Tallahassee isn't that far of a drive from my hometown of Pensacola. It's a straight shot down an uneventful interstate for close to three hours. I ended up driving that road many times, but the trip that I remember the best was when I was not quite 17.
My sister was a member of the FSU Marching Chiefs. She was in the flag corps. Maverick got to travel to many places and attend plenty of bowl games. She did have to audition for the corps every year. The three of us woke up very early on a spring morning to get Maverick to her audition. I remember wondering what Dad and I were going to do while Maverick spent hours and hours doing whatever she was doing.
After dropping Maverick off at Tully Gym, Dad and I walked around a bit looking at the university grounds. We wandered near the baseball stadium discovering that a game was about to begin. Dad looked at me with excitement in his eyes, “Hey, Sarabeth, want to go?”
“Sure, but I don't want to sit in the cheap seats.” And, by that I meant the bleachers along the third base line. They didn't look very comfortable, and the game would be difficult to watch from that angle.
Dad made one of the noises that I just can explain well. It's a cross between a scoff and a guttural sound. He headed to the ticket booth where he learned that there were only cheap seats left. We took them.
Far from having a miserable time sitting on hard, metal benches, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The game was against a perennial rival, the University of Miami. The pitching was fantastic. The fielding was spectacular to watch. However, it was the crowd that really made the game. These people were there to watch and to cheer. No one was drunk or obnoxious (well, I can't speak for The Animals). Everyone was watching the game, which went into extra innings. I can't remember who won.
We were late picking up Maverick. She made the flag corps. I had a mild sunburn on my feet where the criss-cross straps of my sandals didn't cover. Dad was exhausted. I know he was tired because he let me drive all the way home. He fell asleep. That, to me, was the ultimate expression of his trust and faith in my driving skills.