Somehow, today has become a tradition for us.
Super Bowl Sunday.
And the tradition goes like this: sometime around 2 p.m., my wife Kim dusts off the crock pot, throws in several cans of beans — at least five different varieties of beans, if you must know — along with some ground turkey, chili pepper, crushed tomatoes and maybe one or two other items I probably don't know about, and then sets the pot on simmer.
Then, if she hasn't already done it the night before, she makes a sinfully simple chocolate mousse that she puts in elegant champagne glasses.
In the meantime, I'm lounging on the sofa watching all the pregame stuff.
All this would be tradition enough, but about six years ago, I invited my friend Donnie Roberts to come join us. I don't remember what sparked the invitation in the first place. A few years earlier, I think, we invited some friends over and about eight of us crammed ourselves into our 20 X 20 mini-den to watch the Super Bowl. I ended up sitting cross-legged on the floor because we had no more chairs, and no more room to put one down even if we did find an extra chair.
That was the year, I believe, of the infamous wardrobe malfunction. That was also the year, I think, that our cat Mosey jumped up on the dining room table in the next room and started lapping at the football-shaped cheese ball Kim had prepared. Mosey must have gone at it for at least five minutes before anyone noticed. She was almost up to the laces.
So the annual tradition of having a group chili party at the Wehrle house didn't last but one year after that Super Bowl.
Anyway, we've had Donnie over for the past five Super Bowls or so, deciding maybe just one guest was the way for us to go. Donnie is an exceptionally talented photographer for The Dispatch who has been with the paper for more than 20 years, winning a truckload of awards for his art and his craft. I've known him for his entire Dispatch career, of course, since that is where I worked for 30 years.
A few summers ago, we'd play golf once a week until his rotator cuff or something knocked him out of the game.
Anyway, we're slightly changing the tradition this time around. We're going to his place. He recently began renting a nice house and he's got an HDTV, something that I don't have. So we're moving the party. Kim will still make her five-bean chili and silky mousse, but we're going to transport it to Donnie's just before kickoff, where he'll be waiting for us with a variety of micro brews of his selection.
My prediction for the game? My brain says the 49ers, although my heart says the Ravens.
But I'm pretty sure the chili will be gone in no time.