My previous post was brief explanation of my recent absence here, a breakdown of all the books that we got throughout the week, as well as the personal highlight for me, sitting next to John Piper on the plane from Kentucky to Minneapolis. Now I’ll rewind the week and give everyone a rundown of the week. This is partly for those friends and family, and partially for those in our church to let everyone know what a good time the men had and what we were challenged with.
The trip started quite early, as we meet at the church at 5:15 am, and Tim Dinkins drove us to the airport in the bus. You could taste the anticipation in the air, as most of the men who attended the first conference were excited to return, and the few men who hadn’t were eager to experience what we had the first time. Our group consisted of the four pastors, many of the elders, as well as four guys on our youth staff (Geoff, Conor, Matt Garrett, and Donny for those of you keeping score at home). It was a great mix of guys, from age 22 to senior citizens. You had young singles, young marrieds, new parents, older parents, and grandparents. And we all got together so well. There weren’t really any clicks, as we all mixed in pretty well.
The first leg of our trip was a role reversal for me. I was sitting next to Fred Young, an older gentleman from our church who is on the elder board. I taught him to play cribbage while I ate my Fig Newtons. Who was the older one? After an uneventful trip out to Kentucky (no celebrity seat buddies), we all loaded up into our 15 passenger rental van. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that 15 guys, 15 seat belts, 15 pieces of luggage, and 15 carry ons all equals a tight fit. After what was an uncomfortable ride for some of us, we arrived at our hotel just across the Ohio River in Indiana. It was about a ten minute ride from the convention center.
I was sharing a room with Matt and Donny, so we made our way up, turned on the Sox game on ESPN and relaxed for a little while before we headed out for dinner. We didn’t waste any time finding our favorite BBQ place, and we dined on delicious southern cooking! I enjoyed their Honeywings and a basket of Baby Back Ribs. And since we were there on a Monday night, we all got a free dessert, so it was a splendid evening for all of us.
We headed back to the hotel at about 11pm, but apparently not aware of how late it was, we tried getting people together for hearts in our room. We had Conor, Matt, and I down to play, and Shady Matt Meixell down to play, but Shady didn’t show. So we started calling rooms we thought our guys were in and thankfully got Steve’s room and dragged him away from paperwork to play a game. Half way through, Shady showed up and he played the second game, but couldn’t play if his Minnesota Wild’s highlights were being shown on SportsCenter. But since Donny had the remote, we mostly ended up watching Home Improvement.
As a side note, this was the two year anniversary of Shady Meixell. Matt is our business operations manager for the school and church, and a great guy who joined our staff a little over two years ago. He was fairly knew to the group the last time we went, and when we were playing hearts, he always managed to never get any cards. He played dumb, like he didn’t play hearts much, but it turns out he’s pretty much a ringer. Rather than cede him the credit for being good, we accused him of cheating and gave him the nickname Shady Meixell. Ok, I was the one throwing out the accusations, but everyone else agreed.
After a couple games, we realized it was 1:30 am and we had a long week ahead of us, so we turned in for that night. The fun had begun, and the conference would start the following afternoon. More on that later…