No ’44 candelabra at this scene . .

     . . . but you can be sure that everything else is usually on hand for a real outdoor gastronomic tailgate orgy! Jeanne and I have been sharing the tailgate scene on Kite Hill with ’44 for more than two decades and these annual Fall football get-togethers never seem to change! . . Whether they take place at Cornell’s Kite Hill or at some other Ivy League parking area, you can always count on 8-15 ’44 cars parked close together . . .

     And there your classmates and/or their spouses, family members, friends, and neighbors partake of the readily available ham, turkey, chili, barbecued ribs, and what have you. A veritable orgy! Winning or losing the game is secondary. As Dotty says, "The party is the thing!"

     Long, long ago, Jeanne and I staked out a spot marked by Kite Hill’s lone tree and there you’ll usually find our two cars and the Webmaster’s RV with its huge "Cornell ’44 banner flapping in the wind (that RV has since been replaced by a more modest van with his "CORN 44" plates).

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     As a semi-fixture at Cornell, lots of my former football and baseball friends whom I’ve coached over the years drop by to just say, "Howdy!", maybe to pick up a rib or two, but always to compare waistlines . . They mix well with you ‘44 people and we’ve never had an altercation over the quite limited amount of turtle soup, Sam Bookbinder’s donation . . Weather? I don’t recall us ever having been rained out at our Homecoming Tailgate Parties although on some Saturdays the temperature calls for turtle necks, heavy sweaters, often heavier overcoats, and sometimes even boots . . . I prefer Slivovica . .

     Beverages? We’re all over 21 and you’ll find us guzzling more than just beer, wine and coffee. As I said, the weather does get chilly - and even raw on occasion - and we’ve been known to fortify ourselves against the elements with both native and imported anti-freezes. As aforementioned, I happen to prefer "Slivo" . . It really puts in a "Fire Below!" that heats up your radiator quickly.

     So you snack . . (shrimp and KFC are also staples) . . then you munch . . and then you settle down to do some serious eating, chatting all the while with your many friends and thinking to yourself, "Isn’t it great to just be alive and to be outdoors on such an occasion?

     The attendance turnout - the actual body count - never seems to offer any problems. As more and more ’44's show, they each add something edible or drinkable to the "tables" and the ensuing spread never does get fully consumed . . What’s surprising to Jeanne and me is that we only bring two bridge tables. Where do all of the rest of the tables come from? . . Look at the photos below:

     While feeding one’s face, along comes an attractive coed sporting Big Red attire and you buy a football program (helping her softball, hockey, polo, or basketball team) - Then there’s always the sudden BIG NOISE! ... 100 or more strong, the Big Red Marching Band does its one grand parade through the entire area and out come the cameras! . . You want more music? . . You stroll over to the corner of the parking area where they entertain us with a stirring pre-game concert . . We might lose the game, but I kid you not, we’ve never lost a pre-game concert yet . .

     I’ll never forget the time Art goodheartedly agreed to let the tuba players load up inside his small RV when they said they wanted to set a new eight person- eight tuba Cornell record. All eight with their tubas loaded aboard his small Winnebago and who knows? Maybe they did set a record.

     Is that the end? . . No! . . There’s the matter of the game itself and when that crumpling in the Crescent is over, your entire ‘44 gang - Jeanne and I included - head over to the ’44 Memorial Room in nearby Bartels Hall . . .

     What goes on there? . . When you’ve finished reading this page and enjoying its several photo spreads, CLICK onto the Homecoming drop down above ... and ’44 byliner Howie Evans will fill you in on the customary post-game "Hale and Hearty" that takes place in your ’44 Memorial Room . . This gathering offers ’44's and their guests wine, cheese, cider, and, of course, all of the food - ham, turkey, etc. -that was not consumed at our earlier pre-game Tailgate Party.

     Don’t think for a moment that this Tailgate camaraderie is limited to Tompkins County . . You ’44's have tailgated together all over the northeast - You’ve parked and partaked at Princeton, at Baker Field in NYC, and in Providence, Hanover, Philadelphia, and New Haven. There’ll be more on this in a separate Tailgates 2 page in the website, a page written by your classmate, Lila Savada, who’s a perennial at these outings.

     I know the that lure of our tailgating together isn’t tied to the food or the Slivo . . it’s the constant renewing of our longtime friendships! . . It really has been great fun partying with you ’44's. . and Jeanne and I look forward to continuing to do more of the same well into the future.

Ted Thoren
, Honorary Member, Class of ’44
 
 
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