Super Bowl Sunday with Englishman Christopher Round – My Favorite Super Bowl Sunday and it was in NOLA!
It was January and I found myself in New Orleans in 1992. I had spent the week in the city for NAPTE (at the time this was a major international convention.) Such trips are always better because I make it a rule to tack a few days on either end. A tour of plantations captured my Saturday. But Sunday brunch in a bar soon began to erupt as I clung to my table waiting for friends. It was a Super Bowl Sunday and I was sandwiched inside a sports bar not far from the Convention Center. If my friends did arrive they would never get close enough to ever find me. I reluctantly gave up a chair. Two young Brits also muscled over and asked to join the table as they made themselves comfortable in what appeared to be the last empty chairs in the entire bar. The place was so packed I decided to make the best of it – and I didn’t see any way out just then.
Once the game rolled it was so loud I couldn’t hear the Brit next to me. He kept asking me about rules and referee calls. It was too loud to explain I didn’t know squat about the game! (Four girls and ten boys made up my entire senior high school class. Our school had sports teams but one injury and we could forfeit an entire season! I attended a fashion and merchandising institute instead of college so no initiation there, and then I lived in Europe a few years and never really followed spectator sports. I was definitely not the right person to answer his questions.) The other Brit still had a camera slung around his neck and his face poked in a big white bag of newly processed photos.
A flourish of hand signals and I exchanged seats with the young guy eager to learn every football nuance. This placed him next to someone who eagerly prattled on about the technical side of the game, and I was sitting with someone I could relate to. His name was Christopher Round, “round like the circle.” Fresh excitement lit up his face as he shared each tourist photo that documented his journey since leaving England. We exchanged calling cards at the end of the raucous afternoon and I parted saying something like, “If you ever journey to the West coast give a call. My friends and I will show you one of the most beautiful states and make sure you get a square meal or two.”
My phone rang about 3 or 4 am several weeks later. Chris Round’s cheerful accent greeted my groggy “Hello?” Christopher was on his way West.
“Where are you?” I blurted.
“Chicago I think.”
“Okay. Well…I mean…well, we’ll see you sometime then. Call when you get closer.”
I don’t recall every detail but Christopher Round did eventually arrive. He didn’t have any problem fitting right in at my little farm. It was a wonderful spring and he trimmed and pruned his way around the acreage. Laughter was abundant, so were good meals and drinks. My teenage daughter and her friends all enjoyed him (Chris was closer to their age than mine.) He was in no hurry to move on so there were several side trips to the coast and the mountains.
Then almost as suddenly as he arrived, Chris announced he would be grateful for a ride to the airport. His parents were flying over and meeting him in San Francisco. After a few weeks touring with them he planned to make his way to Australia. Perhaps a year later another midnight call reported Chris was traveling with a gal and was somewhere like New Zealand . . . he and his girlfriend were working on a long itinerary of worldly sites and accomplishments.
I wonder where the delightful Mr. Round is these days. Can’t help thinking about him from time to time, especially like tomorrow when it is Super Bowl Sunday and the game is in New Orleans too. I hope he thinks of us too and is cheering for the 49er’s with me. I have googled him a time or two in the past but maybe one day he will pop up with a wife, kids, maybe even a critter owner. Chris was great with all our animals too.
Wherever you are Christopher, I hope you are still following your dreams!
Keep an open mind everybody and enjoy the next character that walks through that open door. Don’t live your life in FEAR – Let your intuition guide you.