There are some fall memories that are uniquely Houston; Sticky, oppressive heat (but, pleasantly, not so much today) , hurricanes, Gatorfest (over yonder in Anahuac) and Houston Texans football.
Since our home team has never made a playoff appearance in its not so-storied history, we've mastered the art of the NFL tailgate with gusto, because, until this year, we've not had a lot to look forward once the game starts.
The beauty of the Texans tailgate is the giant melting pot of fans, food, beverages, temperatures and smells. It's a cross section of Houston's core as everyday people mingle with past astronauts and potential Iron Chefs (no, really, I hung out with Bryan Caswell and a space man during the infamous Cowboys game tailgate) amid the mouth-watering aroma of sizzling onions and peppers, presumably for a batch of fresh, smoky fajitas or Italian sausage hoagies.
You’ll find food, beverages and people of every color, ethnicity and background with a common purpose — pre-game partying.
There are mulleted dudes partying with stilettoed fashionistas wearing dresses made of an oversized football jersey and a rhinestone belt, CEOs sipping bourbon with school teachers, and it’s all happening in one giant parking lot — which as of this Sunday, requires you to have a ticket to the game or a special tailgating ticket (of which there are only 2,000) for entry.
Arbitrary new rules notwithstanding, the one thing that strikes me is the overwhelmingly friendly attitude of everyone roaming the asphalt. No lines are drawn between the races, the social classes, the sexes — only between teams, and even that's with a smile.
Nearly everyone is willing to give you a top off of barbecue sauce, beer or even the hard-to-find water if you ask nicely, because in the end, we’re all stuck in this eight-year-long rut together and by the beard of Zeus, this is our year.
We’re even willing to share a hometown beer with a Cowboys fan every now and then.