Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. The holiday season seemed to fly by this year, maybe because I spent part of it in Baltimore house-hunting. Maybe because I’ve kept myself busy checking items off my Show-Me List. Or maybe because each year seems to go by faster than the last, seems so unfair at the moment when I’m trying to slow down the time before I move.
I started the holidays by finally attending the one thing every resident of Kirkwood should experience at least once – The Kirkwood v. Webster Groves Turkey Day Football Game, at home on Kirkwood High’s Lyons Memorial Field. The oldest football rivalry west of the Mississippi, this was the 106th game between the neighboring high schools.
It was a glorious fall day, cool enough for hats and gloves but sunny. This game always attracts a large crowd, so big, in fact, I wondered who’s home cooking the turkey.
One of the things I loved about the game were all the alumni who attended. The most recent grads to the not so recent grads. It’s a homecoming, a reunion and a classic football match up all in one.
I watched my son, one of the most recent KHS alumni, reconnect with his friends and classmates after a semester away at college. I’m going to miss that for him next Thanksgiving when we’re living in Baltimore. He will miss it too, but I don’t think he realizes that yet, and may not realize it for years to come.
I sat with my friends and watched Kirkwood crush Webster 44-0. That’s my Pioneers! Yes, I am now a proud Pioneer and even though I didn’t graduate from Kirkwood High, I will always love the school for the role it played in my family.
As the last seconds ticked off the game clock the student body gathered on the sidelines to rush the field and reclaim the Frisco Bell, the symbol of the rivalry, it went to the winner of the game until next year’s match-up. Such enthusiasm as first the football team rang the bell and then the students rushed the field. The marching band played the alma mater and the fight song and the crowd lingered. It was pure joy and picture perfect Americana.
I gave much thanks at dinner to the traditions I’ve grown to love in my adopted hometown, a Thanksgiving worth celebrating indeed.