February 23, 2009

We Walk

I know it has been awhile since I've updated. Life has been quite busy. My first group came in last week- we had 69 6th graders, and man, was it overwhelming. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did- a girl sprained her ankle, another got a severe nose bleed, etc. It was a little stressful, but in the end, it worked out. I was able to present a few of the homes on the global village trail, and led some debriefing and other programs. I wouldn't have made it without some of the girls here helping me, but I think I did okay for my first time.

I actually had one of the best weeks ever last week. It started out not too exciting, but ended up to be a blast. The beginning of the week was preparation for the said group, and was fairly monotonous. Wednesday we got a surprise- A Gandhi Peace Walker, who is making his way from LA to D.C., stopped by the ranch. His name is Dermot Butterly, and he's quite the character. He moved from Ireland to America several years ago and tried to be an actor. He did some stage shows, but then went to a yoga class because of a girlfriend. The relationship ended, but he held on to some of the beliefs the girl had taught him. (Most great things are because of a woman, right?) I really enjoyed talking to him about his life, his mission, and just life in general. A huge group of us from the ranch went to a potluck where he was, and we sang, played music, and talked. It was a lot of fun, and was definitely a bonding experience.

Thursday night we went to a benefit concert in Little Rock. It was good music and good people. I wasn't really sure what the benefit was for until I got there. It turns out it was to restore the Dreamland Ballroom (click the link to check it out), which used to be this amazing concert hall back in the day. Greats like Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Nat King Cole have played there. We heard a good bluegrass band, The Woody Pines, and had a grand ole time. I got to break out some of my west coast swing moves, and one of the ranchers taught me how to two step. Yee haw!
(Here's what the theater looks like now. It's still gorgeous, even if it is falling apart.)Friday I went to another potluck with Dermot and his girlfriend. This time we had another special guest though, a local Benedictine Monk. Dermot brought along this amazing instrument, the harmonium, and lead us in a chant. It was really calming and a pretty neat. But who knew there would be a monk in Perryville? He was a really, really neat guy. Very open, very talkative, very interesting. I definitely look forward to getting to know him more. My parents also showed up that night. I was really excited that they came to visit, and it was a wonderful weekend. Saturday we hit up a local diner for breakfast, then went off to a few flea markets. Erin, one of the livestock volunteers, was nice enough to let us bottle feed the goat kids. As you could see from the previous pictures, they are perfectly adorable and sweet. They will goof off and climb boxes and people. It was rainy and cold, but the experience was perfectly enjoyable. Later in the day the sun came out and the temperature rose, so we drove up to Petit Jean state park. It is on one of the tallest mountains in the area, and houses several trails and one amazing waterfall. We had a fun time taking in the sights and just being together.

Sunday my folks left, and I did something I haven't done in a few years: I went to church on my own accord. Neil, one of the volunteers here from California, goes to an Episcopal church in Little Rock, and I asked if I could tag along. He said "sure" so we drove south for the day. It was a very neat church, much like the one back home. There was an endearing folk choir complete with tambourine and upright bass who played along with the hymns. Afterwards we went on another adventure: dumpster diving. This was the first time I've done it, but Neil is a seasoned pro. We went behind Whole Foods and Kroger and found a plethora of produce and cake. We took our fixins back to the ranch and made a huge Indian meal for two.

After such a busy week, I completely crashed. I was lucky and had a three day weekend, so I manufactured the Zzzz's and have been riding the mayonaisse all day.