The Pats are in the Super Bowl again this year.
Remember two years ago, Super Bowl 49? Against the Seahawks? It was during that brutal winter, my freshman year, when January and February dumped foot after foot of snow on New England (it’s much milder this year, hardly any snow at all).
I was home for the game two years ago, but it started to snow and looked like maybe I’d be stuck in Rhode Island for a few days if I didn’t beat the storm to Boston (you know how reliable the MBTA commuter rail is in bad weather). So at halftime I threw my bags in your old silver Taurus without a working heater and we listened to the game on the radio as we drove.
We made that trip together so many times together that we had personal landmarks to watch for along the route: the Stone House, that one brick in the curb that stuck out into the road and every time we passed it you’d say, “Oof, that thing would take your tire right out.”
Thank you for those all those late-night Sunday drives after a weekend at home. I know you were tired, and I know you had to be at work early Monday morning, but the hour and a half we spent together in the car was a ritual. It was time for us to talk — about our lives, my school or your work, about the Terrier hockey team, about politics (even though we often disagreed). Or it was time for silence. We could sit in comfortable, easy silence, lost in our own thoughts but enjoying each other’s company.
I valued those drives then, but I treasure the memory of them now. Now driving back to school after a weekend at home isn’t the same. I still pick out our landmarks but I miss the comments you would make as we passed them.
You remember how that game two years ago ended? We were just reaching Kenmore Square, the Patriots were up 28-24 with 30 seconds left in regulation, but the Seahawks had the ball on the one-yard line. They were going to score. It was over for the Pats, so we sighed and you turned down the radio so you could focus on navigating all of the police barricades set up to control the post-game chaos.
Seconds later we turned the radio back up and the commentators were screaming that Seattle had tried to pass instead of rushing into the endzone. Butler had made the interception! The Patriots win!
We looked at each other in disbelief and started screaming along with the radio, laughing at Seattle’s stupidity and that miraculous interception. And then we were at my dorm, and I gave you a hug and said, “Thanks for the ride, I’ll see you in a few weeks,” and you turned around a started the drive back home.
I’ve watched a lot of Super Bowls, but that will always be the most memorable. An impossible win heard over the car radio, late one snowy February Sunday night on the outskirts of Boston with my dad.
Let’s win one more. I miss you dad.