BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — The weather fit his mood.
“Yeah, not much good news,” Jeff Nelson said as he stood beneath his open garage door, looking out at Sunday’s all-day downpour.
“It doesn't leave much to do,” he added.
Jeff might have been talking about rain, or more likely, the drought in graduation parties.
The man Anoka students call “Superfan” has attended more than 1500 graduation parties since he started keeping track.
He once attended 29 parties in one day.
All were invitations well earned.
Jeff rarely misses an Anoka High School event. Name the sport, play, or concert, and Jeff will be there, cheering on, by name, the current crop of students.
Then COVID-19 happened, and all of it stopped.
“I miss the kids, I miss the students,” Nelson said as raindrops bounced off his empty driveway.
Not long after, sirens could be heard from the entry of his cul-de-sac.
A police car leading the way, Anoka’s graduates and their families let Nelson know as they paraded past, they miss him too.
"What the heck's going on?” a beaming Nelson asked as he walked toward the street.
“Hi Superfan, we love you!” an Anoka senior shouted through her open car window.
“He was completely surprised, I think,” Ginger Jungling, the parent of an Anoka senior, said.
Ginger was one of the people behind the parade.
“He's very special to our kids,” she said, wiping away tears.
Another parent, Burdette Gillespie, fought back tears of her own. “We knew that 2020 was going to be tough, so the class of 2020 came to Superfan,” she said.
It hasn’t been the year anyone wanted. But it was the day Superfan got his due.
“So many good people,” he said. “I appreciate what they all do for me.”