Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Halloween Weekend Full of Treats!

Our friends Mike and Cheryl Ift decided to spend the weekend with us in the motorhome, traveling to Charleston, IL for the Murray St. at EIU football game.

Ken played chauffeur for us as Mike, Cheryl and I started a little pre-tailgating. For Cheryl and I it was bloody mary’s while Mike only had 3 beers…actually I came to realize that Mike didn’t know how to count beyond ‘3 beers’!! ;-)

Ken had spent Thursday cooking so we could invite the D-Line over for his famous ‘Better Than Olive Garden’ Sausage and Potato Soup, Sloppy Joes and Nachos.

The guys enjoyed time together around the campfire. They need to keep things pretty low-key the night before a game and since it was Halloween the campground made that a lot easier than being in the middle of the campus with all the partying.

We had a really big surprise when Donald Thomas, one of our ‘adopted sons’, who graduated last year, dropped by the motorhome. It was so cool so see how happy the players were to get to see him again. These guys are such a family unit.

Cheryl and Mike slept on the sofa bed. This had Sox and Ditka all confused. We suggested we’d keep them shut in our bedroom but Cheryl loves the dogs so much she didn’t want that. Mike, however, was not so sure the dogs being with them was such a great idea when Sox decided to share his pillow with him!

Cheryl is always one to be on the move so she and Cindy took the dogs out for a run Saturday morning.

Ken cooked his ‘big breakfast’ with sausage, eggs, fried potatoes, toast and juice.

We made sure that Mike and Cheryl had appropriate EIU tailgate attire.

All that and we still had the RV packed up and on the road by 9am. We dropped by WalMart for ice, and a few last minute tailgate additions, including replenishing Mike’s ‘3 beers’.

Mike, Cindy and Cheryl along with the Kesler and Reeder families.
We were set up in the Panther parking lot with food warming, snacks out, and dogs staked out at front and back of the RV.

Mike Ift and Cindy decked out for tailgating, drinks in hand.
Time to kick back and let the tailgating begin. Saturdays was Sailor Jerry and Coke for Ken, Cheryl and me. Mike had ‘3 beers’.

The band adding to atmosphere marching amidst the tailgaters
The EIU band adds to the atmosphere, kicking it up in the tailgate park park pre-game

We knew that Trevor was still not cleared to play. Doc dropped by the RV pre-game to let us know that it looked like Trevor was going to get some limited playing time despite his MCL still appearing ‘loose’. Doc felt it was really too soon but Trevor and the trainers outnumbered him since they all felt the leg brace he was wearing would keep him from further injury. It is really hard to keep Trev off the field if he thinks there’s anyway he can play.
Before the game they introduced players from past decades.

Here’s Donald Thomas, second from left, with current decade players. See Donald, we really do blog and now you are on it too!!!

It was amazing to see guys that went all the way back to playing in the 1940’s.

The man who sat next to me had been place kicker, class of 1952. He said that most of the players then were WWII veterans newly home from war, mostly married and attending college on the GI bill. There were so many students like them that they had temporary trailer city set up for these families on campus. He told me war vets make some damn tough football players!!

Speaking of da%n tough players, here’s our guy back in action after his longest time away from the game due to injury since he started playing football…missing 5 games. He was so glad to be back and said his leg was not a problem at all. Of course, he hates having to wear a brace on his leg now in the games but I’m sure glad it is there.

Since his playing time was limited to test out how his leg was reacting, he spent time off the field on the cycle to be sure he was keeping his leg loose.

We took a halftime break back at the RV and then after the game, with a strong EIU win over Murray St., we were back for more post-game tailgating waiting for the boys to shower and come out to join us.

There’s always so much great food to share that we were pretty well stuffed before the game started. Kickel’s had some awesome Italian sausage done in a pepper, onion and tomato sauce. Robinson’s were around with deer sausage sticks and of course Ken made sure everyone got a helping of his sausage soup which was a real hit. To top that every player comes out of the locker room with a large Domino’s pizza of his own as a post-game feeding.

It was only later that we compared notes and found out that all our neighboring tailgaters had made sure that Sox and Ditka got plenty of tailgating munchies as well. More on that later…

After the players sat around with us for awhile, they headed out for their Saturday night postgame victory partying.

We got the RV back to Fox Ridge just before dark. Cheryl and I took the dogs for a walk. Then, as a group, we decided we preferred dinner back in town at Lincoln Garden rather than cooking at the campsite. It was probably a very good idea since we were all so tired at dinner we couldn’t stop the traveling yawns.

Cheryl and I had wine along for Saturday night around the campfire but by the time we got back to the site, we could hardly keep our eyes open.

Guess we four 50+ tailgaters found out we don’t have the stamina we did…we started watching the Texas vs Texas Tech game on TV and all ended up sacked out shortly after 9pm!

Since this was the weekend of the time change we got an extra hour to sleep. That was lucky for Ken and I. Remember the dogs and the tailgate food. Well, Ken and I didn’t know that night just how much people had been feeding the dogs so we had no idea why Sox had decided to be such an absolute pain. Up until almost 3 am, I don’t think she laid in one place on the bed for more than 5 minutes and she was constantly in our face. It then became apparent when she went to the corner of the bedroom and threw up all the garbage she’d been fed all day. After that she and we slept fine. Lesson learned: keep the dogs closer under foot at the tailgate so we know what ‘treats’ they are getting.

Sunday morning Cheryl took Ditka for a run while I trailed somewhat keeping the recuperating Sox and a walk.

We met Trevor back at Lincoln Garden for breakfast, said our good-byes and then were on our way back to Q-town.

Apparently Cheryl and I were partied out by this time, since Mike got these shots of how the two of us spent most of the 4 hour drive home.

Next week, it’s Kyle’s ‘swearing in’ as an Illinois Attorney and then off to Nashville for the Tennessee State game in the Tennessee Titans stadium…stay tuned!

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Jenny Johnson said...

Even though I am From TN and root for them you know I will be on the opposite side this weekend---cheering hard for EIU---have a great trip --if you get thru the area of east tn around bristol - johnson city that is where i am from. Still awaiting my autographed picture of my favorite player or better yet the whole team!! Have a great trip!!
Jenny J