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A BEARCAT SEDER

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I KNOW IT'S CLOSER TO HANUKKAH BUT THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF PASSING OVER LATELY, JUST GO WITH IT

BOY: Papa, why this night different from all other nights?

FATHER: Because, my son, tonight is the night I tell you the story of our people, the Bearcats.

BOY: Wait, seriously, you never shut up about them

FATHER: quiet, boy I'm doing a thing here. Now, first, take of this container of food.

BOY: why is it that on all other nights we eat real food, but tonight we eat this takeout?

FATHER: well, partly, your mother has a thing tonight.

BOY: couldn't we have ordered pizza like normal people?

FATHER: no I yelled at the pizza place last time, we're not allowed to order from them anymore

BOY: okay, so why are we eating spaghetti?

FATHER: we eat the spaghetti, its many strands curling and weaving amongst each other, to remind ourselves of the disparate and winding paths taken by those who make up the Bearcats. Of Coach Tuberville going from Ole Miss to Auburn to Lubbock to Cincinnati, or of Gunner Kiel going from Indiana to LSU to Notre Dame to the Bearcats, we all must follow a slippery path of discovery.

BOY: and the meat?

FATHER: we take of this low-grade beef, ground finely and simmered long, to symbolize the toil made by our compatriots, as we grind ourselves in pursuit of a common goal, and meld in the pot of teamwork into a stew of brotherhood.

BOY: and the cheese?

FATHER: the cheese symbolizes patience and planning, my son. As our ancestors learned to process and age milk into long-lasting cheeses, we too must trust in a careful process of aging, curing and solidifying. Only once we are a solid can we be truly grate.

BOY: please don't make puns, I'm getting tired of this bit already

FATHER: hi Tired of this bit already I'm Dad

BOY, sighing: back to the food. Why is it on this night that we eat of the beans?

FATHER: well, not everyone eats of the beans, but we do. The beans symbolize the earth from which they spring. You must connect with the ground below you, take of its strength, and use it to build your own.

BOY: oh yeah you've gotta have a good running game

FATHER: just run the dang ball amiright

BOY: and the onions? Why did you order onions, when you know I don't like them?

FATHER: because I'm the one paying for this food and you can just deal. Also, the onions symbolize the tears we must shed as we struggle through the difficulties of a long season in pursuit of our goals. Something about layers, too. Onions have layers, y'know.

BOY: work on that part a little harder next time

FATHER: I kinda rushed this whole thing to be honest

BOY: and the spices, papa, what's the deal with the spices?

FATHER: Yes, my son, the spices symbolize stuff too. The spicy cinnamon, the aromatic cloves and allspice, the bitter cocoa, they represent the many strong emotions we feel watching a season unfold.

BOY: didn't the onions already do that?

FATHER: please just let me get through this

BOY: and then, papa, the tangle of spaghetti, the porridge of meat, the bright mound of cheese, the beans and the onions, the distinctive and aromatic spices, why is it that we combine them all together, on this night unlike any other?

FATHER: because, my son, we must know the truth

BOY: and that is?

FATHER: sometimes you put a lot of great ingredients together and you just end up with an embarrassing disaster in a bowl

BOY, curling nose: can we just get Popeye's next time?

FATHER: I would have much preferred that, yes.