My dad exhaled at the exact right moment on December 31, 1967 and we’ve been seeing his icy mug ever since.
Frozen breath frames his baby face in one of the more dramatic images from one of the NFL’s most dramatic games.
Born in Colver, Pennsylvania and raised among the snowy hills of mining country, my Dad rarely let Wisconsin winters affect his plans. He used to snow blow the entire block wearing nothing but a flannel shirt, jeans and a clumpy pair of boots.
“Your father and I had taken turns the night before standing next to your bed in the hospital,” my mom said. “We were up all night and the next morning your dad had the gout.”
The touching image of parental devotion — two young parents keeping vigil over their three-year old daughter, who was dehydrated from a nasty case of the flu, provides a warm contrast to the frosty Ice Bowl images.
“That’s so sweet,” I said. “Poor dad, though. I’ve seen his shoes. There’s not a lot of padding. And that field looked frozen solid.”
“You know,” she said. “I don’t even remember being that cold. I had hand warmers and foot warmers on and one of those big orange things you see…”
“You were wearing a snow mobile suit?”
“Yes,” she laughed. “We used to get all dressed up for the games — high heels, teased hair, the whole bit. But, not for that game.”
“Wait a minute,” I said slowly. “Dad and you were so worried about me that you stayed all night in the hospital and took turns standing over my bed.”
“That’s right,” she said.
“Then Dad had to play the entire game with the gout.”
“Yes,” she said.
“And you watched the whole thing from the stands, wearing a giant orange snow mobile suit.”
“But, then, who stayed in the hospital with me?”
“Honestly, I have no idea,” she said.
Still, the legend of the Ice Bowl rolls on…
Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But in the mighty Ice Bowl, Kostelnik had the gout.
(P.S. Here’s another Ice Bowl story making the rounds…)
And, here’s one of the many videos of the big game: