Getting souped up for the game

By Michael Davis

Sunday's big game kicks off at 6:25 p.m. but the party at one couple's house starts hours earlier. Chips, wings and 100 egg rolls are on the menu for one party in Jonesboro.

An almost life-long New England Patriots fan, Lee Cavender and his wife Gena are planning a party at their Jonesboro home complete with all the trappings of football fanaticism.

"We've had (Super Bowl parties) before, but when the Patriots are there, it's huge," Lee Cavender said.

Having rented a 52-inch high-definition TV for the entire month and stocked up on 20 pounds of chicken wings and other party snacks, Cavender and his wife were picking up some of the final decorations for their football bash Thursday?especially those bearing the logo of his favorite team, the Patriots.

"When I was in eighth-grade, I picked a team and that was it. I'm going on 27 years as a Patriots fan," he said.

Cavender said because he knew his team would be going to the Super Bowl, he asked for Friday off a month in advance to prepare for the party. "And I might take Monday as a sick day," he said.

As parties commence throughout the Clayton and Henry counties areas, the Cavender's party will have something most parties won't, however. Lee Cavender said that when his team wins, Clayton County will hear a great noise. "I have a small cannon. When the Patriots win, I'm going to pop the champagne and light the cannon with my victory cigar," he said.

As the Patriots take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, bars and restaurants are hoping to see some of the action?stocking extra supplies and making sure to have a complete staff.

"We've done a little stepping up," said Erin Hulett, manager of the Three Dollar Caf? in McDonough. "Just like we'd do for the other bar holidays like St. Patrick's Day," she added.

Because the restaurant has only been open since late October she said they don't know what kind of crowd to expect for the big game, but would have a full staff.

At other locations she has worked during the game, she said: "It's usually a real fun atmosphere."

At Party City on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow, manager Jerrie Rojales said her store has been stocking up all week on party supplies. Half an aisle and a full display table of football-theme cups and paper plates were stocked up Thursday, but by Friday, she said, started running low. "I've got no table covers, I've got no cups," she said. "By Sunday, we'll have nothing left."