I awoke early to a soft tongue licking my hand. I opened my eyes and saw my dog Beau, tail wagging and bright eyed. I knew that Annie would soon follow with her brand of kisses. Before I knew it we were on our way for a early morning walk. As we walked, my stomach turned like a NASCAR driver. I tried to think of what I could have eaten last night that would have done this to me. I came to the conclusion that it could only have been the two candy bars and three pickled sausages that I ate the night before. The mixture of sugar and vinegar soaked meat were going at one another like a couple of Japanese fighting beta fish. I had eaten like a king the night before in celebration: celebration of a big win. We had come back home victorious and received the day off as a reward. Once again we were granted two days of freedom.
I had all day to be a bachelor. I was wife-free. Rebekah had gone back to our ranch in Virginia. She needed to pick up some winter clothes and check on our house. She was due back late afternoon, so I had all day to myself. I met the Hansons for breakfast at the Crackle Barrel, my second favorite restaurant. It might have been the only place that my stomach could have handled. Hanson was in rare form after his stellar performance in Texas. He was all smiles and giggles. I spent the afternoon doing one of the most manly things a guy can do without his wife; I sat on the couch and watched television. She got home that evening and we went to the Olive Garden for dinner and then met the Hansons for a movie, Santa Clause 2. Chris loved it. He was still giddy. He is a great punter.
Rebekah and I woke up early and enjoyed a breakfast together. She filled me in on all of the happenings in Virginia. The deer and rabbits have taken over my land in the absence of my dogs. That news just enraged Beau and Annie. After breakfast I went to the stadium to watch some film on the Cowboys. I like to stay up on the next opponent. Following my time at the stadium I had scheduled to learn about culinary arts. This Tuesday I was going to attend the Luzar school of cooking. Chris and I spent the day making sausage. We made a deer and pork sausage with the deer meat that we had brought back from our hunt last week.
That night Rebekah and I got all dolled up and went to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes fund raising banquet. We had a great time supporting such an awesome cause. We got to see Rich Griffith, a man that I truly look up to, not only for his accomplishments on the field but also for his faith and friendship off. Rich is the regional director of FCA and was the emcee for the night.
When we got home, the dogs were raring to get the fight started. They ambushed me the moment that I walked in the door. If it were not for my ninja-like skills, the match would have been over quickly. I put up a good fight but the presence of the neck tie was my downfall. Dogs 3-Joey 2.
Back to work. It is amazing how fast the days off go if you are not paying attention. They flew by, but the day at work on Wednesday was gone in a blink, too. It was all a blur. The walk-through and the meetings were over before we knew it. We were introduced to the Cowboys and began to make plans for the return trip to the Lone Star state. The practice was one of pure focus. The team was looking to put another notch in our gunstock by knocking off the Cowboys. We knew that the 'Boys were a good team and it was going to take not only a great effort, but also a little luck to pull this one off. Yet, we were determined and focused.
That night, because I just had to go and celebrate the crowning of the AFC special teams player of the week, my wife and I went to the Hansons for dinner. I spent the night sparing and brushing up on my dog wrestling with Chris and Kasey's dog Abby. I have to get back into the win column. We enjoyed a great homemade steak dinner and made it home in time to get to bed before 10. Well, close to 10. Rebekah made me stay up a bit later to watch how the "Bachelor" handled the last two contestants.
Thursday was "end zone dance day" at work. The time between meeting and practice was spent going over the crazy touchdown dances one could perform. The dances ranged from Mitchell's "truck driver" to Meester's "the Hobbit". The dances were just a way to pass the time with some goofy laughs. The practice that afternoon was one that was focused. The team was following Coach's coaxing to try and play the perfect game. The best way to play the perfect game is to practice perfect. As coach put it, "There would be no room for error."
That night after work I drove Rebekah to the airport for her flight to Dallas. She was going down to see the game and spend some time with her cousin, Lindsay. We enjoyed a dinner at the Jacksonville airport and said an airport goodbye. That night was another lonely one...just me and the dogs.
As I drove to work listening to the songs of Willie Nelson, I knew that Friday would be the day of polishing the game plan. It was a fast focused day of work. The team worked the kinks out and began to pack our bags for the trip to Dallas. We knew that we would have to pack our entire game to beat the Cowboys. The practice was a good one. Plays were made by all of the fellas. They were getting ready. After work I drove home, grabbed the dogs and ran some errands before my customary Philly cheesesteaks dinner. It is just not the same without the wife. I ate with the dogs and went home for a good night's rest.
The doughnuts were in the locker room when I arrived early in the morning. My blue blazer and khaki pants, along with my lucky Indians hat, were my attire for the trip. As my father-in-law, Paul, says, "You should go with what works." This outfit may not be my wife's favorite, but it works for me. We had our walk-through and meetings and were off to the plane. The meal on the plane was provided by the rookie, Luzar. He brought Publix sub sandwiches. On the flight I watched "The Outlaw Josey Wales." We got into Dallas with the sun shining and headed to the hotel. I was able to meet up with Rebekah and some of her family for dinner, before heading off to meetings. Snacks and bed were soon to follow. Tomorrow, we face the 'Boys!
Game day had finally arrived. We woke up early, ate breakfast and headed to the stadium. Yet again, there were no black pants to wear.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL! MY FAMILY AND I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE A BLESSED TURKEY DAY. FROG, SAVE ME SOME FAMOUS!!