Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Golf Tournament Promo

I took off work for a little while today to promote the Golf Tournament Fund Raiser for Camp MACOBA. My dad and Joe Whisenant were cooking fish and hush puppies, and Blake cooked some mighty fine chicken as well, so I made the trip to In-Line Electric.
I had contacted Randy Blackwood the day before, a friend of mine who just happens to be one of the owners, to see if I could pass out some fliers at the fish fry to help promote the camp. Not only did he say yes but he had a table set up for me before I got there. Randy is a good friend.
Last count I believe there were around 700 folks in attendance. I managed to pass out a few fliers, meet some great folks and eat some outstanding food. There was quite a mix of folks attending--most of whom were blue collar construction workers--but I caught sight of a few politicians as well. You get that many folks together and they are bound to show up. I even saw and spoke with my brother there which I had not seen in a while.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Toney Family Reunion and New Assets

I called Mrs. Audrey Jacks the day before just to make sure everything was a go for the Toney Family Reunion scheduled for Saturday. The weatherman was a little iffy -- aren't they always --about a chance of rain. She told me last year it rained on them at her brother's house, and they had to move it to the church fellowship hall. The event was still on and her brother was coming up a little early to get things ready.

On Saturday morning Denise and I went to pick up a used golf cart we found for the camp at a great deal. We had borrowed one from a friend to use at the Jamboree, and found out just what an asset it was. Though it's an older model, it's a nice one and has really been taken care of.

We returned from our trip down to south Huntsville the Reunion folks had already begun arriving. After getting everything situated I made my way over there to take care of the paperwork and meet some folks. The smell of the many foods present was mighty fine though I did not hang around long.

Later after lunch I dropped in again to meet some other folks and take a few pictures. There were only a few kids in this bunch though Mrs. Audrey said several from the family did not make it up.

Before the college football games really got cranked up they were all gone and had picked the place up could hardly tell anyone had even been up here. Final count was 42.

Denise and I took a ride down to close and lock the gate in the new golf cart. One thing I really love about the electric carts is how quiet they are.

While we were at it we went over to the upper campground to take a closer look at the new bathroom facilities that had been delivered a week before

Sam Kelly and crew had been working on this thing and I have to say it is pretty nice. The inside is close to finished and in a few weeks the lot will be cleaned off. If all goes well it will be hooked up and ready to go. Not sure who all participated in this project, but I want to send them my thanks!

We tooled around for awhile and then made it back in time to have a great cup of hot chocolate and settle in to watch the game

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It is finished! At least it's finished for this year, anyway. The first annual Camp MACOBA Jamboree has come and gone and there is much to say. Not sure if there has ever been a week I worked so hard preparing for anything. For months leading up to the event we had mailed out fliers to churches, sent e-mails, met folks for lunch and did just about everything we could do to promote the event. In the final days I even personally went around to churches to touch base with some folks. What I found was a little surprising; many of the churches still had no idea about the event.

We met with some Christian businessmen who helped sponsor the event and had lined up our folks to help on the day. We were ready as we could be. I want to insert here that without the help of my family along with John and Annette McNeal, we could have never pulled this off.
On Saturday morning I had not slept much anyway so at 4:00 a.m. I was up and getting things ready. The Christian Southern Archers (CSA) group were the first to arrive, which was right after daylight. They were having a separate event on the same day but had graciously said they would donate all money made to the Camp. This is the third time they have been up to the camp this year. It has turned out to be a good partnership. I really like Chris Hester and his crew.

It wasn't too long before Shawn Reed arrived to help out with the youth event. I went with Shawn a couple of years ago to Shocco, when he was part of the MBA Leadership team. I believe God has big things in store for him soon. Some friends of mine from the fire department came to help shuttle parking along, with Billy Taylor and another guy from Hometown Lenders. Walter McGehee, quite possibly the best chicken cooker in North Alabama came along about this time and I was glad to see him. We have been friends for awhile now.
Not too long after that Wells Johnson and his lovely wife showed up to help Walter. Now these are some quality folks I would like to get to know better. Wells came up here earlier in the year as part of Disaster relief.
My daughter Jocelyn, and her friends Amy & Kimberly, came along to handle the kids craft tent, and I will just go ahead and say they did a fine job. I knew they would.
My son James came up to take some pictures and film a little video. With that camera of his you can just about spot a flea on the moon. By the time he gets through editing something it looks like a picture in National Geographic magazine. He took the picture of the pond with the canoe that I use in the blog header, by the way.

My lovely wife, Denise, and Annette worked the information tent and did a top-notch job. People started arriving shortly after 8:00 a.m. to some freshly brewed coffee.

There was much activity, faces got painted, and a few fish were caught.
On one trip down the backside of the hill, a fawn darted across the road in front of the shuttle crew. Once the chicken started cooking it was hard to focus as it smelled so good. There were several folks who had never been up here before that I got to talk to which was great. One couple even volunteered to help out in the future.

I spent some time speaking with Brother Don Shultz (Pastor, New Market Baptist Church), and he told me quite a story. He said in his church it all came to a head last Sunday -- found out there had been a bunch of lying going on for a long time. Several weeks ago he said he could feel an undertow in the church; something was going on but folks were avoiding talking to him about it. It finally reached a point where he called the Deacons in and told them he needed to know if folks were trying to get rid of him; just let him know and he'd go quietly. They assured him nothing like that was going on and everything was fine. Well Brother Don said he believed them and the feeling he had went away. The next Sunday came and come to find out it was all a celebration for him the church had arranged for his "50th year in ministry". They had invited folks he had gone to college with to be there, including former Tennessee football coach Johnny Majors (who was Don's room mate). There was food and music and a great time of fellowship. They even bought him a brand new John Deere riding lawnmower. I heard someone say there is not even dirt on the tires yet; that he has it sitting in his den at home and watches TV while sitting on it. Anyway back to the Jamboree.

Eleven o'clock was getting close so we rounded everyone for the Pastor's Lawn Mower Race.

We had four riders with one, Brother Don, who brought his own mower (it wasn't the John Deere). The course was about a half mile long and they were to follow me as I led in the golf cart.

As the gun sounded -- or rather, as the golf cart pulled forward -- the race began. There were two Craftsmen, one Murray and I am not sure what Brother Don was riding though one of the other riders said there was a strange canister attached to the side.

Everyone was even for awhile and then Don slid back to fourth as they left the field. As we came down the hill headed around the backside the Murray and one of the Craftsman were neck-and-neck. But the big hill was coming up, and this was sure to weed them out.

I got to the top of the hill and waited for a minute and there came the Murray pulling ahead by 3 lengths and one of the Craftsman was nowhere in sight.

When they entered the field once again headed towards the starting line interesting things began happening. Brother Don begins to pass the Murray as the rider was reaching out trying to pull him off the mower.

The rider of the Craftsman that could be seen was off the mower with it running and walking beside it.

The Murray was giving it all he had and protesting about Don pulling ahead. He was yelling something about nitro and that canister on the side.

With only about 50 yards to go from out of nowhere came the lost Craftsman who was gaining fast as he was being pulled by some guys in a Polaris!
It was almost a picture perfect finish but Brother Don managed to hold everyone off and crossed the finish line among cheers and clapping from the crowd. I believe he was sandbagging all the way.

After the race we all gathered for lunch as Brother Harold Sellers said a word of prayer. We gave away some door prizes including a brand new circular saw donated by Wilson Lumber. There was a good time of fellowship, plenty of great food, and then a trophy was presented to our lawn mower race winner.
Jason Merkel did a great job with the burgers and dogs..he knows his way around a grill pretty well.

Sam Kelly had some great Camp MACOBA tee shirts made up. If anyone would like one they can find him at Bedz for Kidz on South Parkway close to Mock Electronics.
Everyone had left by around 1:30 or so and after everything was put back in order I settled in to watch a little SEC Football. It was a good day. Already planning for next year, which by the way the date is the September 24th, the 4th Saturday of the month, so go ahead and put it on your calendars!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Before the Jamboree

I had really been wanting one of those chainsaws on a pole for the camp; they say be careful for what you wish for you might just get it! A great friend of mine from way back who owns "Southern Exteriors", volunteered to bring his crew up to the camp to help prepare for our big day coming up on September 18th. Today was the day.

It just so happens he has one of those chainsaws on a pole, and he gave me the choice to be the cutter or the one who picked up and hauled the brush to the pile. I jumped at the chance to use the saw. Shannon, the owner, worked with me while the rest of his crew went off to begin trimming around the ponds. We trimmed trees and overhanging limbs from all the roads. The saw was easy enough to work and for the first hour limbs were falling left and right. Every time Shannon would return there would be plenty more to haul away. At the end of the second hour he had just about caught up with me. By the time the third hour came I could barely lift my arm; good thing we were finished! I had a meeting to attend but he and his crew stayed another three hours working on the ponds. They are some of the most hard-working, trustworthy folks I have been around. Oh, and by the way, if you ever need anything done connected with landscaping, don't hesitate to call "Southern Exteriors" at 256-656-5487.

That evening before dark I took a quick walk up to the pond to see what a fine job they had done up there.