Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Memories

Sometimes, through very little things, big memories are awakened, the kind of memories that you have carried in your heart for a long time, and then you share them, and in the other person they resonate like a wonderful, huge bell.

This happened to me today when my friend Ginny talked about the Super Bowl and its commercials, and I told her about the Cannes Commercials Prize in return. It was a typical, nonsensical facebook chat about nothing important, where everyone strives to be as funny and original as possible to amuse the others, and it really meant nothing.

But in Ginny in brought back a memory of another Super Bowl, and she wrote it down and sent it to me in a message, and it rang said bell in me. I asked Ginny if I could post it as a blog, which surprised her more than anything else, and she asked me why I wanted to do this. I can't rightly explain. It's just that this is the kind of story I would want to tell, a personal, touching story of a family and how their Super Bowl night will always be connected to that moment in their life.

Here is Ginny's story.

There was one ad in 2005, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser, that had me in tears. In November of 2004, Sarah told us she was going to Afghanistan for a year, leaving in Feb 2005. At Christmas, she told us (confirmed for me) that she is a lesbian. In January, she began her 6 weeks of pre-deployment training with the rest of the 249th General Hospital. (Keep in mind that even this early, there was lots of anti-war sentiment everywhere, even in the States, and DADT was very much in place).

Meanwhile, the Super Bowl went on as usual. We were in Salt Lake City and were invited to a 'party' at a more upscale sports bar. The party sponsors, Solar Turbines, had several tables. It was noisy, of course, but also sort of family oriented so there was a group of teenagers nearby who were extra noisy. We were actually having trouble hearing some of the commercials; but, hey - they're just commercials, right? Then comes a shot of the interior of an airport terminal - lots of people standing around - then a soldier, (at this point you can hear a pin drop in the restaurant) and another, then a whole unit. The crowd parts - and one after another they begin to applaud. At this point, I had tears rolling down my face and needed to blow my nose (thank goodness the napkins were paper). And then I had to explain... I think I only saw that ad one other time; I cried then, too.

I don't know if the ad had anything to do with this, but later that year, when Sarah came home on leave, she came to Phoenix through Dallas. There were several other soldiers coming through customs as well and they exited together. Outside customs, where they needed to separate and go to their connecting gates, there was a group of greeters waiting - they began applauding and handing out thank you gifts and snacks. Sarah said it was very warming and she was very grateful - especially so when she got on her next flight and the woman sitting next to her looked her up and down and said, "So! How does it feel to kill women and babies?" (Sarah was a combat medic; never left the hospital compound, never fired her weapon once in the entire year and, even if she had, it would have been at armed combatants, not women and babies.) The woman then stood at the rear of the aircraft talking to the flight attendants for the rest of the flight. Sarah is very forgiving. I'm still angry enough that I would like to find that woman and slap her silly.

But I still get a little teary when I think about that ad. (btw, as of Nov 21, 2010, Sarah has completed her duty to the army and is fully and honorably discharged.)

Thank you, Ginny, for letting me share this.


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mariam Kobras, Mariam Kobras. Mariam Kobras said: Super Bowl Memories [...]

  2. First, that commercial made me cry, too. It must have been played somewhere else, or I saw it online. I think the ad is perfection.

    Second, that woman needs to be gagged and bound, and maybe tarred and feathered, too. What a jerk.

  3. A follow-up - last week in San Diego (we were there for a completely different reason), one of the gentlemen from Solar who was at the Salt Lake party invited the Williams folks who were in San Diego for an hors d'oeuvres supper and harbor cruise on the fishing yacht that Solar owns. I had not seen him since the night of the party in 2005. As he welcomed us onto the boat and shook my hand, he said, "How is your daughter? Didn't she go to Afghanistan?" I almost cried again.