Sunday, March 18, 2012

New City, Old Memories (Part 1)

Day 18 of 31 at TWT!
Yesterday, I left you all wondering why I was up so early.  Now that Husband has finally draaaaagggggggged me out of bed today (no, not just now...), I think I'll give you a play-by-play of yesterday's trip (good guess, Michelle!) as it happened:

6:30 a.m.: The doorbell rings and we pull open the door to reveal my mom practically hopping on the porch with excitement.  Her giddy smile is bathed in the green light from our porchlights, where our novelty bulbs are shining St. Patrick's Day cheer into the darkness.  "Oh boy, you brought your horns!" chirps Daddy as he pops open the trunk.

7:30 a.m.: Husband and I finally settle into our books in the backseat, after an hour of excited chatter:

"Do you remember our first NCAA tournament trip when you were in first grade, to Rupp Arena?  Oh, you were sooo cute in your little cheerleading outfit!"

"Remember in Indianapolis in '99, when we almost couldn't hook up with Uncle Mike because the cell phone wasn't set up for roaming?  Now there's no such thing as roaming and we can just text him!" "Yeah, and then we followed the team to Knoxville the next weekend, and Grandma talked to Boban Savovic [one of OSU's players at the time] in Serbian after the game?"  "And then, of course, the Final Four!"  "Yeah, which apparently now never happened [it was taken away because of rule violations]... but we had so much fun!"

"And do you remember when we drove to Lexington and Uncle Mike was so excited it was like having a five-year-old in the car?"  "I vowed to never ride in the car with him again..."  "Yeah, and we had gone to the Pancake Breakfast that morning!  Good thing it was last week -- we had to leave too early to make it today!"

 "And of course last year in Cleveland was sooo cool because you guys got to play at the Buckeye Bash with the Athletic Band!"  "Yeah, that was so fun! And Assistant Director and the E-Row kids got such a big kick out of us alumni playing with them!"  "They're gonna crack up when we show up this year too!"

For several more hours, we continue driving through rolling Midwestern hills and patches of fog.  My dad, always the engineer, figures out that the car windows always steam up when we go from a valley to a hilltop, because of the temperature change from low to high ground in the humid air.  He also identifies a huge piece of machinery hauled by a truck that we pass: it's a connector piece for a mining machine, owned by a company that was a customer of my grandpa's company.  (Grandpa was a brilliant mechanical engineer who had at least eight patents for parts of draglines.)

9:30ish a.m. The cheery voice of the GPS tells us that we're approaching our exit.  We crest a hill to the sight of... a long line of cars completely stopped at the exit ramp.  "Oh no, is it really this backed up from the tunnel?" my mom moans.  We sit for a few minutes before realizing... this is weird.  We are not moving AT ALL.  Not even inching forward.  Completely stopped.  "What if there was a wreck in the tunnel?"  "No, I bet they'd be diverting people to a different route if it was closed for an accident, not having us all sit here..."

My dad, the engineer, figures it out.  He notices that we can see the bottom of our exit ramp off to the side below us, and there's a police car pulled sideways across it, blocking everyone.  "I bet there's a special convoy coming in from the airport!" he decides.  "Maybe Biden or the governor or someone has come in for the game, and we'll get to go once they go by!"  Sounds plausible and we have plenty of time, so we decide to try to wait it out.

We sit for about 15 minutes, and then suddenly the police car pulls out and the line of cars starts moving.  Daddy must have been right, and we are on our way again!  (We never did find out if someone famous was at the game, so who knows if that was the real reason.)

10:00ish a.m. "Ooh, I can't wait for you to see the view coming out of the tunnel!" My mom is seriously bouncing up and down in her seat.  "It's just so breathtaking!"  Neither Husband nor I has ever been to Pittsburgh, and Daddy hasn't been since he was a little kid.  Mom has been more recently and just keeps gushing about the view.

photo credit: brunkfordbraun via photopin cc
She's right.  We emerge from the Fort Pitt Tunnel to one of the most gorgeous city scenes in America.  To our left as we cross the bridge, we are treated to a clear view of Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, nestled between the wide river and a beautiful skyline of old warehouses and new skyscrapers.

Pittsburgh, the Buckeyes are here!

(This post is already too long, so please check back tomorrow to hear about our day in Pittsburgh rooting on the OSU men's basketball team!)


  1. I had to google to see if OSU won, so congratulations on that win. I sounds like this is a regular thing for you, attending NCAA games. Sounds like its been fun so far, can't wait to hear the rest!

  2. You could hear the excitement of your family in all the "remembering" stories told in the car. Sounds like a great day together.

  3. I just read Deb Day's post about memories of the past in the present - exactly what you wrote about. Glad you made it to the area. What a fun trip!

  4. I like your asides and the conversational structure. I felt as if I was there. You all sound so excited.

  5. What a lot of excitement just getting to the game. I've never gone to an NCAA game, but we watch many. Very fun to hear about, & more to come!

  6. What an awesome reason to get up so early! The tidbits of information about your family laced throughout this slice are just perfect. They make it feel like a conversation at the dining room table.


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