Hour 23: 2:52 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22
It's always the right time for ice cream.
Sparky the dog sits patiently on the street, waiting. They'll be here soon, just like they are every Saturday of the season. They'll notice him first because he's closer to the ground, like them.
"Mom, look at the dog," they shout.
Mom looks. Then she notices the ice cream shop. There's an exchange of glances. Between parent and child. Between the adults. There's sunshine, fall colors and a gentle breeze today. So what if Missouri didn't win? Ice cream sounds perfect right now.
They all walk in and go straight to the counter of colors and flavors. This is decision time for them, just like it was for the players on the field.
Which flavor? Cups or cones? How many scoops?
When the transactions are done, they settle down to enjoy their picks. The older kids sit inside, scrambling to find the best seats around a table they've marked their own. They all have cups.
The moms sit outside, the younger ones in tow. They all have cones. The kids are taking turns sitting on Sparky.
The sea of black and gold moves down the street, hungry fans looking for food. Now children notice people enjoying ice cream before they notice the dog. The temptation is too strong.
Within minutes, a line forms inside the shop.
There’s a mom with two teenage girls, one dressed in shiny golden shoes, the other in heels. There’s a group of college students. There are two tall men, towering above everyone else.
Soon, a group of Cowboys fans joins the line, their bright orange T-shirts standing out like flames amid the black and gold. One of them has cowboy boots on. Everyone in the shop notices them but pretends not to.
Then a woman wearing a Mizzou jersey walks past and pats one of the men on the arm.
"Good game," she says.
"Thanks," he says, and smiles.
It's another football Saturday in Columbia.