When friend Adam grows up to be Willy Wonka, I am going to be glad that I know him. I’m very glad to know Adam now, in fact. His planning and generosity for his annual Reuniafest spectacular are unparalleled. I know he would rather grow up to be Willie the Wildcat than any Willy Wonka, but still. Reuniafest is the great glass elevator of friendship.
We begin this gallery on the north side of Chicago at 7 a.m. Saturday. The photos then continue through to the tailgate, game and night…
Not pictured: Great bacon, egg and spiced biscuits. The mimosas. The beer Adam home-brewed. The TV in the truck. The growls and cheers in the stands. The school song where I still don’t know all the words. The heartbreaker of a late loss to Michigan State. The consolation that Northwestern, win or lose, has a tradition of nerve-wracking football.
Also not pictured: The traffic on the long drive home. The fact that we didn’t mind so much. The deepest nap I’ve taken all year, enough to wake from it in a panic attack. The dinner at Bad Apple (to come in a separate post). The return to the morning’s bar, this time the familiar basement room. The reunions with others, just arriving. The legal-size purple Northwestern playing cards (Coach Fitz as the king, Willie as the queen, QB Dan Pensa as the Jack) and the Flash handiwork for a game of Card Sharks with dozens of us. The friends who grabbed my coat after I forgot it. The cabbie who put up with a near-coat-detour. The dreams of a friend who believes in bringing his friends together, and the conversations, the decade-understanding abbreviations, the Chi glow, the quiet-or-loud gladness to be near each other for a day.