PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Surprise trip takes me to Lambeau

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Three blankets in my suitcase can only mean I was headed for Lambeau Field on Christmas Day.
It was perhaps my biggest surprise since my daughter was born. (I had convinced myself she would be a boy, just like our family’s first joyous birth.)
Let me back up slightly. For many years, our family has had Christmas Eve dinner, opened gifts and usually gone to Midnight Church, then slept late on Christmas morn.
Last week, we followed that routine with lots of happiness and thanks all around. Then came the last gift, a large envelope-shape, which was for me. Thought it was my annual Elvis calendar.
I opened it and stared in amazement at two white tickets, bearing the Green-and-Yellow logo of the Green Bay Packers. I couldn’t quite take it all in, but it appeared my longtime favorite NFL team was playing Eli Manning’s New York Giants – and these were tickets to that game.
Mom, the game’s Sunday and we’re leaving for Green Bay in the morning, my son said.
How are we going to get there? I muttered, still in a daze.
We’re going to fly, and Margaret’s going to take us to the Memphis airport by 8 in the morning.
The room almost started to spin, and all I could do was weep with joy at the prospect of fulfilling another life’s dream.
As you may recall, I fulfilled one fantasy last spring when my Pensacola brother-in-law allowed me to sing back-up with his rock ’n’ roll band.
My Packers passion began in the mid-’60s, when my father and I watched them together on TV.
Now, I was going to the storied Frozen Tundra, the very place where Vince Lombardi stalked the sidelines and barked instructions to Bart Starr and Jimmy Taylor and Paul Hornung. Where the Cowboys were chilled out in the fabled “Ice Bowl.”
Game day arrived, it was 20 degrees. Snow was piled maybe 10-15 feet high at our Green Bay hotel in the virtual shadow of Lambeau, just around the corner off Brett Favre Pass.
We dressed appropriately and walked across the way, through thousands of celebratory tailgaters to the hallowed stadium, not a lot bigger than Vaught-Hemingway in Oxford.
We had tickets on Row 2 of the 40-yard line, right behind the Giants’ bench. It was glorious, and we more or less managed the cold with just a little discomfort as the low-hanging sun made its exit by the second half.
I don’t think I’ve seen Giants’ QB Eli Manning so well since he trekked the Walk of Champions in the Grove years ago. It was not going to be his day.
I was a real Packers’ fan at that moment, yet it wasn’t so easy to pull for his opposite team. But this was Lambeau and we were cheering and singing en masse for a resounding Packer victory. Next day, we were grateful to be heading south.
It was a wonderful Christmas gift, something I am not likely to forget until the gray cells are completely gone.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.