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!

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