Superbowl at our house has been a tradition long before HD TV and flat screens and huge screens. For 30 years at least a dozen guys would gather around our 27" televison and later our 35" and last year, Jimmy's pride and joy, a 60" screen.
The grid for the pool was posted on the kitchen wall and nearby there were wings and cannoli's and Fanny's meatballs, food enough to feed the entire NFL.
Jimmy was the loudest among the loud and the funniest among the funny. He would fall to his knees and curse at the coach or heckle a player rooting like he was at a live game. Women were not allowed so I was never there, but I know this.
It always puzzled me that Jimmy was so unbending about the 'no woman' policy. He was normally extremely bendable. A brat like me could never be married to him if he wasn't.
This day was totally testosterone. Poor, displaced me, would have to find someplace to go. It wasn't easy in the early years when Jackie and Dougie were little. Superbowl games are always in the evening into the night.
After several years I saw it was senseless to argue. He did the shopping and the cleanup and before long Doug was one of the boys along with his friends and it was just Jackie and me seeking a quiet haven without a tv.
Me, being me would use it to my advantage all the rest of the year. Whenever I wanted him to go someplace with me or if I wanted to go with just my girl friends without him I would pull out the Superbowl card. It usually worked throughout the rest of the Winter and into the Spring and then again mid-January as Superbowl Sunday was around the corner once again.
The last 10 years it was a non-issue. I would go out to dinner with my cousin Marion and other friends and see a movie. I still used it against him, though. That was almost as much a tradition as the Superbowl party itself. It was our dance.
Today, it wasn't me who was displaced, but Doug and all of his and Jimmy's buddies. Everyone scattered. For Doug, Superbowl without his father must have felt like this past Christmas all over again. He went to a sports bar in the city and some friends joined him. Others stayed home with their families.
And, for the first time in 30 years I could have stayed home. It was quiet, too quiet. I went a few towns over to Vera's house, our friend from Junior High School who I've reconnected with.
She and her husband Jeff had a huge Superbowl bash...both men and women. There was enough food to feed the entire NFL. Missing were Fanny's meatballs.
I won the pool twice and I talked with old high school friends. It was comfortable. Back at home there were no hefty bags to be thrown out and no lingering food smells or friends with hoarse voices.
Tradition is a wonderful way to stay close, remain connected and make memories, but when the main link of the chain breaks, it's over. Jimmy's Superbowl parties are now in their own Hall of Fame we'll always refer to as 'the good old days.'