Football in Texas is kind of a big deal. More specifically, small town Friday night high school football in Texas is kind of a big deal. Especially in my area. It seems the whole town gathers in a sea of green and gold to cheer on our home town boys, The Harvesters. Yep, the Harvesters. Not the Bears. Not the Cougars. Not anything that can shred you to bits with their teeth or their claws, but The Harvesters. Don’t get me wrong, we carry a mean sickle let me tell you. Or is it a scythe? I certainly don’t know what that harvester is harvesting with.
This Friday night just so happens to be our homecoming game. Which I would be false in assuming everyone understands. It pretty much took all my life to be proved wrong. It wasn’t until last year when my sister, who now lives in New Mexico, said “you know…..I think homecoming mums are a Texas thing. No one around here does it.”
I was caught a bit off guard. If you don’t do homecoming mums, what do you do? I just figured everyone did it the way we did. Let me explain.
Not only do the students deck themselves out in green and gold, spray paint their hair, and paint their faces, all in the name of school spirit, but for the homecoming game, shy boys awkwardly ask out nervous girls, and then buys a homecoming mum (the gawdier the better) to be pinned to their shirts.
The girls return the favor by buying the boy a homecoming garter to wear on his arm. A parade kicks off the festivities, and the next night the football stadium becomes a sea of green and gold ribbons, bells, whistles, and even feathers. Not only are there concession stands, but it is almost equivalent to a fair. Booths are set up and the smells of burgers, turkey legs, roasted corn on the cob, fajitas, and just about anything you can imagine wafts through the stadium. At half time, a homecoming king and queen are crowned and everyone hopes the Harvesters pull off a win.
As if all this fun and frolic isn’t already giving you a headache, imagine how I feel knowing my sweet, little, tiny, innocent 7th grade niece actually has a date to this thing! When did she grow up??? Now granted, my first homecoming date was in the 5th grade with a neighborhood boy named Ryan and I guess I turned out alright, but I really wasn’t expecting this so soon with Ash.
That little girl who made Santa Claus beards with the bubbles in her bathtub now has a boy asking her to homecoming. He bought her a mum, she bought him a garter, his parents are driving him over to pick her up, they’re going out to eat Mexican food before the game. Oh my. Oh my.
My niece Ash doesn’t have the best table manners in the world, and J-Dub harps on her all the time. I’ve even been the one to mention, “Ash, someday you’re going to have a date, and if you eat like a hog at the trough, that boy is never going to ask you on a second date.”
I almost hope she eats like a hog at the trough.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, this growing up stuff.
And then I think of this little bundle of pink who is busy growing toenails in my comfortable, safe womb, and a ripple of panic courses through my veins when I think that this day too will visit us. One day, when we least expect it, she’s going to grow up and catch the eye of some boy who will ask her to an innocent homecoming football game. We’ll blink our eyes, and before we know it J-Dub will be walking her down the aisle, giving her away to some stinky boy.
Whoever said “Time flies” sure knew what he was talking about.
I wish someone could figure out how to slow it down.