It’s not my feet atop yours dancing the polka
at Cousin Patsy’s wedding. It’s not the photo of us sitting
on the couch that shows our identical chins and slouch
to our backs. It’s the mustard, Dad, the plain yellow mustard
that brings you back to me, every time. One taste
and we’re at Soldier Field, wind blowing off Lake Michigan
like boos from the rival fans. Season tickets, home games,
our long walk from the car to the stadium,
Section A, upper deck, seats hard and cold.
Though bundled in long underwear, two layers
of woolen socks in thick-soled boots, we had to stomp
our feet to keep the circulation going.
We’d yell over the crowd at the concession man,
“Over here, some dogs!” And we waited
as he pulled them out of his silver box, watched
the steam fade, seat by seat, as they were passed
down to us. By the time we took a bite, ice cold.
They were the best dogs we ever ate, and those,
the best days – just the Bears, the crowd, and you
smiling at me, your mouth rimed in mustard.
© by Donna Pflueger.
Used with the author’s permission.