations for the Thanksgiving feast are being handled that morning, let's face it; I'm not much help. The Bears and Lions are in a rare playoff battle. In fact, the Lions won the division at 12-4 that year, with the 11-5 Bears taking a wild card spot in what turned out to be Mike Ditka's final playoff appearance as Bears head coach.
The annoyance level of my family with my obsession was probably evident to everybody but myself; I was wrapped up in a Bears cocoon, oblivious to the world. Not helping matters was the fact that it was my first season of fantasy football, a vice that haunts me to this very day, which added even more intrigue to the game for me.
Of course the game was in a dome, the now vacant Pontiac Silverdome, which is available to sublet if you're looking for a unique place to move in the Detroit area. But with the weather here that day, the dome would have probably flown off the stadium. With snow falling, visions of getting out and playing football with my buddies was next on my agenda after the Bears game. It certainly wasn't commiserating with family, that's for sure.
There was nothing better than playing football in the snow at that age. Snow falling didn't even require a phone call down the street to friends. We all just kind of showed up outside and played. No texting required.
But that's a few hours off. Kickoff comes outside Detroit and my dad and I are excitedly watching the game. Food preparation in the other room may as well have been on another planet. We're not paying attention.
Then suddenly, like a cruel twist of fate, darkness. Complete darkness. The fine folks at ComEd had let us down. The power is out.
Alternating screams of what to do about the still unfinished feast from the kitchen and dad and I yelling while staring at a blank television screen filled the house with holiday joy.
So my father and I did what any self-respecting football fan in the pre-internet and smart phone days would have done. We ditched everybody and piled into his pickup truck to listen to the game. With the heat on, of course.
Eventually, the power came back on. Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch. The same couldn't be said for the Bears, however. The Lions' 16-6 win essentially clinched the division. Heck, it may be one of the biggest wins in their franchise history, come to think of it.
With Thanksgiving upon us again today, there will always be the joy of family and feast to look forward to. But it sure seems like all of my best Thanksgiving memories came with a hearty helping of football, as well. Not to mention VHS recordings of Home Alone and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. After the games were over, of course.
So enjoy this special holiday with the ones you love today. And know that when your crazy uncle from Albuquerque won't leave you alone, there's always a television in the other room with a football game on to save the day.