Monday, September 17, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

In 1986 I started watching Sunday afternoon football. I was living out in Meadow Valley in the far backcountry region of Plumas County, California. Still grieving from my sister’s death two years earlier, separated from my kids, unemployed, broke and experiencing loneliness beyond anything I had ever felt before. My residence…such as it was…was a barn. A real one that still smelled of the previous equine tenants. My little portable TV was plugged into the one and only electrical outlet, its rabbit ears replete with tinfoil flags wobbling on top. The only channel I could get was CBS and so I watched football.

This worked out nicely in the overall scheme of things. It gave me a topic for conversations with my sons and at the same time provided me some entertainment and a chance to sit down and be still. I had been looking for an activity to ease my solitude and the local dime store featured some knitted items in the window. I scraped enough money together to buy some needles and yarn and I set out to make the first of what were to be many Football Season Afghans.

That summer I had left San Francisco for the promise of a job with access to the wilderness. The job didn’t work out, but the wilderness was there for the taking. I spent my days hiking with my new pup, Babe, and searching for solace and sanctuary. Sunday was our day to stay home and tend the home fires. The little black & white TV was our connection to the “real world.”

Not too long afterward, I was forced by approaching winter to head back down the mountain and look for work in Sacramento. But by then…I was hooked on football. Those were the glory years of the San Francisco Forty-Niners and they became the family team. In phone calls and letters my sons and I followed their victories and shared the triumph of picking a winning team. And the boys, and then many others, received the afghans I made on those Sunday afternoons.

This year, I am making a smaller blanket, a lollypop afghan for my little not-yet-born grand-daughter. The Forty-Niners are history, and it is hard for me now to know which player is on which team. The boys are grown and have busy lives. We don’t spend so many hours watching as back in the old days. But not too long ago, Andy said to me “Are you ready for some football?” I am.


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