One would think that after three busy weekends Southern Man would be ready to take a Day of Rest and just chill at home but he made a promise that given a choice between staying in (which as an introvert is just fine with him) and going out, he'd go out, and since a group from his own church had planned an outing for the last day of the State Fair he decided to join them.
Fun at the Fair
We ate Fair Food (Southern Man had Chicken On A Stick and Street Tacos and Chocolate Covered Bacon, among other delicacies) and walked through the various exhibitions and took a break to watch a waterless cookware demo (Southern Man almost succumbed) and some of the girls rode rides (and one of them got a bit seasick as a result) and we ended up spending pretty much the entire day and evening there and Southern Man didn't get to bed until after one in the morning. He'll pay the price for that tomorrow but it was a good time.
Teen Daughter the Younger was most delighted to see her grandparents.
In Bible Quizzing teams of four compete using electronic jump seats, a system that was more or less perfected by the fellow who coached Southern Man's team back in the day. The quizmaster begins a question and the first quizzer to jump must finish the question and give the answer. It's great fun and a fine way to study the Bible. This year they're working their way through Matthew. Here's a typical sequence...
Quizmaster: Question Number Six. Question. According to Matthew 2:7, who - Red Three, finish the question and give the answer.
Red Three stands and goes to the microphone: Who called the Magi secretly and found from them the exact time that the star appeared? Answer: Herod.
Quizmaster: That is correct.
As you can see, you really have to know your stuff or someone else will beat you to the punch. TDY is the team memory verse specialist and she did very well.
Southern Man recalls that his teams were a bit more serious than this. Well, perhaps not.
After the morning rounds we all gathered for lunch and had a fine time. Southern Man met a fine young man with a familiar last name who turned out to be the son of one of his former students. After lunch we found the rankings and standings for the morning where we were proud to see TDY finish in the top twenty percent. There was additional quizzing in the afternoon but Southern Father doesn't like to travel at night so we said our goodbyes and headed back to Southern City. Southern Man was pleased to be able to spend some time with his parents and to see his daughter. And to sleep in his own bed again!
What a busy September it has been! Between work and being out of town every weekend Southern Man's adventures at The Land consist mostly of rebaiting the mouse traps (yes, they have returned) and sleeping. And this weekend Southern Man and Southern Parents will head up to Rogers, Arkansas to see Teen Daughter The Younger compete in the Rogers Invitational Bible Quiz.
Yes, Southern Man comes from a long line of Bible Quizzers. He and his ex were teen quizzers, as were the older two children, and now it's the youngest one's turn. Her first quiz was last week - Southern Man couldn't attend - and it will be a lot of fun to see her at a large tournament like this one.
Day 0 was fairly uneventful. After work Southern Man (having already packed his bags) headed straight for the Ancestral Manor where he found Teen Daughter the Elder and two of her friends just hanging out.
J and C mug for the camera. As usual, TDE refused to be photographed.
Then Southern Parents arrived and we hit the road, with Southern Father insisting that he do all the driving. Southern Man rode shotgun and Southern Mother napped in the back, and after an uneventful trip we arrived in Siloam Springs, found a hotel for the night, had a light dinner, and retired. While on the drive we listened to a CD of old-time camp-meeting gospel and the simple faith expressed by those old classics lifted Southern Man's sometimes weary and cynical heart.
Lord, thank you for reminding me of your grace and your love. Amen.
They call it the "Whip It To Shreds" tour and that's pretty much what they did.
The venue was an outdoor ampitheatre that Southern Man had frequented in his youth. Back then you could bring in coolers full of beer and blankets and grass and whatever and it was just one huge festival of fun. Southern Man remembers a memorable Utopia / Hall and Oates concert there where a guy had a topless girl on his shoulders and the camera crew kept her up on the big screen for us. That was really something to a couple of high-school geeks to see. Today the tickets are $50 instead of $5, they pat you down for cameras, make you take your fold-up chair out of the bag for inspection, and would have tossed Topless Babe out on her ear. Oh, well, at least we have our memories of the more free-spirited world of our youth.
Setting up the stage. Absolutely none of the night pics came out so this will have to do until Southern Man gets a real camera again.
The opening act was a local three-guy band that played all original music, sort of a cross between punk and hardcore rock. They were pretty good.
And then there was Devo, who put on a sizzling show that took Southern Man right back to his seventies electro-punk roots. They even had ASCII block graphics in their video-and-light show. And no one covers Satisfaction quite like Devo. It was great fun.
Then Blondie came out and after a kind of slow start Debbie picked up the pace and they put on a great show with all of their hits sprinkled with a few surprise covers of Beastie Boys and Frankie Goes To Hollywood tunes, putting a distinctly Blondie touch on Relax. They ended the regular set with a long concert version of One Way Or Another, which was terrific, and ended the encore with a very hard edged Heart Of Glass that was way better than the studio version. And of course they did Rapture.
Southern Man had debated all day as to whether or not he wanted to go to a concert alone, but he's glad he did. Are We Not Men?
TDY and her half-sister, who is just beginning to talk.
Sadly, TDE refused to participate in any photographs this weekend.
Southern Man took the wheel and inspired by TDE's performance on the way up kept the needle just above the speed limit all the way home. And tonight he gets to sleep in his own bed! Road trips are great but coming home is, in some ways, the best part.
We decided to explore Union Station, a major attraction in Kansas City.
A damsel in distress.
It turned out that there was a major expo there, which meant $10 parking and no access to some of the venue, but we made the best of it and explored the basement (Titanic exhibition under construction and the original elevator pump room) and other venues (including Science City and a charming little Irish store).
Lunch at Harveys. None of the pics we took there do justice to the splendor of the restored station.
We shopped and ate and then rendezvoused with TDE, who wanted a block of time with her sister so Southern Man headed back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit until TDY was returned, just in time to say goodnight.
The faithful old Sanyo VPC-T700 digital camera has made its last ride. After valiantly recording the water wars on the float trip it got a little too wet and wouldn't turn on again so Southern Man dried it out as best he could and worked on it a bit and finally had to take it apart...
...and by tinkering and jiggering and plain good luck managed to get it to (a) turn on and (b) connect to the PC so that the photos could be downloaded.
But the damage was done and it will no function as a camera so the little Sanyo must now go the way of all things. Farewell! You (and your predecessor) served well. But the phone camera will have to step up to the plate for the foreseeable future.
And after an uneventful trip home (Southern Man contained himself and detoured only once for geocaching) we got everything unloaded and put away and Southern Man went to The Land for a restful evening at home. And a good night's sleep in his own bed, without snoring!
Of course Southern Man slipped out early for a little morning geocaching...
Photo by a friendly passer-by.
Breakfast and packing the coolers for lunch on the river.
Away All Boats!
Begun, the water wars have...
Pirates of the Illinois
Stand by to repel boarders!
Sadly, the digital camera did not survive the voyage but was revived (barely) so that these pics could be recovered.
Darrin and Paul man the grill.
A friendly little game of "I Doubt It."
With a statewide burn ban in effect we had to constrain our "campfire" to the grill.
There's no better way to end a day on the river than with toasted marshmallows.
All in all, a terrific day (even if we are all a little sunburned and a lot exhausted) that ended with a fine service and some truly moving testimonials. Lord, thank you for good friends and good times. Amen.
This weekend is the big singles group float trip on the Illinois River, about three hours out of Southern City.
There were about forty of us so we took three church vans and a couple of trucks (including The Titan, which was given luggage- and grill-hauling duties)...
...and headed out at about six o'clock. Much to our surprise we drove through quite the rainstorm on the way but arrived safe and sound at Diamondhead Resort...
And that's "resort" in name only.
...to unload and unpack and enjoy the night air (the storms having passed by) and crawl into our bunks and try to sleep to the four-part harmony of some truly stenorious snoring. Tomorrow we hit the river!
Actually there is geocaching every day but this gives Southern Man an excuse to try the new geocaching app on his phone and take a few pics with the phone camera...
...like this magnificent (and gigantic (well, gigantic for Southern Land, anyway)) tree that was near one of the cache zones.
Was there a geocache hidden in the hollow of this tree? No, but there should have been.
After forty minutes of searching Southern Man couldn't find the cache at this location and had to give up and move on to the evening teaching job. Sometimes you find 'em, sometimes you don't. But it's always fun!
Sadly, the holiday began with a bit of repair work. When Southern Man pulled in last night he noticed that his mailbox was down, so the first chore of the morning was to put it back up. While doing so a neighbor strolled by (literally: she was pushing a stroller) and Southern Man found that a brick mailbox up the road had also been knocked over.
Southern Man hates vandals and property criminals with the white hot fury of a thousand burning suns. That's not a very Christian attitude, but that's the way he is.
Then it was off to town for the singles group Labor Day picnic at the big park on the big lake.
The big lake is really down due to the drought.
Kids eating and playing.
Grownups doing the same.
After the picnic Southern Man went home and spent the rest of the evening cleaning up and getting the kitchen into shape. His first attempt to cook an actual meal (steak and potatoes and a salad) came off all right but cleanup without running water is a pain. Tomorrow it is back to work!
This Sunday started out at the gym for swimming and a shower. Southern Man is not much of a lap swimmer but he is starting to get the hang of it. The salt-water pool is not too cold (actually just right once you start moving) and there's a lovely hot tub right there for post-swim relaxation. Then it was off to church for the men's small-group meeting, which was pretty good. Southern Man has some fairly serious reservations about some of that church's doctrine but he will keep his mind and ears open and his mouth (mostly) shut for now. After church he met with Southern Parents for lunch, where much to his surprise one of the ladies he danced with Friday night sat at the next table. It's a small world.
It's a sufficiently long commute from The Land to town that Southern Man strives to only do so once a day, so after lunch he went in to the office to catch up on blogging and Internet news and such (and to fill a basket of water bottles) and then he headed out in the general direction of the Ancestral Manor with a one-hour stop at a laundromat to do a couple of loads of laundry and puttering about a small lake for some geocaching and arrived at the Manor for six o'clock dinner.
Eldest Nephew and Teen Daughter.
After a nice dinner and a good chat with the young 'uns Southern Man headed home only to find that his mailbox had been knocked down. He'll fix that in the morning.
The first "official" night at The Trailer was most restful. This may have been due in part to Southern Man dragging his tired ass home at 1:00 AM after a busy, busy Friday of teaching and moving. And, yes, eating and drinking and dancing.
Today's festivities kicked off with morning coffee with the singles group, which is always both fun and refreshing. There were several new people in the group today, and there were some really good testimonies. Not to mention plenty of scrambled eggs (with bacon and sausage and onion) and fruit and other goodies.
Southern Man then wandered out to the Ancestral Manor to pick up a few things and chat with his parents and daughter.
Youngest Nephew was there keeping an eye on things.
And then it was off well northeast of Southern City for a geocache that (allegedly) contained a travel bug, coordinates, and key to another cache that's in the park where tomorrow's picnic will be held. The TB was gone - possibly stolen - but Southern Man had a nice chat with that cache owner, who goes by the handle "Great Pumkin."
Southern Man was pretty interested in that nice rental tractor in the background.
And then back to The Land for an evening of cleanup and moving stuff around (there are unlabeled boxes everywhere) and general relaxation. Which is pretty easy considering that there's a beautiful pond a few feet from his doorstep. Life out in the sticks may be a little rough around the edges but it's still pretty good.
posted by Southern Man @ 10:00 PM
is a thirtysomething*CS/STEM educator in the Midwestern USA. After many years at church-affiliated liberal-arts universities he now teaches at a state school (lower salary, better benefits, and hardly any drama at all) and works in a building named for a dead politician.
He started blogging in the summer of 2006 shortly after his wife of sixteen years divorced him and this blog began as an account of
how he copes with the unsettling process of learning how to live as a single parent and deal with visitation and physical custody and all the other stuff that comes with divorce
and has evolved into an outlet for writing about his adventures and opinions on travel, geocaching, politics, religion, film, music, relationships, preparations for the upcoming zombie apocalypse, and whatever.
*Southern Man will be stating his age in hexadecimal until further notice.