Page 9 - Scene Magazine September 2023 48-09
P. 9

 Scene Around Town
 Tailgating isn’t my favorite thing in the world. But it’s close behind.
  and folks are stocking up on charcoal for their portable grills.
Salt-cured meats and whiskey barrels of ‘earlier times’ were swapped for plastic coolers with beer and portable grills filled with charcoal for cooking hamburgers and tube steaks. Instead of perching on the sides of hay wagons to socialize, today’s tailgaters are flinging flying discs, bouncing bean baggies on slanted sheets of plywood, or reclining on webbed aluminum lawn chairs all the while balancing paper plates on their laps laden with non-cultured cuisine.
I am not talking about cruising down the highway at 70 mph and looking
into your rearview mirror only to see nothing but the ‘grill’ of the pickup truck following two feet from your rear bumper. I am referring to the time-hon- ored reveling that began more than 150 years ago, long before today’s Saturday afternoon parking lot parties.
get there. You can imagine that the on- lookers were hoping for a quick win so they could get home at a reasonable and sober hour.
According to the National Geo- graphic, tailgating has its roots dating back to 1861 when curious civilians hitched up their wagons and headed
to the Virginia countryside to gaze at their ‘team’ at the Battle of Bull Run. Folks dragged out their picnic baskets that were laden with milled meat, plum puddings, and tasty tarts. Their favored liquid refreshments came from aged corn drippings and trampled tannins. Those provisions were no doubt out of need rather than nonsense because the 25-mile-or-more journey to those picnic battles took the better part of a day to
Those in the grey uniforms prevailed and by Sunday’s end, the boys in blue departed in defeat. The onlookers who no doubt watched through long lenses, often obstructed by the gunpowder smoke and dense forests, crammed
what remained of their vittles in their chuck wagons and left to watch the fight another day.
Instead of the whiff of grungy gunpowder, our senses enjoy the sweet scent of barbeque-smoked ribs wafting above, crunchy chips slathered with dips made of vegetables we’ve never heard of, and of course, loud laughter.
Here it is nearly autumn, birds are beginning to flock, which means our first frost is but a few weeks away, the sumac along the byways are changing colors,
watching the skirmishes between the yard markers, they were standing in the stands and in parking lots surrounding the stadiums looking for snacks offered from station wagons and pickup truck trunk lids that served as buffet tables.
Less than a decade later, after many scrimmages, new combatants confront- ed each other on a different battlefield, this one pitted Rutgers in scarlet against the orange of Princeton in New Bruns- wick, New Jersey at the first college football game. The Knights were victo- rious, caging the Tigers 6-4.
This is the season for tailgating, but don’t follow too closely; go ahead enjoy your weekends with family and friends and be Scene around town in high school and college parking lots ‘relishing’ the traditions of culinary competitions at your tailgate party. By the way, let me know when the Wisconsin brats and cheese curds are ready; not to worry, I can bring my own cutlery and stein.
By the turn of the century, automo- biles replaced the horse-drawn food carts. When famished fans weren’t
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