Birthdays, even at my age can have their choice rewards. Penniless and poor I still dreamed of giving my kid the world. Having been raised on the joys and sorrows of rooting for the Wisconsin Badgers, one of my first wishes on moving back to Wisconsin was to share this history with my daughter. Rick was a lost cause where football was concerned. It's an acquired taste and football to him was like sweetbreads to me. On my birthday my sisters came through with two tickets to the Wisnosin - Wofford football game in Camp Randall Stadium.
Saturday morning Emmy and I rose, ate a hasty breakfast and tore through our still unpacked suitcases looking for whatever article of red clothing we could find. She fared far better than me. She came up with a red PaineWeber t-shirt. All I could find was a heavy canvas, long-sleeve, LL Bean shirt in a faded brick color. The forecast was for mid-seventies and lots of sun. I was already over-heating. We dressed as best we could and then headed out, my sister, Ebby, picked us up and dropped us off on the Capitol Square. Madison's illustrious Saturday Farmer's Market was in full swing as we snaked our way through crowds of health conscious, fit, fresh flowers in hand consumers buying organic heirloom tomatoes, fall rhubarb and anything made from cheese. The weaving was slow but we finally pushed our way through to State Street, the street connecting the politics of the capital to the academic halls of the university. About halfway down State Street, the pedestrians began to change from Birkenstockers with carrot smoothies in hand, to students clad in various red and white costumes exposing a much young skin as possible hefting plastic beer mugs at ten in the morning. The day was going to be hot.
The game was great. Wisconsin won big time. Emmy jumped around. We did the wave in regular, slow-mo and mock speed. We laughed. We bonded over the Wisconsin tradition. Good things can still happen in bad times.