Thursday afternoon, a sort-of-rainy fall afternoon, I came home from work, sat at my kitchen table and ate Ramen noodles.
Do you have any foods you associate with certain people or places? Like, you take one bite, and you remember where you were the first time you had it? Who taught you how to make it, or who told you to try it?
The first time I had Ramen noodles was in fall 2009, my first semester of college.
It was a Thursday night, and I was getting ready for what I was sure would be an awful football game. Football on a Thursday night? With rain in the forecast? No, thanks.
But there’s no “No, thanks” in marching band, so instead of gathering snacks to eat while watching the game in front of my dorm TV, I went to the campus market in search of a fast, warm, soup-like dinner, figuring I could at least be warm inside if I was going to be cold outside. I’d never had Ramen before, but I had heard good things, and the campus market had it on the shelf next to the soup, so I grabbed a pack of chicken-flavored noodles and headed home.
Have I told you that I can’t cook? Here’s the extent to which I can’t cook: I messed up Ramen noodles. I don’t know what I did wrong, but they tasted awful. I ended up with a quasi-edible mess and a vow to never eat Ramen again.
That football game, though, turned into one of my favorite memories.
The rain came, as promised, shutting down our sound system so that the standard pregame pump-up music couldn’t play. Instead, the crowd took it upon itself to fill the silence before the football team took the field.
If you’ve ever been to a University of Missouri sporting event, you’ve heard the cheer.
M! I! Z! from one side.
Z! O! U! from the other.
Even a few months into my freshman year, I had already heard it a billion and a half times. But that time was special.
That time, standing on the field with the band, I couldn’t just hear the cheer; I could feel it. I could literally feel it flying over my head, the rush of air that comes with maybe 60,000 people chanting the same thing at the same time.
It was a lovely, powerful moment, with all those people yelling with such energy and enthusiasm and pride, cheering on a school that I was already crazy about. So, like the sentimental goof I am, I cried a little bit, right there on the football field.
I don’t remember much about that game itself. I know we played Nebraska, but I couldn’t tell you if we won.
But I remember the cheer, and I remember the rain, and, for whatever reason, I remember the Ramen. And so, even five years later, almost every time it rains, I find myself craving Ramen.
This post really doesn’t have much to do with anything, with movies or baking or the stuff you usually find here. The main point is that I miss my university, a whole lot. I was going to write a sappy, heartfelt post about it, but I can’t, so instead you get a story about Ramen noodles, and football, and how a night that started with an embarrassing microwave disaster turned into a memory that still makes me tear up. Thanks for indulging me and reading it.
Here’s my wish for you: I hope that in your life you have many people, places and moments that you love so much that even the simplest things, like noodles that you can get at Wal-Mart for a quarter a pack, remind you of them.
Big hugs, Mizzou. I’ll be back soon.