When Allison Colton began her first year at Iowa State University in Des Moines, Iowa, in September, she was nearly 1,160 miles away from her Belmont hometown, literally halfway across the country.
But early on Thursday, Allison packed her bags and headed to Des Moines International Airport for a trip back to Boston and a special date.
Since she was about six months old, Allison and her father, Roger, have had a standing commitment: Friday night at Fenway Park. It was their time together to cheer on their team, the Boston Red Sox.
And this Friday was a special date: being present to celebrate the centennial of Fenway Park. Their place.
"We have spent as much time in those seats as anywhere else," said Allison, referring to Section 19, Box B127, seats GG and KK, behind home plate.
While other fathers allow moms to take charge of most of their daughter's lives, Roger – who lives on Warwick Street with his wife, Anne Lougee – made it a mission to pass on his love of baseball – albeit he began life as a Cubs fan growing up in Iowa – to his only child.
"The first time I came to the Park with her, she was about six months old," he said.
"And we have been coming ever since," he said, having had season tickets since 1987.
At first, when Allison was two, they would stay for a couple of innings. As she grew up, the time spent behind home plate lengthened until they would be there cheering on games until late into the night,
They would wait out rain delays – but only for a predetermined time before heading to dinner – and later as a teen, if Allison had to work late, her mother would drive her to Fenway.
And each night would either begin or end with dinner together, on Commonwealth Avenue, Harvard Square or Cushing Square.
Over the years, Allison and Roger got to know the season ticket holders on all sides of them. When Allison was recovering at nearby Children's Hospital, the "gang" sent her a "get well" card and threatened to "spring" her from her room to attend an important game that Friday.
Over the years, the pair would have their own routines: they search out a small child who they would give any foul ball that funneled from the overhead net, react to home runs and the disappointment of a loss.
They even wore similar Red Sox jerseys with Roger's nameplate "Who" and Allison's "What."
But above all, it was their time; to talk about their family, health and life, growing up, relationships and themselves.
"Both of us have health issues so we would talk about them," said Roger.
"I can talk to my father about things I wouldn't my mother," said Allison. "I can curse in front of him."
And as the Red Sox were winning World Series, father and daughter cemented a bond set 20 rows up from Fenway's backstop.
"I became an adult at Fenway," Allison said, looking at her father.
Today, the pair will take off around noon to take in the entire celebration of the the lyric little bandbox of a ballpark's second century.
And afterwards, they'll head back to Harvard Square for dinner with Anne. And once again, talk about their Friday at Fenway.