This Beautiful Inheritance: 20 Years Later...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

20 Years Later...

I've been going to Razorback basketball games with my dad since I was three years old. My mom would dress me in my red and white cheerleader uniform, put on my tights and white Reeboks, and I'd hop in the Ford with Daddy for our 4-hour trip upstate. In the early days, before they opened I-540, we traveled Hwy. 71, along all its twists and turns through the mountains. As a little kid, I didn't know where we were. I just knew it was a long trip, and I looked forward to a few things along the way.

1.) The big Hog sign in Atkins, AR. On the side of a mountain, there's a billboard-size sign hanging with a giant Razorback and the words "Go Hogs Go!" Daddy always pointed it out to me, and I knew we were headed to the ballgame! 2.) The Hillbilly gas station. A little farther into the trip, there was a service station where we always stopped to get gas. It wasn't really a "Hillbilly" gas station, but it had a tiny rack filled with "Hillbilly" souvenirs. To me, there was nothing funnier than those knick knacks (For example, Hillbilly Bubble Bath= a sack of beans). See, you think it's funny too! 3.) The Ozark Smokehouse. Somewhere farther along the way (I told you, I was young; I don't remember exactly) there was an Ozark Smokehouse where we stopped to eat lunch. They smoked all kinds of fresh lunch meats and served kettle-cooked chips. It knocked fast-food out of the water.

And once we got to Fayetteville, there was a whole new list of things to look forward to-- shopping at the mall, playing arcade games at Locomotion, and eating at AQ Chicken and picking a toy from their "treasure chest." And of course, the ballgame (Section 122, Row 20, Seats 1 and 2). Each of these activities was "tradition" for Daddy and me. We were creatures of habit and did virtually the same thing every time (2-3 times each year).

The point is that these day-long (and sometimes overnight) excursions with my dad are etched in my memory forever. They are hands-down some of the best memories from my childhood. And a couple of weeks ago, I got to do it again. Now 20 years later, our trip has changed a bit. We travel interstate the whole way, there's no Hillbilly souvenirs or treasure chest toys, and the basketball team plays for a much smaller crowd. But the most important part of the trip hasn't changed:  the person I am with. I may be an adult, married and have a kid, but I still don't want to go to Fayetteville with anyone but my dad.

The only picture I could find of me and Dad in Hog gear... at a game in 2008.

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