Thursday, March 31, 2016

Our Own Version of March Madness, Part One

Another road trip blog entry?  

Yes, but this one has a twist.  

I’m part of a group in this one.  Plus this isn’t a luxury, vacation-esque getaway.  

I joined 7 other adults and 12 teenagers on a missions trip to Old Mexico.  Our task?  To build a  house (in three days) for a family that doesn’t have and cannot afford one.  All in the name of Jesus Christ.  

The expedition begins on Saturday morning (March 19) with us gathering at the church for a breakfast send-off.  

Geoana (yes, she went too) and I get our van assignment and shortly after 7 a.m. we’re off!

Destination for today is Hamlin, Texas.  Our morning was uneventful and right around the lunch hour we leave western Oklahoma to enter the Texas panhandle.  Canadian is the town where we take a lunch break.  Dairy Queen (aka Texas Stop Sign).  Since we’re in the Lone Star State the DQ burgers have different names then the rest of the country.  A single hamburger is labeled the “Hunger Buster” and the double has the “Beltbuster” moniker.  

Years ago when my family journeyed from Arizona to south Texas I typically got the Beltbuster at the DQ in Kerrville.  I do the same in Canadian.  Why mess with tradition?

Following lunch our caravan heads south on U.S. 83.  For quite a few miles.  We go through Shamrock (just happened to be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day weekend blast which appeared to be well-attended) then make our next potty and gas break in Childress.  At the convenience store I get another reminder that I’m in Texas.  Mrs. Baird’s fried pies.  (I grew up with Mrs. Baird’s-brand bread.)  

Geoana and I both indulge.  I stay with the tried-and-true apple while the child gets the lemon version.  She told me later she made a good choice.    

Finally we get to Hamlin as the day grows short.  Our host is the Church of Christ.  As a group we unpack and begin to enjoy moving about after spending many hours in the vans.  

Speaking of moving about, the youth pastor has the bright idea to take all the young people to the nearby high school and have them play a game of whiffle-ball baseball.  I go along and use the opportunity to walk the perimeter of the field.  Great for stretching out my back.  I later learned that some of the kids jokingly referred to me as “the security guy” based on my walking pattern.

The grounds of this school’s athletic fields feature not only the usual sports-related trappings but also housed something uniquely Texas.  

I don’t know about all secondary schools in the great state of Texas but our high schools in NW Kansas don’t come with meat smokers.  

Then it’s back to the church and time to settle down.  Devotions, prayer time, then hit the sack.  

We were promised bedding, but it’s packed away deep into the trailer.  Will it be chilly tonight?  Stay tuned for the next installment…

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Keeping Alive Two Saturday Traditions

Yesterday Geogal and I had the pleasure of attending one of Geoana's forensic competitions.  

It was our first one.  The child takes after her father in that she doesn't care to have family observe her in action.  At least not until she's perfected her craft.  

Afterward we all headed home after brief stopovers at J.C. Penney and Home Depot (gotta take advantage of being in civilization).  Shopping complete we hit the highway for home.  

Since I was driving I had final say over which channel we listen to on the satellite radio.  Sun was setting and I needed something to keep my brain engaged so I chose "Radio Classics."

About halfway into our trip home their normal Saturday night show began.  "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar."  Radio Classics plays all five episodes of one storyline to close out the week.  

We first heard this when we were heading home from a BB Gun shoot on the other side of the state, this would be around 2 years ago.  While writing this I asked the female members of my household if I was accurate on my recollection.  

I was.  They refreshed my memory well about our several-hours-long road trip including the necessity of listening to "Johnny Dollar" to keep us alert when the Saturday became Sunday.  And to keep an eye out for the deer that like to frequent the highway after dark.  

Then the following year we again were treated to this program when heading to Sioux City, Iowa after a very long day in Minnesota.  I wrote about it in this entry.  

Last night we only caught the first two segments before arriving home.  So I guess we'll never know who was trying to off ol' Johnny in the Massachusetts fishing village.  

But since we were home it was time (after unloading the food and non-food items) to sit in front of the idiot box and catch Me-TV's Saturday broadcast of Star Trek.  

"The Devil In The Dark."  Worth the watch.  

Might as well keep two traditions going.  Too bad we weren't home early enough to watch "Batman."