These are confusing times for the men and women on the bar stools in the Fox River Valley towns of Wisconsin.
With their shot and a beer comes the inevitable talk of Brett Favre. Some will be wearing their sacred No. 4 Packers jerseys as they belly up. Since the early 1990s, Favre has been the deity and they have knelt before him.
To live in this area for an extended period of time, to call Sheboygan or Appleton or Fond du Lac home, is to better understand it and its people. They work hard, pay bills on time, plan around Friday night fish fries, put the snow tires on in late October and live and die with their Green Bay Packers.
A Sunday afternoon during Packers season is slow death to a local business, unless that business is a sports bar. Even if it isn’t snowing, the streets empty and the TV sets hum. For most, the big city is Chicago and the bright lights of New York and Los Angeles are TV images of scary crowds, scarier freeways and horrifying crime.
In many of these towns, there is little reason, or inclination, to lock your doors at night.
When Favre was delivered unto them, lo those 16 years ago, he was the answer to prayers that there could be a reincarnation of Bart Starr.
Starr was a soft-spoken Southerner who said yes-sir and no-sir, won big games in a quiet and efficient manner, and never, ever put ego before team.