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April 2014, vol 10, no 1

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Pat Tompkins

Orange Bowls

New Year’s eve and day are not my idea of holidays. Yet I have a fond memory from decades past. It was the one day of the year my father had to himself. He spent it watching college football games, back when the bowl championships were named for commodities such as cotton and sugar, not for corporations.

He played basketball, not football, in college. Teams he favored were based on places we’d lived. So if LSU or Iowa were playing, he’d follow those games with extra interest. He didn’t yell at the TV, didn’t bet, didn’t drink the day away. But he also didn’t do yard work or other chores then. He didn’t read papers brought home from the office.

The games meant little to me; I watched just to spend time with him. Maybe I’d be working on a new jigsaw puzzle or a paint-by-number picture, but we were in the same room. I’m glad he enjoyed that day, a small annual ritual. He deserved so many more of them.

searching cardboard shapes
for a bit of blue sky
missing pieces