Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Estes Park, CO for my Group Workcamp training. One of the best parts about this annual event is seeing people I count as friends even if our paths only cross once a year. I've watched some guys grow from summer staffers to adult leaders (Mike, Todd, Chris) and others grow in their ministries and families (James, Adam, Mike, Shawn) I think you know you've found a kindred spirit when you meet up after a year and it feels like it was just the week before when you last talked to them. I value my "distant" amigos and the few days each spring we get to spend together in one of the most beautiful places in America.
Speaking of beautiful places, for the first time I was able to travel with someone instead of by myself. John volunteered last summer as the cafe host and was bit by the "workcamp bug". After a tremendous experience he decided to try his hand at camp director. This was his first training and his first time in the Rockies. After marveling at the amazing beauty, he told me many times he now wants his ashes spread somewhere on one of the mountains. I took John on a couple of hikes and thought the ash deal would come sooner then later. But he made it up and I was very proud of him.
On a few side notes...
- Elk are really large animals. (And plentiful too)
- Why do some people at training feel they have to present their resume to each person they talk to.
- Name dropping really isn't that impressive
- I played golf and shot a 72 & 78. Did I mention that was miniature golf? The YMCA camp where we stay has the hardest course in America. The lowest score anyone shot was 65.
- We hiked to 9,900 ft through the snow to catch some amazing mountain lakes.
- How can Estes Park be such a great kept secret?
- I can't wait to take a family vacation there in a few years.
- The wind chill on Thursday was 35 degrees. It was over 90 back home.
- We saw Jared the Subway guy at the Chicago airport
On a side conversation note...
Our plane leaving Denver was delayed over 2 hours which made us miss our connecting flight in Chicago. We finally got on a stand by to Charlotte at 9:00pm and arrived back in NC at midnight. We then had to rent a car to drive up to Greensboro. I got home at 1:45am.
Along the way I had some very interesting conversations. If I haven't told you already, I'm a magnet for nuts. Crazy people will just come up to me and begin telling me things or making conversation that I could never imagine someone making. I like to think it's because I have a caring look about me but in reality it may say more about me leaving myself way to open for these comments. The following conversations are real and have not been changed to protect the innocent.
(John and I sitting with a professional looking older lady and 2 guys waiting for our plane)
Old lady: I just got back from visiting my cousin in Hong Kong. He married a really nice lady although all she does is cook and clean. Maybe she's good in bed.
Old lady: Those Chinese people know how to show you around but they sure don't know how to party.
Guy #1: I think I'll have my wife pick us up from the airport. It will be great to see a beautiful woman coming to get us.
Guy #2: No offense. I mean your wife is beautiful and all but I'd rather have my beautiful boyfriend pick me up.
Old lady: Oh, isn't love complicated.
Old Lady: This is the 3rd plane I've tried to get on today, they keep being delayed or canceled. I was nothing but tears and hormones at the last ticket counter. So I just decided to go have some beers. I feel much better now. Very mello. But if they don't get me on this plane there will be h*** to pay and I don't give a s*** what they do to me.
(I'm at a McDonald's in the Chicago airport waiting on my order when a girl walks up next to me on a cell phone)
McDonald's employee: Yo baby, What I have to do to get your digits? What's it gonna take for you to call me?
Girl on phone: (She just ignores him)
McDonald's employee: Come on now baby what you want for those digits? Let me see (he begins looking at the cash register) What can I give you for free? I mean, I can hook you up with some free food and s*** if you give me those digits. (McDonald's employee looks at me) You know what I'm talkin bout!
(In line at customer service at the Chicago airport)
(Old man tries sitting on his suit case and it rolls out from underneath him. He crashes to the floor)
Guy in line next to me: I know I shouldn't laugh but i don't care who you are, that's funny!
(Same guy in line beside me)
Yeah, we just got back from Yellowstone on vacation.
Me: Really? My wife and I visited there a few years ago.
Guy: How about those buffaloes?
Me: Yeah, they are amazing creatures.
Guy: Tell me about it. They'll just walk right down the middle to the road and s*** everywhere. I mean, it's like they don't even care.