Earlier this evening, as I was elbow-deep in meat and a variety of secret ingredients (making hamburgers for Opening Day, of course), I was staring into the stainless steel bowl I was using to mix the ingredients, it occurred to me that I have attended more Brewers games with Mr. Benjamin Butz than I have with any other soul on this earth. My train of thought went like this:
-I'm mixing ingredients for my homemade hamburgers. Did I miss any ingredients from last year?
-Remember last year? I remember meeting up in the Target parking lot and doing a jumping hug with Brian (but I didn't know him at the time).
-Wow. Opening Day last year was lots of fun. What else did we do?
-I think we did keg stands.
-That sounds about right.
-I think we shotgunned bees.
-I didn't shotgun any beers, but Ben definitely did.
-Oh yeah, Ben was there last year too!
-I think I remember making homemade hamburgers at Ben's house a few years ago for a different tailgate.
-I think we used stainless steel bowls.
-I think that Ben mentioned that he inherited the stainless steel bowls. I remember him saying that he didn't recall buying them.
-Wait, I remember going with Kory to buy them. We needed something for mashed potatoes for Family Thanksgiving back in college. I think that was Junior year.
-Yeah, Junior year sounds about right. I remember the Wal-Mart trip. I think we wore the bowls on our heads.
-How did Ben end up with the bowls? I KNOW that Family Thanksgiving wasn't at his house.
-How did *I* end up with this bowl? It clearly came from Family Thanksgiving, and I have no recollection of how I inherited it.
Yes, I know, it all makes perfect sense now. I estimate that Ben was in my 9-pack last year. I know that he missed a game or two, and I know I missed one, so I went to at least 6 games with him. Plus I can think of at least 3 other tailgates/games that I went to with him with college friends. I know that I haven't been to that many games with any of the other participants in last year's 9-pack, so Mr. Butz unknowingly wins the award for being my Best Brewers Buddy. I think I'll give him a high five when he picks me up for tomorrow.
So at any rate, tomorrow is Opening Day. Or, it's at least the home opener. St. Paddy's Day got us ready for the outdoor drinking season, and Opening Day introduces us to the first tailgate of the year. Summer is upon us, whether or not the weather agrees with us (current predicted high tomorrow is a balmy 45 plus wind...).
Needless to say, I'm THRILLED. I picked up some hamburger and a block of Colby cheese from my parents' farm when I was home over a month ago, and have been waiting with baited breath to mix up the hamburgers with all of my secret ingredients and slice the cheese and listen to it sizzle on the grill in the parking lot.... it's gonna be GREAT.
Anyway, getting back to the *other* point of this post - remembering where one has come from. Mixing the hamburgers (and all of the consequential memories) made me smile from ear to ear. I really appreciate all of my friends and all of the wonderful memories they have given me over the years. Though I may not express it, I am thankful every day that I am able to have the memories that I described above, as well as all the other ones that came after it (ohhhhhh Family Thanksgiving..... thank goodness we were friends with Jill, who was in charge of the cafeteria at good 'ol Sandburg Halls...). Friends like mine are the stuff legends are made of. One day, one of these kids is going to write a memoir and we will all laugh until we cry... again.
And now, I'm off to bed. I must now lie awake for 3-4 hours, whet with anticipation for the amazingness that tomorrow beholds, not to mention the mountain of memories to be added into the fold. In the morning I will wake up, make myself a whiskey coffee, try to decide what to wear (Fielder or Hardy?), jump in Ben's car and head over to Miller Park with my hamburgers and sliced Colby and the taco dip I purchased today. And I will smile from ear to ear.