I should probably start every post with “I have been really busy lately” – or maybe I should just stop saying it and assume that everyone knows that I have been really busy lately. Regardless, there comes a point where enough pictures and stories have accumulated that it’s time for another “grab bag post” – so here we go . . .
There was this big show in West Springfield, Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago. You might have heard of it – some of you might even have been there. And I surely went through quite a bit just to get there.
This is the only half decent picture I took all weekend. Thankfully, others did better . . .
Pat Larson from Heirloom Productions did his usual stealth photography at each booth – he usually does a great job of getting shots of me from behind.
Our customer Pamela Young had a unique vantage point for the Saturday giveaway, and she was kind enough to text me the photos she took when we went behind the curtain to visit the Wonderful Wizard of Oz . . .
After the show, we did a quick booth teardown so I could get on the road. Last year after the show, I spent a morning in Cooperstown, NY visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. This year, I went to Cooperstown again – but this time it was to watch the future of baseball, not the past.
Cooperstown Dreams Park is an amazing complex – 25 baseball fields where weeklong tournaments are held all summer long for “12 and under” youth teams. My neighbor Brady Stone was playing there and his tournament started on Saturday – his dad told me about it a couple of days before I left for Springfield and I just couldn’t be that close and not stop by to support Brady. I knew I was going to get to watch him play on Monday morning, but light traffic and rain delays got me to Cooperstown in time to catch the last inning of his Sunday evening game, where Brady’s younger brother Bryce (who was playing outside between the fields with friends) greeted me with “What are YOU doing here?” The left picture was taken Sunday night – it had a “Field of Dreams” look to it. The one on the right was taken during Brady’s game on Monday – behind the fence in the distance you can see the barracks where the players and coaches stayed all week – the parents are not allowed in that part of the complex.
Brady at the plate on Monday morning, and the team meeting after their 8-3 win.
Found a picture on the Cooperstown Dreams Park of Brady’s team (they are called “Custom X” – hence the crossed forearms). Brady is third from left, and you’ll notice the solemn look on his face – he never smiles for pictures. That made the picture that his mom gave me when they got home even more special – Becky said that in the hundreds of pictures she took, he only smiled twice.
When I got back, Debbie and Patti were spending almost all of their time shipping the 800 Envelope Punch Boards that arrived while I was gone. This was just a small sample of the mountains of mail that went to the post office last week. We’re almost all the way through April now, and more are expected in a week to ten days that will fill all of the remaining orders.
Under normal circumstances, I would have dug right in and helped them, but Gary had other ideas . . .
He found out about a local printing company that was going out of business, so he bought 29 pallets of paper (I heard something about 80,000 pounds) from them. That of course required that someone unload the booth off our truck and make several trips back and forth to get it. Getting several loads of paper on the truck was not a problem – there was a loading dock handy. But getting them off at our warehouse and store was – we don’t have a dock at either place. So I was a dusty sweaty mess most of last week . . .
Except for the half hour that I was stuck in the back of the truck while a monsoon blew through town. I was only 20 feet from the back door at the store, but I would have been soaked – and I don’t like to be wet under any circumstances.
That pretty much brings everything up-to-date from a professional standpoint. But I’ll share one more image with you from my distant past that I dug out earlier this week . . .
This is one of my all-time favorite pictures – walking into my high school for graduation in 1976. Someday I need to dig out another picture that shows my outfit in color – the shoes just scream ’70s (white with red suede on top, fake woodgrain heels, and gold buckles). This picture is from the yearbook – oh how I wish I had the original. The boy walking with me is now 47 – he is still my little brother, but in time he also became my best friend.