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Inbox: The memories make it all worth it

WR Geronimo Allison
WR Geronimo Allison

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the second-annual “Outsiders Inbox.” It’s such a smashing success I even forgot what I titled it last year. Anyway, today’s edition will feature the first six questions I posed Tuesday (in italics). Like last year, we had a tremendous response, so my apologies if I didn’t post your response. I’m grateful to everyone who passed along their stories. I wish I could post them all. Any comments I make are listed after the answer in parentheses, but I mostly tried to stay out of it again. OK, let’s get started. Good morning and Happy Fourth of July!

1) What is the most coveted piece of Packers memorabilia you own?

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

My most valuable piece of memorabilia as of now is the banner from the opener last season – celebrating 100 seasons of Packers football, opening the season against our longest rival, emotionally defeated at halftime with Rodgers going down, and the great comeback. Video clips don't do justice to how loud the stadium was when Randall Cobb broke towards the end zone.

Lee from Sunbury, OH

Aside from my stock certificate, I would say my Brett Favre rookie cards that have his name misspelled. At my age, I am more about enjoying the ride and experiences that come from watching the games either at home or at a stadium!

Steve from Fergus Falls, MN

My most cherished Packer memorabilia is the one I am currently building, a 3D model of Lambeau Field. I am going to place a yellow star with the No. 15 inserted in it on the South end zone on the right hash mark. I don't know if this is the plan for the real Lambeau Field but it's going to be the plan for mine.

Jeff from Milwaukee, WI

My most coveted piece of Packers memorabilia is an autographed photo of Reggie White. In elementary school, we all wrote letters to sports players, actors/actress, or other famous persons. I chose Reggie White and he responded with a written letter and an autographed photo. It was pretty cool and is still hanging in my basement today.

Kathy from Spartanburg, SC

Wes, my most coveted piece of Packers’ memorabilia is a box of Frozen Tundra from the 1996-1997 season. My sister, Mary, received this from former Packer Eric Torkelson, She then gifted it to me. Family and Packers - priceless!

Dan from Minnetonka, MN

Hi Wes. I've been reading for a few years but first time submitting to share this story. My most coveted Packers memorabilia would be my green-and-gold Cub Scout pinewood derby car. On the morning of Jan. 26, 1997, it won the pinewood derby, and Super Bowl XXXI was that evening. The car must have been good luck. I was assigned No. 33 based on alphabetical order, so I have always thought of it as the "Doug Evans" car. It had a green-and-gold clad LEGO driver and a Packers helmet cut out from the newspaper as decoration.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

While I have more memorabilia than I have room for, the answer is easy, my very first piece, my B&W autographed picture of Bart Starr, from the early ‘60s. "Dear Douglas, Best Wishes, Bart Starr.” Second, my picture of Bart, Brett, and Aaron. Oddly enough, both were Christmas presents. The first, from my parents, and the second, from my sons. Gifts like this, and what they mean to me, are great bookends to a lifetime of Packer memories.

Grady from Menomonie, WI

My most coveted piece of Packers memorabilia is a signed Brett Favre print that hangs in my home office. The story of how I acquired it is why it is so special to me. My grandfather received the print as a birthday present. Grandpa was the biggest Packers fan and he proudly displayed it in his Packers room. After my grandfather's passing in December 2007, my grandmother told me that grandpa would want me to have his Favre print and gave it to me as a gift. It has been hanging in my office since.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

I sent a Jordy Nelson card and a letter to Lambeau, C/O the Packers with no expectation of ever seeing it again. My assumption was that all mail to the facility was categorically filled in to a large hopper for shredding. I received the card back a few weeks or months later, signed. All I can think about when I see it hanging on the wall is that this man took the time to open my letter, sign a card, and send it back. Classy, humble move by him. Now I have a great story to tell my kids.

Mark from Naperville, IL

My ‘CHZHD66’ license plates. Initially, I wanted ‘CHZHD4’ but they weren’t available. No. 12 was ‘my number’ growing up but 12 wasn’t used by anyone of significance at the time, so I went with a Hall of Famer (Ray Nitschke’s 66. Boy, I should have just gone with 12. Doh!

Tony from Aurora, CO

I was lucky enough to grow up in GB, and my parents were well acquainted with a number of people in the Packers organization. As a result, I got to hang out with Bart and Cherry Starr a couple times. I have a picture of me as a kid wearing a Jerry Kramer 64 jersey, holding a small plastic Chargers football (because a family friend who worked under Lombardi coached a year in SD). Bart signed it, “To Tony, a real tiger.” I had no idea how cool that was at the time.

Visitors enjoyed the free exhibit with activities, photo sessions, and interactive games. The traveling exhibit will stay at Summerfest until July 7.

2) What is your favorite food to make on game day?

Nathan from Maplewood, MN

One-hundred percent brats. Buy some beer and onions, and let them boil for a bit and finish on the grill.

Laura from Milwaukee, WI

Beer-cheese nachos. Create a homemade beer cheese with leftover beer used to boil brats, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Melt and combine before pouring over chips and your favorite nacho toppings. Works even better when using a nice flavorful craft beer of your choice.

Andrew from Tilleda, WI

With a little luck in the woods come fall, I grill bear steaks when we play the Bears. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out. (It's frowned upon to eat Vikings and Lions, I'm told).

Mark from Eau Claire, WI

Our tradition is tomato soup with a clump of sour cream served with two grilled cheese sammiches. One plain for dunkin' and the other with blueberry jelly with an ice cold glass of milk. (Looks around nervously....Velveeta)

Larry from Carney, MI

What is your favorite food to make on game day? Game day or not, my mother always made chili every Sunday when I was growing up. She’s 90 now and still does.

Luke from Waxahachie, TX

I really enjoy smoking a brisket on game day. The prep/cook time is more than 10 hours, which gives myself plenty of time to prepare the house for guests. Friends and family come over, we have time to catch up and talk a little smack before the games start. It's a lot of work but it's all worth it in the end, making memories is what it's all about because “Football is Family.” Cowboy fans next door are tempted by the smell to come by; it all depends if they still have a bad taste in their mouth from No. 12.

Erik from Sisters, OR

Favorite game day food for our family is taco cheese dip and guacamole. Gotta love the green and gold color combo and the kids actually eat it.

Stephen from Winchester, VA

BBQ is one of my hobbies so I like to make my Asian-fusion BBQ ribs. I use Korean kalbi marinade instead of a traditional BBQ rub or sauce and smoke them for a couple hours. I get requests from friends all the time for those.

Nick from Spencer, IA

Favorite game day food is Rumaki. Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts tossed in soy sauce, and then microwaved. My first memory was during the Super Bowl XXXI season and we would eat this every playoff game. This is still a must-eat on big game days and has since been passed down to the fourth generation in our family.

Will from Rochester, MN

Early season? Chips and dip. Late season is all chili, baby!

Bob from Colby, KS

Brat in a bun: Sandwich or not? (I thought we solved this brainbuster during last year’s Outsiders Inbox).

3) Bubbler or water fountain?

Al from Pasadena, CA

Definitely bubbler. My wife was working at a Fortune 500 corporation in Pasadena. They had just hired a new director who passed by my wife in the hallway and asked where a bubbler was. My wife immediately suspected she might be from Sheboygan, my hometown. She was, so she put her on the phone with me to talk some Sheboyganese. Of course out here on the left coast everyone would say, “A what?”

Jake from Atlanta, GA

One-hundred percent “water fountains.” They don’t bubble. They don’t make anything else bubble. Therefore, not “bubblers.”

Andy from St. Paul, MN

I went through Naval Officer Candidate School, one of the final exams for Hell Week was answering questions after being up for 24 hours. A senior classman from Wisconsin asked, “What do we call a drinking fountain in Wisconsin?” Only three of us got it right, “Bubbler, Sir!”

Robert from Elkhorn, WI

While growing up I always called it a bubbler. After high school, I joined the Army and while being stationed with individuals from around the country, I picked up calling it a water fountain. I don't get it, but I've been back in Wisconsin for almost 14 years and I still can't call it a bubbler.

Kevin from Jupiter, FL

Bubbler? What the heck is a Bubbler? Just kidding I lived in Wisconsin for 30 years, but I can tell you this when I say,” Bubbler,” people down here look at me like I’m from the planet Jupiter.

Lucas from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Definitely a bubbler. I believe this goes back to the Kohler Company’s model of a “water fountain” that they called a bubbler. My favorite instance was freshman year in a writing course I asked the professor, who was from a South American country, where the closest bubbler was and she looked at me like I had tentacles. Bubbler for life!

Robert from Bear, DE

Back in the 1940s to ‘60s, from late spring to early fall, small town Wisconsin downtown street corners had porcelain “bubblers” with circular top basins, some with the water constantly bubbling straight up, others with a handle to turn the water on to bubble up. Maybe the water bubbling straight up and falling back on the metal spigot spreading every drinker’s germs on the spigot wasn’t the most sanitary, but for memory’s sake you gotta love riding your bike up to the bubbler on the street corner, leaning over and slurping up the bubbling up cool water. The bubbler it is.

Michelle from Camp Lejeune, NC

My upbringing in Wisconsin tells me that it’s definitely a bubbler. However, after living outside of WI (California, Sri Lanka, Benin, and North Carolina) for 12 years and thanks to being married to a Marine, I now call it a water fountain. When even my kids were giving me confused looks when I called it a bubbler, I knew it was time to change my ways.

Robert from Harris, MN

I'm a bubbler guy living in a water fountain land. I'm a soda guy living in a pop world. I'm a fan of championship football living....well here.

4) Which game are you most looking forward to this season?

Darren from Warrington, United Kingdom

Without a doubt, it’s the home opener against the Vikings. It will be my third trip to Green Bay and first since 1997 when the Packers dismantled the Cowboys 45-17.

Jeffrey from Wentzville, MO

Kansas City. Rodgers vs. Mahomes = Instant Classic!

Chistow from Dallas, TX

The game I’m looking most forward to this season? Week 5 against the Cowboys. I married into a big family of Cowboys fans and work with an office full of them. I would love nothing more than to watch the Pack win with all of my in-laws and then walk into work wearing my Aaron Rodgers jersey the day after that game. Maybe one more good time of beating them will make them quit talking about the 2014 “Dez caught it” game.

Ken from New York, NY

Packers-Giants, because that matchup has as much a legendary feel to it as Packers-Bears. We should soak it in and enjoy it whenever we get that one.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

One of the games I always look forward to is any game against the 49ers. When I moved to the Bay Area the Packers were the Niners’ punching bag. One day at work, after the Niners had lost three games in a row with Steve Young at QB, I walked by a guy in the parking lot scraping his 49er bumper sticker off his car. "The team sucks" he said. We were in the middle of the Packer winning drought. The 49ers won the Super Bowl that year. I relished when GB started beating them, and still do.

Neal from Ft. Worth, TX

The game I most look forward to is the Dallas game. My son and I will be four rows back on the Packers sideline and we plan to make the rally the night before. I’ll bring you and Mike some good ole smoked baby back ribs, if it’s allowed.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

The game I'm most looking forward to is Packers at Chargers. I was at the 2011 San Diego game and it was an amazing environment. Didn't go to LA, tickets were ridiculous on secondary market. Got great tickets right away this time! GPG!

Tim from Reno, NV

I’m most looking forward to the Packers’ first playoff game in three years, not with expectation but with renewed hope.

5) Which rookie’s jersey are you most likely to buy and why?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Darnell Savage. I mean, it has to be Savage.

Dan from Cromwell, CT

I bought a Jaire Alexander jersey last year, which I’ll be donning on Week 1. For a new rookie, I would go Jace Sternberger as I think he'll be huge part of the future.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Rashan Gary's No. 52 to continue the Clay Matthews tradition.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Kingsley Keke. Great name. He will be turning heads in 2019 and beyond and I'm getting on the bandwagon early.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Darnell Savage. All of my life I have been a huge wrestling fan and my favorite wrestler of all time is "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Watching the draft, my wife was reading, paying hardly any attention, but when she heard his name called for the Packers, she looked at me and said, "Well, I guess you'll be getting that jersey." I smiled and gave her an "Oh yeah!" in my best Macho Man voice.

Check out photos of Packers players looking their best.

6) How did you become a Packers fan?

Lori from Brookfield, WI

I became a Packers fan for two reasons. 1. My Dad was a Green Bay fan and it was a way to relate to him. 2. As a child, I was allowed to watch 1 hour of TV each day or a complete football game. I did the math.

Bill from Eagle Lake, MN

The 1960 Eagles-Packers Championship game and I'm 9 years old. We didn't have a TV so my dad took me the see game, over my mother’s objections, at the bar my aunt and uncle owned. His reasoning was that they had been bad for so long that this would probably be my one chance to see to see them in a championship game. That was seven championships ago.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I was born in Milwaukee in 1951 and my dad was a fan. When I was in grade school in Muskego my uncle lived about a mile away and had two season tickets to games in Milwaukee. My aunt was strictly a fair weather fan, so if the weather was bad her response was call Dean, he'll go. When I was in fourth grade some Packers were playing some of the local faculty at Muskego High and during halftime my little league team played and after I got to meet players in the locker room.

Ben from Manchester, UK

I became a Packers fan during the 2016 "Run the table" season. I knew very little of the NFL up until then, but that happened to be the season I started to take an interest. I remember exactly where I was when Rodgers made that statement and thinking "Yeah, right." Fast forward a few weeks to me celebrating wildly after Mason Crosby's kick against Dallas and I knew then I would always be a Packers fan.

Dave from Gainesville, VA

I became a Packer fan almost by accident. Growing up in Central NY, I was subjected to almost exclusively the old NFC East and AFC East games, so was almost a Dolphins fan. When I entered kindergarten, I met a distant cousin who had a Packers player poster on his wall. I immediately loved the uniforms and the rest is history – 47 years’ worth.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

I came to Wisconsin in 1981 to visit my sister when I got out of the Navy. I’m originally from Iowa, where there isn’t an NFL team. I didn't even follow football. Seeing how excited my sister got during Packers games got me hooked. (Side note: Bart Starr was the head coach. I met him shortly after moving here but didn't know who he was. He came as advertised - a real gentleman).

Vincent from Sioux Falls, SD

The first NFL game I ever watched was in 1966 when I was a mere 6 years old. I was at Grandma's for Thanksgiving and was very bored, so I went upstairs in the attic where my Grandpa had a cot and a small black-and-white TV. I started watching a football game and I noticed the quarterback for one of the teams name was “Bart Starr.” Wow, what a cool name! He must be a Starr! I’ve been fan ever since.

David from Greeneville, TN

Wes, I want to thank you and Spoff for your efforts and wish you a Happy Fourth. How did I become a fan? Simple. In 1971 when I was six years old living in South Carolina, I received a pair of Green Bay Packers pajamas for Christmas. That gift sparked an interest in the team. I grew up to buy a share of stock, a customized jersey, and a Vince Lombardi lunchbox (in that order). I wish I still had those pajamas. We never know how much fruit will grow from one tiny seed.

Bret from Sycamore, IL

Watching Don Majkowski and the Cardiac-Pack made me a Packers fan. What an exciting season to watch, without making the playoffs. That season, and the instant replay game, are what made me a Packers fan. Watching the next two quarterbacks has been enjoyable also.

Sean from Aubrey, TX

What day did I become a Packers fan? That's easy, it was September 20, 1992. It was my seventh birthday and the game that happened to be on was the Packers vs. Bengals. Halfway through the game the GB QB got hurt and a young man by the name of Brett Favre came in. The rest is history. One year to the day on my eighth birthday, I got what would be my first of many Favre jerseys. Twenty five years later to the day on September 20, 2017, I passed that exact jersey onto my oldest daughter. It was a special day.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Packer-backing is in my blood. My grandfather was Curly Lambeau's first cousin and played on the early sandlot teams. We stayed at St. Norbert during training camp. We shagged balls, got water, and answered phone calls for the players (women were calling for Paul Hornung all hours). We became honorary rookies and had to sing in front of the team. In college, I worked for Bart Starr. I have so much more detail but no space!

Chris from Titusville, FL

How did I become a Packer fan? Well, my father was a Packers fan. He was born in 1948, and when I asked him how he became a Packer fan, he said that back in the early 60s you really only got to see a couple teams on TV. He chose the Green Bay Packers. Fast forward to 2010 and I found a bunch of half siblings of my dad's. They live in Wisconsin. It was thanks to them that we not only discovered family, but also got to finally see Lambeau Field for the first time and do it together. A great memory (And the memories make it all worth it).

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