Friday, February 27, 2004

Mile High Madness

I like to think I'm a very law abiding citizen and would never do anything purposely that would get me into any trouble with authorities. But sometimes you're faced with a choice to make between following the rules set in front of you and go home empty-handed or break those said rules and get not only a great story but a piece of history to keep forever. A few years ago I was faced with just a choice and my true nature was revealed in the blink of an eye.

My mother, to my great happiness, is a Denver Bronco season ticket holder. Her seats are in the infamous South Stands, known to be the rowdy side of Mile High Stadium. We're the part of the crowd that's known to throw things at the opposing team & shout obscenities at fans wearing gear that isn't blue & orange. When the defense is in our end, they rely on us to help get them pumped up to make the big stops.

No game atmosphere was more electric than on December 23, 2000. It was the last Bronco game played at the old Mile High Stadium. They played the 49'ers and it turned into a rout, Denver winning 38-9. As if the fans didn't need to be more pumped up, especially on our end of the stadium! Towards the end of the 4th quarter when it was very obvious that Mile High was going out in a blaze of glory, the fans began celebrating by ripping the place to pieces.

Now for those of you who didn't have the privilege of visiting Mile High before it was gone, let me describe the South Stands a little bit. It was all benches covered with thick orange fiberglass. To my surprise, it was very easy for people to break these benches off into pieces. While Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" blared through the stadium, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people had their seats in their hands and were waving them in the air. From where Mom & I stood, it was an awesome sight.

I asked my mom if she wanted to take her seats and she just looked at me like I was crazy! They had made repeated announcements that they would not hesitate to prosecute anyone attempting to steal property of Mile High and they had extra security & police officers all over the stadium. She was positive that if she even thought of taking her seats, she'd be immediately thrown in jail.

But we had some excited, helpful guys sitting behind us who asked Mom which seats were hers and then proceeded to rip them up for her. They handed her a section of dirty, smelly bench about 4 feet long...seats 24 & 25. She accepted it gracefully and covered it with her Bronco blanket. As the game ended and the fans were leaving, I asked what she was going to do with the bench, expecting her to just lay it on the ground and forget about it.

To my shock & delight, she wrapped it in the blanket tightly and hugged it to her body as she descended the steps. The mass of humanity leaving the game was immense and it wasn't very obvious that she had anything but her blanket clutched in her arms. She studiously avoided police officers and security personnel, convinced she was going to get out of Mile High with her piece of history.

And then we hit the final gate.

We had to walk right by a guard who was diligently doing his job. He eyed her blanket and she pressed it closer...nothing like being obvious! He reached out for her..."I'm going to need to see what's under your blanket, ma'am." I panicked! That's all I can say! I didn't want Mom to go to jail, although I'm not so sure that she would have for attempting to remove the bench, but I also didn't want her to lose it. It was a piece of history, for crying out loud! Plus they were just going to demolish the stadium anyway and we had PAID for those seats! Why couldn't we take them??

In the second that the guard reached out to pull the blanket off the hidden treasure, I knew what I was going to do. I lowered my shoulder, slammed into my mother's back and yelled "GO MOM!" There were so many people in that small space that my momentum in getting her out of there caused the crush to surge forward at an amazing rate. In the blink of an eye, we were past the danger and the bench was ours free & clear!

We hustled to the car as fast as our feet could carry us. Only one guy yelled out across the parking lot, "Hey! That old woman has a bench under her blanket!" But I think it was said in admiration rather than trying to get her caught. She stuffed the bench, still wrapped, in the trunk of her car and pulled out of there like a...well, like a criminal.

We laughed like loons for about half an hour as we drove through Denver. We got right outside of Castle Rock when a cop pulled behind us. Mom panicked. She was sure he knew what she had in her trunk and was there to stop her and take her away for life!

The best part was when we got home and found out that my dad, husband, brother & sister-in-law had been extremely concerned for us after seeing the craziness on televison. They couldn't believe that Mom had actually participating in the looting they had just seen. We suprised them all that day, I think.

The bench is just sitting in my mom's basement storage room now. But it's cool knowing that down there is a piece of history, something that only a few hundred criminals can say they, too, have!


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Cats Are Smart & Other Thoughts

I'm tempted to write more about my brother, like how when he was about 7 and he came wandering down the hall singing "Did You Happen To See The Most Beautiful Girl In The World?" or when he & his friend shot fireballs out the backdoor using hairspray & lighters while Mom & Dad were at work...but I won't. I've decided to write about my cats today.

Cats are smart. Regardless of how braindead my husband seems to think our cats are, I've seen evidence that proves otherwise. When Jeff & I first got married, we had two cats, Midnight & Chazz. Midnight hates Chazz...She is very dignified and queenly (when she's not drooling) and Chazz always wants to play. He would ambush her when she least expected it, causing her to lose some of her dignity as she was rolled uncerimoniously across the floor.

I kept the cat food in the cabinet underneath the sink. When the door shut, it bounced against the frame with a sound like "Doonk doonk doonk doonk." Whenever the cats heard that sound, they thought they were getting fed and would rush to the kitchen. They were trained well.

One afternoon, Midnight was grooming in the living room when Chazz jumped her. The fight was vicious and Chazz came out ahead. Midnight sulked off, leaving the victor to gloat in front of us. He came right to me for some petting. As I was sitting there on the couch with Chazz, I suddenly heard "Doonk doonk doonk doonk. Doonk doonk doonk doonk." It was the cabinet door in the kitchen. Chazz perked right up, thinking he was being fed. He jumped up and ran towards the sound. I followed, wanting to know what Midnight was doing. As we both rounded the corner, there was Midnight, crouched with her butt wiggling. The second she saw Chazz, she leapt on him and kicked his ass!

Chazz has since tempered down his attacks on her. It's quite obvious he was set up in the most brilliant tactical manuever I've ever seen pulled off by a cat!

Sadly, he's not as smart as his sister. He gets trapped in cupboards, closets and night he stuck his head into a small blue plastic bag and couldn't get it off. At first he walked around backwards, thinking he could back out of it. Didn't work. Then he starts running like a maniac, freaking out & running into walls, doors and furniture. He finally realized that he was doomed and sat down, accepting his fate. He looked like a kidnap victim waiting for the ransom to be delivered.

I have a plethora of cat stories that I'll probably post when I'm suffering from writer's block like I am now. With 5 cats, I'm never short of entertainment. And you all reap the benefits....


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A Tale Of Two Children...

I was just goofing around on line the other day when an IM from my brother popped up extolling the virtues of blogs. He sent me the link to his......and after reading his posts and laughing myself silly, I thought...crap! I can't compete with that! But...the more I read, the more I wanted to do my own, if only for the opportunity to defend myself or tell my version of things. So here it is.

One of Derek's posts is entitled "For God's Sake, Stay Behind The Camera!", or something like that. Anyway, the anecdote tells the tragic story of one Easter evening when, with the video camera rolling for posterity & all that, my mother smashed a raw egg onto my unsuspecting brother's forehead purely for her own amusement. You really have to read his version for the full effect - after all, he was the victim. I was merely the camera-chick.

Our roles in this evil plot of Mom's is the reason for this first post. In his side of the story, Derek says that Mom originally chose ME as her victim but that his whining got her to change her mind and I was inadvertantly saved. But, see...I remember it differently. In my mind, Mom said to us, "I have an idea for the camera. I need one of you to be my partner and one of you to run the camera." Of course we fought over who got to be her partner...which should really have made her feel guilty considering what she was about to do...and I finally gave in and relegated myself to the role of camera operator.

Not that big of a difference, really, unless you understand that I've always believed that Derek is the favorite child. I've been quite vocal about my belief and have evidence to back it up, which I'll get to in a jiffy. Mom, of course, has always denied this accusation and said it's hurtful when I say that. While I believe her, the evidence still stands...

Mom, Derek & I were traveling over to Grand Junction one spring to pick up a car for Derek. We stopped in Frisco at a Loaf N Jug to get some snacky-type treats...a few miles outside of town, I said, quite politely, "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom." With a sigh and that typical Mom-like voice she asks me why I didn't go when we were at Loaf N Jug. Reasonable reasonable reply: I didn't have to go then. "You'll just have to wait then," she tells me.

I waited....I stop after rest stop passing by as I sat in the front seat eyeing them with longing. I REALLY had to pee but Mom kept on driving. About an hour or so later Derek leans forward from the back seat and belches out one word: "BAAAATHROOOOM!" He sounded like a cross between E.T. & Young Frankenstein. Not nearly the polite request I had posed earlier. But what does Mom do? "Oh, do you have to go to the bathroom? We'll stop at the next rest stop." AND WE DID!!!! True story, hands in the air & all.

There are other pieces of evidence but that's my strongest and most used story to point out that Derek is the favorite. However, after reading his version of the egg story, I wonder...if he's correct on this and Mom truly had intended to "smite her first-born"...well...I think I have a much bigger case, doncha think?


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