Sunday, June 8, 2014

One More Hurdle . . .

The past month has been a series of hurdles leading up to the Finish Line (Ryan’s Wedding).  A lot of people have asked if I’m getting excited about the wedding, and I have explained that I have to compartmentalize and clear each hurdle as it comes.  Three weekends ago, I had video duty at church.  Two weekends ago, it was Alumni (the 131st annual reunion of the graduates of my local high school – something that I love very much).  Last weekend, it was Ryan’s Bachelor Party (I’ll tell that story in a couple of days).  This weekend, I’m in West Springfield, Massachusetts – doing a show inside on the first beautiful weekend New England has seen since last fall (or so I’m told).

But I saw quite a few interesting things inside . . .


The obligatory shot of our crowded booth in the middle of a busy Saturday.

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And two demos in our booth with unique stories.  At left is Natalie McLaughlin – you might have seen her before, but not here.  Natalie’s mother-in-law Jane and Jane’s sisters have helped us in Grapevine, Texas for many years and Natalie has helped out when she and her husband and kids are in that area in-between positions as missionaries with Athletes in Action.  And two of those positions have put them within shouting distance of us in Dayton – right now, they live three miles from our mail center.  Natalie’s parents live near Hartford, Connecticut – and she told me in January that she would be there visiting when I was in Springfield if I wanted some help.  You bet . . .

At right is Jen Matott from Faber-Castell’s Design Memory Craft Design Team.  Faber-Castell offered to provide a demo artist at a couple of shows this year, and in January I requested that Springfield be one of them.  My contact there told me she would check and let me know – but I never heard another word and completely forgot about it.  So imagine my surprise when Jen greeted me as I arrived at the fairgrounds on Saturday morning – and hers when I told her I didn’t know she was coming!  Thankfully, I had plenty of their products in the booth and Jen did a fantastic job.

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The Man in Black in the booth next to ours, with just a hint of color in the cargo pocket of his trousers.  Yep, that’s Fred – perhaps we should all take a lesson and never outgrow our teddy bears . . .

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One of the new trends at shows seems to be strands of LED lights around signs – the DRS strand actually flashes different colors . . .

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There are always t-shirts that catch my eye . . .

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Sometimes even including my own.  My friend Melinda Doster and I have had this running gag for years. She lives near Charlotte and is a big North Carolina basketball fan ... I am not. So every time North Carolina wins the NCAA, Melinda sends me a t-shirt. I had no response until Dayton beat North Carolina in the NIT finals in 2010 ... and of course I sent her a t-shirt. Saturday, we were setting up for the show . . . and without advance warning we both wore our t-shirts!

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I have driven past this old truck carcass for years – it’s along Route 75 between the Eastern States Exposition and my hotel near the Hartford airport.  Always wanted to get a picture of it, so Saturday I stopped and took a couple of shots.  I assume the owners of the business nearby want to draw attention – they certainly drew mine.


And this has nothing to do with the show – I saw this on Wednesday while I was playing in my golf league, as the sun came out during a brief downpour.  I found it interesting that I could get almost the whole rainbow in one shot – and it was vivid enough that we felt like running over to hunt for the pot of gold.

When I get home from Springfield, the last hurdle will have been cleared and I will go into full-force Wedding Mode.  If you’re looking forward to stories and snapshots from Ryan’s wedding, you won’t be disappointed.  And if you’re dreading them, I guess I’ll see you in a couple of weeks . . .

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