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Monday, October 31, 2005


I, too, was a youth once... 

It seems not all that long ago that I was hanging out in the Great Hall of good ole St. Hilary's all night long during what surely would have been a much anticipated lock-in. Yes, I remember John Miller and I kicking a ball around somewhere near three in the morning, only to send it sailing straight into the kitchen and score a direct hit on the commercial coffee pot, creating enough racket to thereby wake up anyone within a square mile. And another time, again with John, sticking our hands up the Coke machine to try and steal a Coke, only to rip the can in half while pulling it out, creating a colossal mess, a telltale sign as to our crime, and a bloody hand. I recall vividly dancing wildly on the stage to Cake's "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", all the while with no less than three girls in mind to whom the lyrics might apply in my wishful thinking. There was the first lock-in I went to, way back when Ms. Salerno was in charge, and I was friends with her younger son, Nick - that one had a Mexican theme, but I'm not really sure why. I had to have been in the 6th grade then. Yes, I remember some good ole times had at church lock-ins, and now, I've one more memory to add to that list.

Last night, I chaperoned a lock-in at St. Luke's for the middle school and high school groups. We had about 8 kids in all, and I had a really great time getting to know them. But I found my focus was on way different things on this side of the coin. Did all the candles from the service get picked up? What about those candy wrappers in the sanctuary? Who is gonna vacuum that sand? Ok, where are all the kids now? Will they go to sleep, or will I have to play meanie camp counselor? Will they wake-up? Oh, please, no running! Yeah, I feel old.

They were a really great group of folks though. Even though some of the high schoolers were resentful of the fact that the middle schoolers could come, I think they secretly liked having them around. And when it came time for the High schoolers only Compline service, good-will took over and they extended the invitation to all. Good folks, I tell you. And smart as devils. So, I made sure they all got in their rooms (boys in one room, girls in another) at the appointed time of 2:30am. I then promptly fell asleep, only to wake up a short time later to the sound of laughter, quiet talking, and general late night fun. I put on my sweatshirt and stormed out, prepared to be the aforementioned meanie camp counselor. "Why aren't you all in bed where you're suppossed to be?!" Came the reply, "Daylight savings time, Ryan. Duh! We've got another hour!" Of course. Of course, you do. Don't you want to use that extra hour for sleep? No, of course you don't. Smart as devils.

They all woke up without too much of a hassle. Did have to dump one little girl out of a sleeping bag, but she seemed to think that was part of the event and laughed at even that. The All Hallows' Eve service that preceded all this revelry the night before was a blast. Completely candlelit. We much have had close to 250 candles going, and let me tell you, in a big, stone, cathedral-like church, that's an impressive sight. I think everyone really had a good time. But, I, for one, am pooped.

-R

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Friday, October 28, 2005


mp3 Sermon 

To all those who wanted to hear me preach last Sunday and couldn't or who requested a copy of the sermon: an mp3 of the sermon is available at the St. Luke's website, which you can get to by clicking on this link. Find my name and click on it; don't worry if nothing happens right away, it takes a while to download.

-R

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Thursday, October 27, 2005


Complete 

Tonight, this title applies to two things. The first, and by far more important, is that the Chicago White Sox have won the World Series in four games. I cannot express how excited I am to be in this city, not only where there was a world series, but where the world series champs are. I saw the world champions plays several times this and that does this baseball loving heart good. Also, it wasn't the Red Sox or the Yankees. That also does my heart good.

The second thing the title applies to is my collection of USA Books of Common Prayer. With the arrival of my most recent EBay acquisition, an 1836 illustrated edition of the 1789 Book of Common Prayer, I now own an original edition of each major revision of the BCP in the US: 1789, 1892, 1928, 1979. To me, being the history lover that I am and the liturgy lover that I am, this marks an important day for me, truly. I don't know quite what emotion it is, but when I know that I have all of those books, it somehow brings me closer to that communion of saints who have gone before. Those souls who used those books in their pews, who prayed those words from their hearts even as I pray the words from the 1979 book from my heart. It makes me feel really good, really connected to my spiritual forebears. I think the sense I am trying to describe is a sense of assurance. More than that, I cannot say.

I told myself when I began this quest two years ago that when I actually got each one, I would say Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer from each of them for a week. Given the worship schedule of Seabury, I may not get to that until next quarter, but I will get to it. I think it will be important for me to do that. Again, I'm not sure why, but I really feel that it is.

On the homefront: Bad news from Florida Power and Light - it may be up to a full month until power is restored to my family's house. Brennan called today and they said November 15. In the grand scheme of things, that is not disastrous. But it is a trial. Pray for all those who have lost more in this year's tragic hurricane season.

To bring it all full circle, I offer you this prayer, from the 1892 revision of the American BCP, for Fair Weather:

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech thee, of thy great goodness, to restrain those immoderate rains, wherewith, for our sins, thou hast afflicted us. And we pray thee to send us such seasonable weather, that the earth may, in due time, yield her increase for our use and benefit. And give us grace, that we may learn by thy punishments to amend our lives, and for thy clemency to give thee thanks and praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


-R

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Monday, October 24, 2005


Wilma: Whitley Family Damage Report 

Malalucas (big ole trees) all down in the back yard, some leaning against the house; minor damages.

One leak in the roof from a destroyed air vent.

Loss of power for likely 6-8 days.

More enviromental damage than Charley produced; more clean-up.

No injuries.

Rain still pounding, but worst of wind has passed.

Generator working, and, as the bro says, "we're cooking with fire."

-R

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Sunday, October 23, 2005


Through Rain and Hail 

Though the Seabury Saints did not win the Lavabo Bowl back from Nashotah House, we did play an excellent game and had a good time doing it, putting the sportsmanship back into the competition on all sides. It was a far different atmosphere from last year and I do say a far more enjoyable one. We lost by one touchdown with a final score os 20-14. There was only one call by the ref that I would challenge, and that was an inadvertant whistle. Mitch had a 50 yard touchdown run and the ref inadverantly blew the whistle in the middle of it, thereby ending the play. As the game went, that would have been the win, but what can you do? It's disappointing, sure, but at least we know we played hard. It was cold, and wet, and slippery, but we played and had a blast. I got 4 tackles and 1 TFL on defense. (My big offensive production - 30 yd reception - was called back due to a penalty.) Everyone was dead tired after the game, but the faithful remnant came out to Long Field this afternoon to play in the regular IM game. Due to rain, poor field conditions, and pelting hail, the game was cancelled, but not before we garnered a win by forfeit when the other team failed to show. We scrimmaged anyway and now my calves have officially sent in their resignation. I happily laid on the couch all night and watched the Sox pick up Game 2 in an exciting game to be sure! Scott Podsednik, with no home runs all season, hits his second post-season HR tonight, a walk-off. Konerko's Grand Slam certainly helped too, and even given that I would still say the best player tonight and last night has to be Joe Crede. He is an offensive force and a defensive wall. I think he deserves a bit of the spotlight tonight, too.

In homiletical news, my sermon went very well this morning. People seemed to enjoy it and were very complimentary. My favorite comment I received has to be one lady who said to me, "I didn't even get my grocery list done!" Sometime in the near future it will be available in mp3 format from the St. Luke's website for all you out there who just can't go on without hearing it (I really hope that's just relatives and close friends...). Now, my eyes are tired and my lids are shutting involuntarily, so I believe I will retire.

-R

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Friday, October 21, 2005


No Dilly-Dallying 

Weekends are for rest and relaxation...except this one. After getting up this morning to write my sermon for Sunday, I had what will likely be the only time for relaxing this entire weekend. Now I am on my way to the gym to get everything in top working order for tomorrow's game against Nashotah House. Immediately after the short stint in the gym, our team has practice to get our plays down pat. Then, I have to eat dinner and practice my sermon. I think I'll manage to get a few episodes of Blackadder in there with some friends too. Tomorrow, early to rise so we can get up to Nashotah a bit early in order to peruse their bookstore and obtain a 10th edition of Ritual Notes, which isn't readily available in most other places. There is a Eucharist at 11am, which all of our team will be attending, incidentally. The game is at 1pm which will be followed by lunch. If I get home in time and am not too tired I may try to meet up with a friend from out of town who is here for the weekend, but cannot stay out too late as I will be preaching at the 8 and 10am services on Sunday at St. Luke's. I think the sermon came out nicely, too. Oh, and this is not to mention that I will be in two places at once on Saturday. While my body is pounding it out on the gridiron, my spirit will be in Indiana as Jane gets ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests. Congratulations, Jane! Sunday afternoon, after the sermonizing and hopefully some laundry, the Seabury Saints will take the field again in the regularly scheduled IM game. Hopefully, we will not be too tired and beat up! Phew...that's a lot. The Maroon 5 song comes to mind..."it's getting harder and harder to breathe..."

-R

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Oh, Shit.... 


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What think ye of the Christ? 

I'm working on my sermon for Sunday; it will be the first time I preach on a Sunday at St. Luke's, which means I'll be standing in that enormous, preacher swallowing pulpit. The Gospel is from Matthew 22, and is the last of a series of three tests put to Jesus by various factions of Judaic society. With a little help from M.F. Sadler, I've noticed that the three answers Jesus gives to the three questions show a response focusing on, respectively, moral teachings, spiritual teachings, and the messianic importance of it all. So, that's what I'll be thinking about today.

-R

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Leki im Elohim 

My friend Samantha was in town tonight for the first time since moving to Israel last June and it was a pleasure to see her again and get caught up on all the goings on. I have been worried about her over there with all the changes that are being and have been made, primarily the disengagement process. While I am in favor of disengagement in general, it does create tensions and those tensions can result in indiscriminate violence, so I am glad that she has been ok so far. It is with that in mind that I utter the brief prayer that entitles this post (if I got it right) - Go with God. On a lighter note, we got to laugh all over again at our friend Jeff's two word Hebrew vocabulary, which he employs liberally as a greeting: Shalom, shadayim! It's a good thing Sam and her girlfriends all find this humorous; Jeff should not try this if he ever travels to Israel! Not being sure when I might get to see her again, I tried a little extra to say a meaningful goodbye. This is not something I am very good at and have traditionally either blown them off altogether, or given a quick hug and declared an optimistic, "See ya next time!" But I put some effort into it tonight. Yivrak'kah adon-- a'hoti.

-R

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Monday, October 17, 2005


Thinking About War, Part I 

If we're going to start doing some serious thinking here (about war), I think it best to proceed slowly. In case you don't know, let me say that I enter this conversation as a person who believes that war is an absolute last resort. I do not think I can any longer say I am totally against war in all circumstances; events that led to the second World War defeat every argument I have on that absolutist stance. Furthermore, and this deals more with violence in general and not specifically war, I cannot honestly say that if someone invaded my home and threatened my family that I would not use violence as a potential means of neutralizing the threat. I would hope it would not come to that ever, but in the event that it did, I think it a possibility that I would use violence.

And, if we're going to frame this discussion Biblically, we have to be prepared to accept the fact that war and violence is all over the Bible. (Scripture citations will usually represent pertinent examples and are not meant to be exhaustive.) From Genesis (4:8) through Revelation (12), war and violence are almost constant features. Ancient civilizations rose and fell by the (God-sanctioned) sword (Exo 12:29; Josh 6:17), indeed, God used war-faring civilizations as a weapon to punish the wayward Israelites (Isa 10:5-6); the final days of our earth will be accomplished through war (Rev 19:15). The Christ entered our world as Jesus in the middle of a war-torn time, and He Himself spoke in contradictory terms about war (Matt 10:34, Matt 26:52). I think that if you had to force a position on the Prince of Peace (a dangerous proposition anyway) that you would almost certainly have to come down on the side of preferring peace to war and violence.

So, where does that leave us? Looking at the history of the United States (my nation), and the world more broadly speaking, it leaves us confused. "Might is right" has served as the governing principle for millenia. If you don't agree with me and we are in a serious enough dispute, I can always solve it by kicking your ass - that sort of thinking. And, it cannot be denied, it has produced many of the things we enjoy today, like our own country, for one. Is that to say then, that it is acceptable to fight your way out from under an oppressive government, if you are able? I think that I cannot give any other answer than, yes, BUT, only if all other options had been tried, maybe twice. But that's part of what we're here to discuss. The act of taking the life of another is a graver thing than any one of us can consider, save those to whom that lot has fallen.

I'll leave off there for tonight, and we'll see what sort of conversation this generates. Hopefully, that will help direct me with where to go with my next posting on the subject. Thanks for the constant encouragment, all ye who have pestered me to start writing this!

-R

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Sunday, October 16, 2005


Things I Don't Recommend Doing 

On Friday afternoon: Working out legs with weights (i.e. doing squats, ham curls, or quad lifts)
-followed by-
In Saturday morning: playing football
-followed by-
on Saturday afternoon: riding your bike 20+ miles with friends.

Rationale: Your friends will make fun of you for not being able to keep up and your legs will hate you forever.

But, damn, it's been a fun couple of days!!

-R

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Saturday, October 15, 2005


Football 

We had a great practice today, which is good cause the annual Lavabo Bowl against Nashotah House is next Saturday. They've won it the past two years, so we're look to take away the crown this year on their home turf. The new IM rules for the Northwetern league are weird. For Co-Rec football teams like our there are open and closed downs. An open down means males are eligible receivers. Closed downs means only females are eligible recievers. Males can never run the ball unless there is a female QB. This promotes serious double teaming which is hard to work with but we need to learn how to use these rules to our advantage. This afternoon it is gorgeous outside, so I think I'm gonna throw the bike in the car and drive down to Hyde Park to go riding with Taylor and Kate, which will be really fun. Then, the three of us, plus Katie and Adam are gonna do dinner tonight sometime, so it is going to be an excellent day.

Tomorrow is the Patronal Feast Day for St. Luke's (trans.), so there is many big to-do's in the works.

My blogging has fallen off of late and the only thing I can cite in my defense is that I have all night classes this quarter and the night time was when I usually blogged. Plus, the change in schedule is really jerking with my rythym big time. It's odd, but I guess I'm just not much of a night person (save the weekends of course!).

-R

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Some Real Tradition 

There has been a discussion going over at All Too Common on the subject of Women's Ordination. The general tenor of the posting and the subsequent comments is hostile to the ordination of women to say the least, and in one particular instance, flagrantly hostile to the state of being woman at all: Fr. Lee Nelson wrote, "This is to say that there is something essentially flawed about being a woman." I have been following the discussion with no small amount of dismay; I commented once and asked a question, which was responded to but not answered satisfactorily.

I firmly, wholeheartedly, and without pause or reservation reject this line of thinking.

There is certainly a tradition in the church of not permitting women to enter the priesthood, but thankfully, in the Episcopal Church, this has changed. I believe it will also change the world over if we can manage to stick it out together, but this will take time. However, contrary to what Fr. Nelson wrote, there is absolutely not a tradition of the church that believes that to be female is to live an essentially flawed existence. Some may have espoused that over the years, but they were in error. It is with that in mind that I want to offer you today, on this feast day of The Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, some words of real tradition, taken from the Anglican Breviary:

That the Blessed Virgin is Theotokos (that is, God-bearer or Mother of God) was proclaimed by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431. This Council was held in opposition to the Nestorian heresy which denied that the Son of Mary was at his birth the Son of God. In answer to which the Council declared that Mary is rightfully to be called the Mother of God...Wherein we learn, amongst many other things, that Mary as Mother of God is blessed amongst women, and hence that womanhood is sacred in God's sight..."


-R

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Growth and Change - Conflict Styles 

Through the work of one of my classes this term, I have been doing some intentional reflecting on how I experience and handle conflict. I have had some training in this area, so I at least know the vocabularly with which to do this reflection, but I have found the process to be difficult, painful (at times), and rewarding.

In recent years I have noticed that I experience conflict in a different way than the way in which I assumed I experienced it. By which I mean that, when asked a question such as this one, I would respond that I meet conflict head on, tackling the problem or opposition with force and determination, and rarely giving in. Why I suspected that was my preferred method of conflict management I can only guess is wrapped up in the ways in which I perceive myself and traditional “alpha” male roles, conflict styles of my family of origin, and social conditioning.

However, through this process of reflection, I began to discover that I am more conflict avoidant than I either suspected I was or desire to be. I seek to avoid conflicts in the majority of situations and, when necessary, compromise to succeed in that aim. I really do not like or enjoy conflict, which confuses me given my perceptions of myself mentioned above. Part of this is because I am learning a new way to be myself as I grow into a pastoral role and part of it is likely some sort of new found maturity or self-realization, if I may be so bold as to suggest it.

When I did some formal training in conflict transformation, I took a "Personal Conflict Managment Inventory", sort of like a Temperment Sorter or a Myers-Brigg test, but attuned to the given topic. I went back this evening and looked at my results again; they surprised me a bit. The results were broken into two categories: calm and storm. Calm refers to when a conflict is in the beginning stages or is relatively peaceful and storm refers to when the shit hits the fan. My preferred style, according to the Inventory, in "calm" times was collaborative, and my back-up style was forcing. In times of "storm" it was exactly the opposite. In each of these categories the preferred style and the back-up style were only separarated by one point in "calm" and two points in "storm".

So then I thought back to some recent conflicts in which I have been involved and I was surprised to note that I collaborated in each one of them, not avoided. I believe I, in some way, perceived avoidant and collaborative behavior to be weak, and so, in my mind, lumped them together. They did not fit with how I prceived myself or how I wished to view myself. Now that I know that, I can begin the process of learning how to be the new me, if you will. Collaboration is not to be regarded as weak, and neither is avoiding behavior. Part of the benefit of knowing about different styles is being able to develop a "conflict managment toolbox" from which to draw upon your given resources.

This process has been extraordinarily interesting to me and I will definitely be continuing it throughtout this term, and hopefully will continue to grow in it throughout my life and ministry. But, it is not easy, especially when you have given yourself an unreal and I dare say unhelpful set of personal expectations. Overcoming that is my challenge and I thank God I have friends and some classmates who are willing to walk that road with me.

-R

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Monday, October 10, 2005


Unintentional Hiatus 

Sorry I've been so absent from here recently. This new schedule of having night classes is really jerking with my rhythm and most days I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I was gone all weekend on a odyssey to Ohio that took longer than expected (was suppossed to be home Friday night, but was instead back on Saturday night), but was a learning experience. I am behind in my homework reading on account of that and find I am still confused about what sort of a regular Hebrew schedule I will have.

Next week should be better.

In literary news, I finished LotR a while ago and have started on another Murakami adventure, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been given rave reviews by several of my trusted friends. If you've not read Murakami before, I highly suggest it. My friend Bingham brought him to my attention with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which I really enjoyed, and am thus enthused about reading this next one.

-R

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Reverent Satire 

With my sermon all ready to go for tomorrow morning, the feast day of William Tyndale, priest and martyr, I turned my attention this evening to preparations for the book discussion small group I will be leading at St. Luke's on Thursdays in October and some of November. I have entitled the group "Reverent Satire", because the two novels we will be reading and discussing are always hilarious, often irreverent, sometimes crude, but usually, genuinely good-natured and good-hearted satires of Christianity. We'll be looking at Christopher Moore's Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, and James Morrow's Towing Jehovah.

Tonight, I thought I would share with you the opening prayer for the group, a collect of my own authorship.

O Holy Spirit, who moves among us and bestows upon us spiritual gifts; grant unto us the gift of grace so to study, discuss, and understand these works of fiction with a serious mind, but not too serious; the freedom to laugh, but not too lightly; the courage to speak our mind, but not to hurt our neighbor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Father Almighty, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

With many thanks to the Rev. Dan Prechtel for all his instruction and modeling on small group leadership, I will go confident into my first meeting, but I would still ask for your prayers that it be beneficial, edifying, and uplifting to all.

-R

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Open our Eyes 

I am preaching this Wednesday, for the third time I think, at St. Luke's mid-week Healing Eucharist. We will transfer, from the following day, the feast of William Tyndale, priest and martyr. I am hoping that the Gospel can be read in Tyndale's translation (providing, of course, a NRSV translation for the congregants as well) so that we might be able to hear how it sounds aloud, making it come alive and not just history. After all, a man died to bring it to us.

I will be using a text for this sermon, which I have not done before when preaching at St. Luke's, so that should be interesting. The reason that I have decided to do that is simple, I want to use quotes from Tyndale himself, and I want the sermon to be of a certain eloquence and articulate nature that would better be served by being written down than not. Tyndale was a person for whom words were very important, and I want to honor that by not wasting any.

-R

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Monday, October 03, 2005


Veni, Sancte Spiritus 

Congratulations and many blessings to the Rev. Tim Squier, ordained a priest in God's one, holy, apostolic, and catholic church this evening. The service was wonderful (I took note of a few things I really liked that I may use for my own eventual ordination, God willing and the people consenting: full prostration for the Litany, consecration of the hands with chrism, binding of the hands). One I liked about my friend Doug's ordination that was not a part of this one was during the laying on of hands by the bishop and priests and deacons, a choir chanted the words "veni, Sancte Spiritus" (come, Holy Spirit) over and over and over again while a soloist sang some verses and antiphons.

And with that, life has returned to normal after my vacation weekend. We had the animal blessing service at St. Luke's this morning and about 300 humans showed up with over 150 animals easily, including a tortoise. It really put a big smile on my face to see the pews so full there. Hopefully those who came who maybe had not come before will be inclined to come again. That is my prayer. Now it is back to classes, assignments, meetings, and discussions. What a perfect cap for a wonderful weekend.

-R

P.S. And I promise, some of my thinking on when it is justified to go to war really is coming...

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Saturday, October 01, 2005


The Day I Became a Spartan 

or: One of the Most Fun Weekends of My Life

or: Why I am Really, Really Tired Tonight



Last weekend, Jeff invited me to travel with him this weekend to E. Lansing to hang out with a lot of his friends from growing up and tailgate at the Michigan/Michigan State game. We drove out yesterday afternoon and got there around 8pm. Now, only a little over 24 hours hence, it seems as if I was gone for at least a long weekend; that was how much fun we had.

Once we got there we checked into the hotel and immediately headed out to the bars to meet up with Jeff's sister, Kim, and some of her friends, as well as a bunch of Jeff's friends, and some girl that goes to State who Jeff met in Chicago a couple of weekends before and was hot for. Now, in E. Lansing, which appears to be a very nice town dominated, of course, by the University, there are about 4 bars along the main "strip". That's 4 bars for about for 40,000 full time students. This causes a problem - lines. Having lived in Chicago for a few years now, I guess I've been spoiled; if one bar is too crowded, you just go to the next one. But no, not in E. Lansing. We stood in line for over an hour to get into this bar called Harper's. Everyone else was already well on their way and it was almost 10:00 before we had our first drink. We met up with everyone and proceeded to have a legendary night. Towards the end of the evening, Jeff said he was going to walk his girl home and that I should just get a cab back to the hotel. Not a problem, thought I, but oh, no, it was far from that easy. I stood on the damn corner of Grand River and Abbott for 2 hours waiting for a taxi. I called one to come, but that company couldn't make any promises they said. I hailed the first cab I saw after standing there about 45 minutes and he refused to take me "all the way out" to where the hotel was. I decide that was bullshit, and needed to take a break, a burrito break, the standard cap to a night of legendary drinking. So I pop into this joint named Panchero's and fight through about 3,200 students to get my burrito. I try my luck at hailing a cab again. In the entire time I stood there, only three cabs drove by. Again, I guess I was spoiled by Chicago, but honestly, is the city of E. Lansing trying to encourage D.U.I.? Finally one pulled up and I saw another group making for it, so I broke into a sprint, burrito and all. Pride be damned, I was running for a cab; I was tired and didn't care. It's after 3 by the time I hit the sack and at about 7:15 the alarm goes off - time to get ready for the tailgate. Jeff never made it to the hotel, but I assumed he was just fine.

After some directions negotiating I made it to a parking garage near the campus and met up with everyone. We began to walk towards campus and once we crossed onto the campus proper a great sound of popping went up. Apparently, on Saturday gamedays, you can drink open container on campus. Kim thrust a beer into my hands and a legendary morning began. Really, it was all one legend with a 4 hour nap in the middle. The tailgate was set up, replete with grill, two full coolers, a tv, a football, and about 50 people. Oh wait, that was only at Mike's car, the rest of "our" friends were at the adjacent 4 cars so there were about 400 people right there at our tailgate. Wake Forest might have boast 375 total in the tailgating area. Out there there were well over 150,000 people tailgating and having the time of their lives. I joined right in. It amazed me how genuinely nice everyone was. You walked past complete strangers and they gave you a high five, a smile and chanted, "Go Green!" (To which I quickly learned the response, "Go White!") We received everything from handshakes and high fives, to hugs and back rubs from complete strangers, the majority of whom were hot girls.

The tailgate was such a blast! I realized my college experience included nothing like this and had a moment of remorse. Wake Forester's were far too much into their own diva-ness to have fun of this caliber, myself likely included. I stopped drinking fairly early on, knowing I was going to have to drive back after the game. We tossed the ball around, cooked some burgers, met lots of cool people, and can I say it again? had an absolute blast!!! When we got ready to leave after the disappointing OT loss by the Spartans, we literally had people begging us to stay on for the night. The one time in my life a gorgeous girl looks me square in my face and says, "Tell me the truth. What can I do to convince you to stay?", is the one time I absolutely cannot stay (have to be back for the big St. Francis Day Fair at St. Luke's tomorrow). So, I had to settle for making a promise to return soon (I hope it'll happen but we'll see). Jeff and I made the drive back reliving the weekend the whole way. It honestly doesn't feel like only a 24 hour period - you can't have that much fun in only 24 hours, it isn't legal. I was made an honorary Spartan and I can say now with pride that I have a Big 10 favorite. Go Green! Go White!



-R


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