Some people don't think I should count our regional church conference in my vacation time because, you know, it is actually part of my job (I am required to go as a pastor), but... whatever. I probably shouldn't. I'm sure it all evens out in the end though. I figure if I'm able to get away from the normal routine, and have my lovely wife along... that's close enough for me. We spent three days in Decatur, Illinois, and with the people we had along from my church it didn't really require me to be too "pastorly." It was me, Jane, Carrie, Anna, Joan, Scott and Linda. The main speaker was Neil Cole of Church Multiplication Associates. I almost always enjoy this conference because of the speakers and the friends I get to hang out with. Neil was fantastic.
Conference was over on Wednesday, June 22 and Jane and I headed to the old hometown of Buda, Illinois. We stayed with my parents from Wednesday until Monday, June 27. On Wednesday we just hung out at my parents house - eating supper at Red's in Sheffield (formerly 6&34 and Burrheads). On Thursday we went out to Mark & Christine's for supper. Friday was the first meetup with my former classmates at Red's. Saturday I went golfing with some of my classmates, and then we had the reunion Saturday night. Sunday we went to Bunker for church (our first time at the second service), then we went to nephew Tim's (the doctor), and Kopp's house for visits. We left Monday morning for Wisconsin Dells.
It dawned on me Sunday morning that my classmates play a pretty big role in our little town of Buda. One of my best friends growing up is now the mayor and fire chief in town, and another friend/classmate is the town cop. The mayor was my golfing partner Saturday, and man... I think he drank a 12-pack of beer just himself while golfing, and still drove us home, and still partied more that night. The town cop didn't attend the reunion, but he was nice enough to come out to the country club as it was closing down - just to see if any of us needed an escort home. He also posed for some pictures with people in his handcuffs. He said he had already been to two other parties that night to assist people in getting home. How cool is that? I was thinking later how cool it might be if I ever ended up pastoring in the old hometown. So then we would have the mayor, fire chief, cop, and pastor. I think that would be awesome to sort of be the "town pastor," rather than just the pastor of a church. But, that's probably just dreaming.
I will probably write about the reunion festivities separately, but let's just say that it was one of the funnest times I have had in a long, long time. Not only did our class have our 30-year reunion, but the class above us had a reunion, and there were people from several other classes that showed up too. We had supper and drinks on Friday night in Sheffield; Saturday the guys (and Pat N.) went golfing - at least me, Jeff, John, Dave, Joe, Matt, and Les did; some of the girls got together for breakfast and a visit to the Sheffield Museum (to check out our old high school stuff); then Saturday night we had supper and a dj at the country club. Supper was good, and Wally S. did the dj-ing for us. No one really danced at all, but I think we all had a pretty good time. I think our class had like 16 or so there (not counting spouses), and the class of '80 probably had at least that many too. Jane's class (a year below me) probably had 8-10 people too. It was good to visit with old friends. We closed the place down and then Jane and I (and a few others) stopped at the Buda bar on our way home. It closed at 2 am, so we stayed and closed it down too.
Sunday morning we slept in a little, so we didn't make it to church with my parents (they go to first service). Instead we went to second service at Bunker for the first time ever. They have a "blended" first service, and what they call a "contemporary" second service. I actually liked the second service. It was very laid back (bordering on chaos), and seemed much more like what we do. And Stephan was preaching this day, so that was a bonus. I had never heard him preach (he is usually just the worship leader). Other than his english being a bit rough (he is Korean), he had a good message and was very easy to listen to. Following church we went with my parents to the motel restaurant, and another of my classmates was our waitress (Diana D.). Then we had a good visit with Tim & Elizabeth (and Avery), and Kevin & Teresa (and girls).
WISCONSIN DELLS -
We left Monday (6/27) around noon for the Dells. We didn't really even go to the actual Dells, but pretty much just stayed at our resort - the Great Wolf Lodge. All we really wanted was to find a resort where we could lounge by the pool and veg for a few days. We thought about the Kalahari or the Chulla Vista, but this one was quite a bit cheaper. Now we know why. It was ok, and had an ok water park, plus it was right off the interstate (exit 92) and had a mall and plenty of restaurants within walking distance, but it basically shut down at 10 pm. It would be a great place to bring kids. Just not so much fun for 2 adults. But we had fun anyway. We left on Thursday morning (6/29) around 8 am so we could make it to the Cornerstone Festival in time to meet up with Andrew Jones. The Dells is about 3 1/2 hours from Buda, and Buda is about 1 1/2 hours from Bushnell (C-Stone location).
CORNERSTONE FESTIVAL -
We just attended one day of the festival. We used to attend the festival when we lived in Buda - taking our kids here when they were little. It was a great place to show them that Christians come in all shapes and sizes (and hair styles, and tattoos, and piercings, and play all kinds of different music). This probably had a lot to do with how our kids turned out (meaning that I think they turned out with a very healthy view of Christianity and God and whatnot). Anyway, we arrived at the C-Stone farm in the afternoon. We attended Jim Henderson's ("Jim & Casper Go To Church") seminar, then Andrew's (Tall Skinny Kiwi) seminar, and then chatted with him briefly. He was the first somewhat "famous" person to ever comment on my blog. He is actually one of the reasons I ever blogged in the first place. One of the first people I ever read on a regular basis (and still do). Following that we hung out and listened to some music. They were having a "Jesus Rally" on Thursday with a bunch of old school Christian rockers. It was great - though really, really hot (in the 90's). We didn't spend the night, but instead went back to my parents house, arriving around 12:30 am (you can read more about this in a previous post).
THE PRATT REUNION -
Friday we spent getting ready for the Pratt family reunion. This was just for Jane and her brothers and all their kids and grandkids. Not everyone could make it, but there was still a good crowd. All of our family and all of Mark's and Terry's were there; John had David's family and Dr. Dan, and none of Keith's family made it. Jane wrote everyone's name down and I think she ended up with 43 altogether. We got chicken from Sullivan's in Princeton, and then everyone just brought something to share and our own drinks. We were originally going to hold it at a state park near Kewanee, but after checking it out we decided to just hold it at the Buda park. It worked out splendidly, as the kids had plenty of playground and room to run, and the adults had plenty of shelter space to sit and visit. We started around 11 am. Jane and I got there about 10 to clean and get things ready. I guess none of Mark's got there until after noon though. Some people came and went during the day, but I think the bulk of us left around 4 or 5 pm. I think a good time was had by all. I pushed Anna in a swing for the first time too (and she LOVED IT - she was laughing and giggling the whole time). I went up later that night and emptied the trash and cleaned up some more.
Our kids arrived late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Isaac and Ricci came in about 8 pm, and we later went to Reds and saw some of their cousins. Drew, Carrie and Anna arrived at 12:30 am, and we woke Anna up so we could get a smile (it had been a long time since we'd seen her). We all stayed at my mom and dads. The kids were in the upstairs bedrooms, and Jane and I slept in the living room. We figured we would be up before anyone else, and we didn't need as much privacy. But I felt bad for the kids because it is soooo hot upstairs. I tried to keep a handle on the thermostat and turn it back down every time my dad turned it up. Ugh.
HOME AGAIN -
We decided to head home on Sunday afternoon and got back around 8:30 pm. Kitty was very glad to see us. It was a nice vacation. I spent way too much time thinking about the church, but it was still nice to get away for two weeks. To be honest, I am anticipating quite a let-down now. It always happens. After I return from vacation I go into a bit of a hole. But I enjoyed all the different aspects of this vacation. In a couple weeks I will have another week off, and that will be even different still.
So... I guess that's that. Peace out; and in.