I love everything about the start of Fall and this weekend. Those of you who know me, know I live and breathe college football (well, Clemson Football) and that it’s finally here is so exciting! Weekends will now be filled with delicious foods and hours of games. The temperatures will start to cool, leaves will start falling and the most wonderful holidays will start appearing on our calendars.
This week feels like a holiday and celebration. My husband and I spend more time planning our menu for Saturday’s festivities (and Sunday’s leftovers) than we will planning a spread for a Christmas Party! People have texted and called me all week that I never hear from just to “check in” and ask “are you ready?” and file through all the opinions and prognostications that fill this last week. How fun it is while we are all still undefeated to do a little trash talking and have all the hope that this will be “the” year.
But those who know me also know this is my hardest day…
My Dad was the biggest Clemson fan I will ever know. Even through the disappointing Hatfield and Bowden eras, his loyalty was steadfast (although he never minded penning a strongly worded email or letter to let the AD know he was terribly discouraged). It only took one year at Clemson before joining the Navy to turn his blood orange and that love and passion was passed right along to his wife, daughters and now our families. He loved Clemson, the University, traditions, the rivalries, the fans and friendships. It was a strong and constant part of who he was and his very essence embodied all the things that Clemson stands for – Loud and Proud!!!!
Harder than Christmas, my birthday or his, or the anniversary of his death. I miss my Dad. I miss his voice full of vigor telling me his opinions (well, he called them facts). I miss him laughing as he told me they were my Gamecocks, my Fighting Irish or my Longhorns (all teams we despise by the way). I miss him calling me to make sure I heard that most recent bit of news or saw the latest shift in the lines. I miss him calling me late (and I mean LATE) at night on Saturday, whispering loud enough that I know my Mom could still hear, to see if I was still watching and could I believe what just happened. I miss him being the only person in this world who I could be silent with after a tough loss and then only after the appropriate amount of time passed, rehash the entire game knowing if they had just listened to our fervent play calling through the TV, things would have ended so differently. I miss being able to ask someone if they remember who, when or what game and knowing that someone will be able to tell me all those little facts that have slipped away – I still look up to the Fall sky and ask him questions and I swear sometimes he answers me.
Yeah, it’s a tough day.
I find great comfort knowing no matter where the Tigers are – Home or Away – he has the best seat in the house (with a super close parking space, fully decked out RV, amazing grill and satellite TV – it is Heaven after all ). I love thinking of him making amazing food, high-fiving passersby, yelling “Go Tigers” as only he could, listening to the golden tones of Jim Phillips call the game. And welcoming friends with a hearty hug and overflowing plate.
I smile through the tears as I write this careful not to let my emotions get the best of me and this day – after all I have Reeves, my Madison and Barrett (on the way) who have a LOT to learn about these Saturday traditions and they are going to learn from the best!