Grill'n in Big D!

Did you really think we’d leave you high and dry like that?  No conclusion?  No closing remarks?  No chance to grill and chill with the best?

Silly people…

DAY 55/We’ve Become Master Prep-ers

We spent much of this day still soaking things in.  I mean that in a literal fashion.  The high temperature at DFW Airport reached 100 degrees officially for the first time this summer.  Lucky us.  It waited until we got back.  Other than laundry and some light housekeeping, there wasn’t much else to do but rest.  Karla went to Sam’s Club for the shopping for tomorrow’s event.  We are very excited…

DAY 56/Meet Your Hosts Again!

Think way back to the beginning.  We introduced ourselves to you.  We told you who we are and how we met.  We told you how important Christendom College is to us and how excited we were to be entering into this exciting endeavor on behalf of our alma mater.

Today we get to put all of that love into action one final time and in a deeply personal way.

Today we open our home to a lot of people.

Getting ready…

Today’s event is actually hosted by Micah and Kathleen (McKinnon) Willard, both ’08.  The Willard’s are neighbors of ours here in the bedroom community of Irving, TX.  True, I’ve only spent time with them once before.  Ironically, I did not know that they were the actual hosts (and not us) until the next day.  This is important.  Remember this.  Micah showed up around 10AM to drop off folding tables and about 40 chairs to my back yard.  We sent the kids to Granny’s house to get them out of the way so they could have some fun while we put the finishing touches on our house.

Before noon I had run my errands.  Picked up tents, picked up flowers, picked up ice.  Had to time that one just right so the ice didn’t melt.  Upon my return home I was set a task of getting the back yard just right.  Our yard, though decent by Texas standards, is still very small.  This comes at the expense of our house which was added on to twice in its lifetime, thus encroaching into backyard territory.  Presently about half the yard is taken up with a giant trampoline and an even giant-er playset.  There’s also a shed but I’m afraid to go in there half the time after that nasty incident with the wasps two years ago.  Imagine my surprise when I opened the shed and a bunch of Episcopalians popped out!  Wrong wasps?  Sorry.

Lawn’s looking good…

I can tell you that after a few minutes in the blazing Lone Star sun I did what all of us in Texas do.  I ripped my shirt off.  I’m not an exhibitionist.  I just sweat like a hog (would sweat if hogs sweated).  It’s all good, though, as I got to even out my tan.  It doesn’t take long in Texas.  I was still shirtless and sweaty (try to stop drooling and/or vomiting) when the Willard’s showed up again about an hour before kick-off to offer more help with the tables and chairs.  “Strange,” I thought, “that they’re here so early; but I’ll take it.”  Meanwhile I was working a charcoal grill trying to cook about 400 pieces of marinaded chicken and an equally large quantity of bratwursts.  Man that thing gets hot.

Swag for our guests…

Karla had earlier promised I would be able to shower before people arrived.  However the grill wasn’t going to man itself so I stuck by the heat.  Micah grabbed a beer and we had a nice conversation as others soon joined us.  I put the shirt back on – don’t worry.  Nobody deserves that kind of punishment – the guests, not me.  “So it’s only an hour past start time and I’m still grilling,” I thought.  “I’ll get that shower soon enough.  Too bad I can’t give up my man card and ask Micah to grill in my stead.  But it’s our event.  We’re hosting.  And that would be wrong to ask a guest to do my job..”

Remember that thing I asked you to remember earlier?

But soon enough I was done and I cleaned up before introducing myself to all of our guests.  They included Greg Rice, ’97; Nikole (Hill) Clarkson, ’08; Ed and Monica (Horiuchi) Burns, both ’09; Neva (Howes) Hernandez, ’00; Elizabeth (McShurley) Misko, ’09; Jennifer (Dent) Hutchins, ’04; Andrew and Katherine (Melton) Hayes, ’04 and ’08 respectively; Kirk Kuykendall, ’89; Mary Walker, ’87; and Fr. Thomas Longua, ’92.  This does not include numerous spouses and children.  I just realized that last sentence almost made it sound like a fundamentalist Mormon gathering.  I assure you each alum had only one spouse each.  Also in attendance was Brian Shepherd, husband of Beth (Bowes) Shepherd, ’98.  Beth couldn’t attend because she was at home with their newest little one.  Their daughter Kateri was born just three days earlier!  Beth and Brian had spent some time transitioning to their new life in Texas earlier this summer by staying in our home while we were on the road and we were happy to have them.

Fr. Longua, you will recall, is a Fraternity priest who is assigned to Mater Dei Latin Mass Parish in Irving.  It is he who blessed our car before we left.  I thanked him that we made it home in one piece.  He did, however, scoff when I tried to slip him a bill for the busted windshield wiper.

All in all, this event was probably the most fun for me.  It was a pleasure being with all of you around the country this summer.  But having the chance to open my home to a large group of you meant a lot.  So what if Micah Willard got off the hook from grilling duties and I singed my eyebrows?  So what if it was 14 million degrees?  Our home is always open to all of you.  We mean that.

Big D crew.

We closed out the night snacking on leftover chicken and sausage.  As the last guest left I breathed a sigh of relief, but also a sigh of sadness.  Was this really over?  An entire summer devoted to Christendom alumni and it was done just like that?

I turned to Karla with a raised eyebrow.  “Get away from me,” she said.  “No, nothing like that,” I replied meaning ‘everything like that‘.  “I was just thinking…

“We should do this again real soon.”

And we should.  And I’m not quite done because in the coming days I’ll have a few more blog posts to close out this tour so stay tuned.

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