Have you ever set your alarm for 5:30am on New Year’s Day? It helps to get in bed before 10pm on New Year’s Eve, which is exactly what we did.
We needed the early wake-up call because we had purchased $25 general admission tickets to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and Mallory was dead set on being on the first row in the end zone (the area where we could sit). Actually, Mallory had two questions about the game:
1 – Is the bowl game on television?
2 – Are we recording the game?
Once we could answer Yes to both questions, she was the most motivated fan you could ever hope to find. Our mission was to be at the gates when they opened at 9:00am.
Our plan for gameday was to drive to the local DART station and ride the mass transit to the football game. Our butts were going to be on the 7:30 train. But a funny thing happened on the way to the DART station…we missed the station.
We made a quick decision and decided to heck with the train, we would just drive to the stadium. We made a quick return by the house to load up some drinks in an ice chest, and we hit the road.
The rest of the party went ahead and took the train but they caught a later departure. This was the (elite) part of our group that had reserved seats and had no need to be at the stadium as early as we did. Unfortunately, PK was not feeling well and decided to stay at the house and watch the game on tv. Definitely a good idea, Mom. Take care of yourself first!
We made it to the Cotton Bowl in a jiffy and parked in a near vacant lot. There were a couple of tailgaters out, but mostly we were surrounded by empty parking spaces.
Once at the Fairgrounds, Mallory and Miles were anxious to go get in line. Scott and I joined them, while Stephanie, Marissa and Erin stayed back in the van for a while to enjoy the “indoors” for as long as they could.
On our walk to the stadium, we noticed the Purdue Boilermaker marching band organizing themselves in a parking lot. For some reason, Scott identified them as the OSU marching band. We had to point out that the giant “P” on the front of their uniform did not stand for “Pokes”.
We even made up a song about the band:
Boil ‘em Up! Boil ‘em Up! Cowboy Band!
We arrived at the gate at 8:30 to find that we were the first fans in line. Score! We patiently waited until they took our tickets a half hour later and let us in the stadium.
Of course, Mallory’s motivation for the first row was her hope to get on television. She is not just an idle dreamer, though. She put legs on her dream by wearing her large Buffalo Hat she purchased on vacation this summer.
She did not manage to get any isolated television cameras on her, but she did have two different newspaper photographers take her picture and visit with us. (It was not an accident that I was sitting by Mallory all game.)
The game itself was a lopsided mismatch from the start. In the end, our Cowboys beat Purdue 58 – 14. It was about as competitive as the score indicated.
Much more fun than the actual game (not that we have anything against running up large victories) was taking pictures, eating all kinds of food at the stadium, and visiting. The weather was not ideal – it was cold – but it never did rain on us. Given that anything can happen on New Year’s Day in Dallas, we’ll take it.
At one point during the game, Stephanie and Mallory were walking up the stairs to the concession stand, and a lady stopped Mallory and asked her about her Buffalo hat. Mallory told her the whole story about how she bought it on our Yellowstone trip this summer. The lady was so enamored by it that she told Mallory that “the hat made her trip”. That’s Mallory for you – spreading joy wherever she goes.
After the game, we hustled back to the house and wrapped up our packing. Mallory topped off her day by riding the train back with the rest of the family. Everything was loaded into our cars in less than two hours, and we locked the doors for the final time.
Our plan was to go eat dinner together before heading back home, but Uncle Joe and Aunt Judy got a head start and hit the road immediately. We said our goodbyes to them, and then drove a short distance to Babe’s Chicken Dinner House where we met the Dahlens.
Mallory immediately fell in love with the place as the entire restaurant is decorated with CHICKENS. (Any good chicken farmer worth her salt would love the place.)
Babes was an interesting place. You get to order one of 6 meat items, and then all the sides come out family style. Everybody had way too much to eat, which is just another way of saying “it was another typical day of vacation for us”.
At one point during the meal, I could hear the “Hokey Pokey” song playing over the speakers. I looked over and all of the waitresses were dancing the Hokey Pokey along with a handful of children. I tried to get Marissa to dance, but she was uninterested. (Surely, she did not think she was too *old* for the Hokey Pokey! Blasphemy!)
We said our long goodbyes to each other right in the middle of the restaurant – no telling when we will see the Dahlens again – and we loaded up and headed for Oklahoma.
We had another fantastic time together. This trip would not have happened without the dedication of PK & KK, as they were determined we were going on a bowl trip. Thanks Mom & Dad for a wonderful time!!
[Final Note: In fact, Mallory did get her picture in the Tulsa World newspaper – page 3! Mission Accomplished.]