Written by Scott Hughson
Just another gloom overcast November day as I trucked to a customer an hour north of Denver. This trip would take me to Philadelphia, PA, to a receiver I had visited many times before. As I backed under the trailer, I thought, probably cold pizza and warm soda for Thanksgiving dinner, just like last year.
The first leg of the trip would take me to Des Moines, IA. I could look forward to front row parking as most truckers would be off for the holiday. The second leg of the trip took me to Youngstown, OH. And the last leg would be a half days drive to the destination.
As I exited the PA turnpike, I heard the scores of NFL games that had taken place during the day. They announced that the Eagles would be hosting the Cardinals later that evening. The customer was the last exit in PA, which is also where the Eagle stadium is located. It was mid-afternoon when I pulled into the parking lot and I had to weave in and out of cars and RVs as tailgaters began to flood the area.
As I was doing paperwork a father and son approached the truck and asked if I was working on Thanksgiving. They invited me to their RV for turkey and all the trimmings. I was all about it, as they pointed out their campsite through the maze of tailgaters.
I joined the family and indulged in the buffet of food they offered. Turkey, spuds, green beans, salad greens, and pie. We talked and found a lot of common ground between us. A brother and sister shared a drum stick and made a comment, then laughed and sighed. I asked what that was about.
They told me their oldest brother, who had tragically passed in a car accident earlier in the year, always made a gesture with a drumstick. Taken aback, I shared my brother’s story. He was struck by lightning and passed instantly. We shared a moment of silence and for that moment, it was as if we were meant to share that holiday.
As we shut down the buffet so they could get ready for the game, I asked how I could get tickets. The father told me I could get them from a loiter, about a block from the gate, but advised me not to pay more than $20. I thanked them for having me at their table walked back to Kenworth to add a layer of clothes for the game.
Now dressed, I made my way across the parking lot. I saw an RV with the Eagles logo painted on with two guys throwing fists and wrestling fall out of the door. I asked some girls what was up and they said “Its ok, they’re friends.” I knew then that watching the fans would be better than the game itself.
Not far from the gate, I shouted “I need a ticket!” And within minutes, a pair of fans offered one up. $20 later, I was in. The fans, Mike and Steve, grew up in Philly, but had since moved to Delaware. Being long-time fans, they occasionally came back.
It was my first NFL game. The stands were loaded with green jerseys, the field was wide open, lined with players. Much better than watching on TV.
While squeezing up and down the stairs on our way to concessions, you could hear the fans yelling amongst each other. The funny part was, they were all for the same team. I felt bad for any fan wearing the opposing colors.
Midway through the third quarter, we decided to beat traffic and leave. They took me on a tour of the city to places like, Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell. We also dined at a local favorite restaurant. When they dropped me at my truck, we exchanged numbers and are still in contact from time to time.
In the morning I greeted the customer with my ticket stub as if I were a new found fan. I had also done this previously with a Flyers stub as I began to adopt the City of Brotherly Love. As they unloaded my trailer, we talked highlights of the game, of my Thanksgiving dinner in the parking lot, and my new friends. As I drove off, I couldn’t remember a better holiday like that, spent on the road all alone.
Look us up at www.navajo.com
Stop by and see us at
1400 W. 64th Ave.
Denver, CO 80221