John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 11, 2009

John Howell Sr.

Return to Superdome for Saints game among holiday plans ahead

Christmas at our New Orleans home is shaping up around a Saints game and a visit by our grandsons to go there.

Back some years ago my older grandson and I went to a Saints game in the Superdome. I don’t remember many particulars. We drove until we were somewhere in the vicinity of the dome, parked and walked on, following the tributaries of people as their numbers grew into a sea of humanity crowding into one of the entrances. Once inside we climbed to nosebleed seats.

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The game was near the end of the season, one of many when the Saints had imploded. They only got worse that night. I remember the long walk back to the car late after the game. A strong, cold, gusty wind swirled between the tall buildings as a front swept down from the north across Lake Pontchartrain and into the city. As we walked for what seemed like block after block, I remember him chatting happily away about all he had seen.  Weary never crossed his mind. I remember thinking that night that he reminded me of his daddy at that age.

Hunt has been a Saints fan ever since and that night, especially the walk back to the car, became a precious vignette among my memories.

This time we will see them play Tampa Bay on December 27. Maybe our presence won’t jinx them and they will win. This time Nelson will be with us. If their dad changes his mind he can have the third ticket and I’ll furnish necessary shuttling.

Meanwhile, our daughter Mary will fly to New Orleans on the 19th and stay for a week. Her husband Phillip will fly down on a different schedule since their holiday time off didn’t synchronize.

From here I can’t exactly tell how many will be where and when. That uncertainty makes Rosemary anxious. I tell her that whatever happens will turn out fine. She thinks I’m over-nonchalant.

Mary and Phil have lived in Milwaukee for three years and are not happy about beginning their fourth winter there.

She called Wednesday morning to report that they had been spared the blizzard that had crippled most of the city and much of the Mid West. In South Milwaukee, they are close enough to Lake Michigan that it’s lake effect kept temperatures high enough to turn much of what would have been snow into rain.

And this is about as much of a holiday family newsletter as I plan to write.