Former Senior Staff Writer
The first crisp Sunday morning of fall brings memories of long ago when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rarely lost, and my cousin Tim and I relished in their victories. A simple time measured in the success of Notre Dame rather than our personal plight.
When times were hard but our family bonded tight.
Our Sunday mornings were filled the savory smells of frying eggs, grandma’s gravy simmering over on the stove. The call of her homemade biscuits baking would awake us from our sleep. Your stomach would begin to growl as the aroma drifted through the house.
Our grandparents did their best to help their two struggling daughters with seven children between them. My grandfather, who survived marching across
France with Patton’s Third Army (a matter he rarely spoke of) would offer up thanks for God’s blessings. It was rare that a morsel was left on the table. It was a time of a lot of talk around the table, and no one needed to be encouraged to eat.
Following the breakfast, my grandparents were off to church. My grandfather was the pastor of a small country church. Dishes were done, and my cousin Tim and I settled in for the replay of Saturday’s Notre Dame football game. The telecasts would begin with Lindsey Nelson introducing himself “Hello, I am Lindsey Nelson.” To us he seemed like an uncle that was about to retell us of the game from the previous day. Unlike now, it was a time when we could only get three channels, and on a good day we could get Channel Six out of
We would rush outside no matter the weather and begin to let our imaginations run wild with Notre Dame football. We had a well-worn football that was almost too slick to handle with our small hands from years of usage. We would toss the football all afternoon reliving the highlights of the game.
It was also the glorious time to follow the Notre Dame Fighting Irish under Ara Parseghian known as the “era of Ara.” In our minds, they never lost. On that rare occasion that Notre Dame would lose, we would run our plays that saved the game for the old Notre Dame. Occasionally, we would allow our brothers to participate, but not often. It was our imagination, our world. We were fans despite a high school kid telling us we couldn’t root for Notre Dame because we were not Catholic. It didn’t stop us.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish football on those Sunday mornings was fuel for our imagination. No video games, computers or other gadgets kids enjoy today; just two boys, a football, and a free Sunday in football season.
We have gone our different paths in life. I enlisted in the Air Force, and my cousin Tim joined the Marines. I am quiet and reflective, and Tim is boisterous and quick to opinion. We were and are more than cousins: We are brothers. As I grow older, I fondly reflect on those simpler times and pleasures more and more often.