By Jon Berman
Two to the left, three to the right. The word go has barely passed my lips as I take three steps back and roll to my left. As my right arm comes forward, my friend steps toward me over the goal line for the catch in front of the defender. Touchdown! The pandemonium in the stadium reaches… actually it’s more like the noise of leaves shuffling under the feet of our “opponents” in a backyard football game. In fact, it is exactly the leaves making the noise. Going to have to break out the rakes.
It was Columbus Day weekend, and we were able to fit in a day of BBQ wings and “fixins”, family, and football, capped off by the Patriots win over the Broncos. It was the kind of event that happens relatively often, but not nearly often enough lately. Luckily, when I ask my neighbors to come out and play, they’re pretty willing.
Football has become sort of overdone, and a backyard game is missing the cheerleaders, fireworks, sound system, John Madden, and replacement referees (actually, we had the cheerleader (yay Kim!) and the name Kim is in no way representative of my neighbor Kim, and any similarities to the character in this column are purely coincidental). But between everyone, there were probably nine touchdowns. And the score was really lost as no one really cared. It was a moment to squeeze in togetherness.
Because soon, the cold will set in. The trucks will have to be warmed up in the morning and the windows properly scraped. Snow will need to be plowed, and shoveled off the flat part of my roof (however it was pointed out that I’m scheduled to be on tour in Florida for some of this). Holiday obligations, school, and keeping the house warm will be priorities, and the football sailing through the air so Mark can show off his vertical leap will be just a memory. He can get up there though.
There will be less moments of greetings and moments to catch up. Neighbors and friends will spend more time indoors than with each other until spring when we seem to emerge around April Fool’s Day. Seems like there should be a connection there.
And I just love it. Every season has it’s perks, and it’s pains. For every snowfall there’s a moment over hot cocoa, for every storm and cold snap there’s a victory over time and place that sustains the old New Englander and one’s sturdy march through life that is passed to the next generation. We know it’ll freeze, trees will fall, power will be lost and eventually restored. But we are prepared with generators, boots, and friends. We know spring is coming at some point, but there’s sap to boil first. We’ll look forward to the next change, and prepare for the future.
For now though, it’s crisp mornings, warmer afternoons, orange, reds, and yellows raining down on pumpkin fields and stone walls that chipmunks scurry through, storing their winter surplus. It’s football games and picking up the boy after school, remembering what’s important as we pack as many memories as we can before the first snow. Let’s grab a football and head outside.
Jon Berman is a musician who lives in Blandford. Previous columns and contact information are available at jonbermanmusic.com.