I almost titled this “Chill’n in Denver” because we spent a day in the Mile High City before the actual event so we could visit my best friend and his family. Then I thought of the implications of that title in this particular city… Can I just say that it’s a shame that Denver cannot now ever be mentioned in conversation without people automatically jumping to the mental image of Colorado’s recreational “herb” laws? I don’t judge but the stuff isn’t for me, never has been. I spend my days teaching teenagers. I already get to hear people ramble for 90 minutes at a stretch thinking they’re saying the most brilliant things and then complaining about how hungry they are. And that’s without weed.
After leaving Christendom I quickly began discerning a vocation to diocesan priesthood. Since my home archdiocese owns Seton Hall University and Seton Hall has both a college seminary and a major seminary, that’s where I went. On my very first day in the fall of ’96 I met a man who would turn out to be like a brother to me. Although neither Dan nor I went on to priesthood, we have stayed close over the years. He, his wife, and their three kids live in Aurora and I go to visit them on average once a year. I can’t recall the last time he came to visit me but he’s a busy man so I’ll let it slide.
DAY 37/Independence Day
Dan’s home is always open to us and we were delighted to use the opportunity of this journey to have these friends to spend the 4th of July with. Dan grilled, I chilled. How’s that for a change? His wife, Nicole, made sangria. His neighbors came over. The kids all played together. Dan asked about my tooth. He’s been reading, too. We lit off fireworks at the end of the day and I once again realized how blessed we are as a family to know these wonderful people. On top of everything else, it made the drive across flat Kansas well worth it.
DAY 38/Event #17
Following the patriotic festivities we went to bed. Actually, for the first time on this trip I literally crashed. I remember sitting up on the couch in Dan’s living room having a conversation with him and then waking up on the same couch the next morning. Dan later told me he had asked me a question about something on the TV and my reply was filled with ZZZ’s.
We packed the car and said goodbye to our friends. Then we headed to meet Karla’s nephew Jordan. Jordan lives in the area and we were eager to see him. He moved out here about a year ago. Lunch, a visit to the phone store (he was having trouble with his iPhone), and a visit to Sam’s Club followed. On those last two points… At the phone store we discovered that Jordan had been burning through his data. He at first told us he never uses data, that he’s always on wifi. “Well, I only possibly use it when I drive to work,” he said. For the record he has a 40 minute commute each way and by “possibly use it” he meant that he listens to podcasts of political talk shows on youtube. Without wifi. So, yeah, he uses the heck out of that data! $200 in data overages actually sounds cheap for that kind of use. At Sam’s we were shopping for the event tonight when Benedict and I found ourselves in the middle of an erupting race riot. How do I describe this?… A man in front of us at the counter to buy an ice cream began shouting at the woman behind the counter. He was not white. She was not white. Their skin tones were not the same as each other. I heard the man use the German word whitedevilbitch and decided it was time to leave.
Soon we pulled up to the home of Christy (Wright) McAdam, ’02 and her husband Kevin. Christy is the sister of Anne Polley. We told them how we had slept in her childhood bedroom during our Memphis stay. That’s not creepy at all. I feel like a voyeur every time I enter a new home. The people along the way have been so gracious in opening their homes to us. Like the realtor I sometimes wish I’d become, I get a neat sense of adventure walking through each new home. Call it the explorer in me. I always scope out a few things first so I can be of assistance. Where is your bathroom and where will we be setting up? Found both and got to work.
Kevin fired up his grill. I hope he didn’t mind that I took over at this point. Despite hosting duties I have not actually grilled in a while and I actually enjoy doing it. We brought Jordan with us – you see, you can bring family along to these events – and he assisted me by bringing uncooked food to me and taking cooked food away. Guests began arriving. Tonight was a whole new bunch of people, some of whom I knew and some I did not.
The Jansen’s arrived, John Paul, ’00, and his wife Anne (Wolpert), ’05. John Paul is a doctor and also Canadian. I don’t know if those two have anything to do with one another. We talked about our recent foray into the land of the maple leaf and compared pictures from our phones. They had just been to Manitoba the week before. The Gideon’s were there too – Elisabeth (Boever), ’00 and her husband Josh, and their lovely children. This was a first meeting with them for me. I quickly got the sense that both the Jansen’s and the Gideon’s needed to go live!
As the evening blazed on I got to meet some other really fascinating people. These included Trevor, ’09, and Eileen (Dziak) Karas, ’13 and Nick and Amanda (Dean) Freeman, both ’11. Also present was Katherine (Quest) Wood, ’05, and her husband Justin. Kat had worked for us when we lived in Virginia as our son’s nanny. We saw her sister Erica just a few days earlier in Minnesota and their brother Patrick in Richmond.
This was another event where some of the guests lived mere miles apart and had never met. And like Louisville, these guests took the reins of this tour. Before we had left they had all agreed to gather again for St. Patrick’s Day as Christendom alumni in Denver. That’s the spirit! I’m sure in no time there will be an official unofficial Christendom Alumni Denver Chapter complete with officers and an events calendar. The beauty of this whole endeavor is that this Advisory Council is here to serve you in whatever capacity we can. If your group decides to take on a formal approach to keeping it going; go for it! If fewer events but more contact is your thing; we can help get you started there too.
Tonight it’s on to our hotel. We’ve got a VIP arriving at DIA in the morning. If you understood that (or even if you didn’t), sit tight. The next installment is coming soon.