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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

“Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera” ~ The King and I, 1956.

This past week, there was so much going on, I needed a day planner to keep up. Oh yeah, I already have a day planner.

Saturday, Daron, Dad and I drove up to Gainesville for the weekend. I let Dad drive the new car as I couldn’t stand the tears. Marsh stayed home to attend Jon’s birthday party and missed out on all the fun. He's still upset about it.

Steve Spurrier and the 1996 Champion Season team, including Danny Wuerffel, were honored before the game and the Gators annihilated Southern Miss 34-7.

Ugly, but not as ugly as the UCF game (42-0) the next weekend.

When we got to Gainesville, Dad decided to let Daron use his ticket for the game and she and I joined the other 90,041 rabid fans sweating in the stands.

Why were we sweating? Well, I am so glad you asked.

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium was built in 1930 as Florida Field. In 1934, the stadium was dedicated to the memory of servicemen who died in the first World War. Though renamed in 1989 to honor legendary citrus grower and University of Florida benefactor Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., the name of the playing surface remains Florida Field.The stadium is best known as The Swamp, a nickname given to it by former head coach Steve Spurrier in the early 1990s.

"A swamp is where Gators live. We feel comfortable there, but we hope our opponents feel tentative. A swamp is hot and sticky and can be dangerous." While I completely agree with the description of 'hot and sticky', dangerous? Well, only if a drunken Gator supporter falls on you from one of the sky boxes or if an ibis poops on your head (which would fall back into the category of sticky). Tentative? This is NOT a football term, never will be and should on no account be used when describing large, hot, sweaty men bent on inflicting pain on anyone stupid enough to step in their path.

Daron and I enjoyed that closed-in, claustrophobic feel you get while there in the stands and the temperature at field level was probably about 100 F. Since every home game has been sold out since 1979, we felt happy to be a part of the festivites. New since the Urban Meyer Era is a large and extremely loud student section, named the "Swamp Things" on the east side of the stadium. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the #1 toughest place to play. Only Gators get out alive!

Better than seeing Spurrier OR Danny Wuerffel (and you know how much I love Danny), was seeing JT Fridsma march for the very first time with the Pride of the Sunshine. You may not know this, but the "Pride of the Sunshine", the University of Florida's Fightin' Gator Marching Band, was the first marching band in the state of Florida. Much, MUCH before that girls' school in Tallahassee.

"JT, is that uniform WOOL?"

JT and his Fabulous Fridsma Family.

On Sunday, we moved from athletics to fine arts to celebrate Miss Katharine's Sixth Birthday Bash at the Do Art. About ten of Miss K’s nearest and dearest, everyone who was anyone, were there for the merriment. Daron and I were promised an excellent table and Debs came through for us.

Guests painted and were painted, and were treated to a lavish spread of olives, cheeses, assorted crackers, chips, hand-cut peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, juice boxes, salami, pita breads and white wine. High points in the birthday revelry including the lighting of the hot pink and bright green birthday cake, hide and go seek with Uncle David, ‘paint-it-yourself’ pottery, mosaic art and creative face works of art.

Included on the guest list were ~ Alex Martin, escorted by his glamorously tall mom, Tamara; the fleet-footed Anderson Shigo, Miss K’s after-school companion; clever siblings Oliver and Lily accompanied by their extraordinary mom, Gretta; the remarkable Missy and her talented son Alex Garcia; classmates Allen McBride, diligent artist and grape-lover and amazing Alex with expectant mom, Laura; dazzling in pink, Rachel; reunited and enchanting Savanah and her mom, Krissie; and finally EuGene Joung, world traveler, but in the class next door this year.

A good time was had by all and no doubt the memories will linger on.

The party was beautiful, the crowd was beautiful, the day was beautiful, the weekend was beautiful.

Happy Sixth Birthday,

Miss K,

you ROCK!

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