Thursday, May 08, 2008

Head Honcho Rob, Man of Many Mysteries

If you know anything about Young Life, you know we are a bunch of jokers and clowns and fools. There are things we will be dead serious about (like loving Jesus) but the rest of life we don't take too seriously for the most part. That is why we are able to shuck all wisdom and hang out with teens. Not simply hang out with teens, but we actually LOVE them....and we like to pack up a few, or 40, and we take them across the country, or to a foreign country and work them like whipped mules for a week. So in that spirit of silliness I show you our fearless leader:

I am certain he doesn't care for this picture but we all seem to have an embarrassing shot that gets used each and every time it's needed, I have to go with it, cause it's how I roll. I will add that besides cropping out his full name for the sake of the net and all, I have sadly cropped the most significant part of this photo....his roller skates! Yep, he is wearing skates with all that safety gear...and this photo is from more years ago than any of us know, note the mustache as proof...and we can thank his wife for sneaking this to us.

I should actually back up a bit and toot the horn of praise for our our fearless Head Honcho on this trip. His name is Rob and I will just go on record and say that I adore this guy. I have a lot of reasons, too many to list, and I feel so honored to know him and get to work with him...gush, gush, gush!

At the first leg of the trip, in the first airport pit stop he gave all the adults a small card and said "Guard this with you LIFE!!". I think he knew that if he gave it to any of us dorky adults
leaders (a term I will use loosely but hey, that is what they call us!) we might not have shown up with it on D-Day. Smart man. Not only was this precious card something we might need, with every conceivable phone number, emergency number, White House red phone number....but the sucker was laminated!! I know better than to be impressed by him, cause this is how he rolls, but I am continually impressed. And since no children were harmed in the cross country travel, they are all home safe and sound, I will now confess that I lost my precious card. I really think it was during the final drive back to my house. I kept it in my cell phone case and all the kids were passing my phone around to call parents to be picked up in 45 minutes. I know I had the precious card before I gave my phone out, I know I did!

Anywho--back to on the way there--we had a lay over between Vegas and Nashville that allowed for a food court hang out time. It was here that Head Honcho Rob felt it wise to give the adult
leaders the run down for when we landed in Nashville. He had giant zip-lock bags that had a big number inside of them. Behind that was a mapquest map for the trip from the airport to the church we were heading to for dinner. Behind that was a AAA map, the route highlighted in yellow, in case any of those famous mapquest mistakes happened to be on the first map. Oh, and we all were guarding with our lives the laminated card that had all of our numbers for each other (and the White House red phone) in case we got lost. My job? The only thing I could think of? The thing I said right there in the leader meeting...."Don't lose me! I will not get lost, I will follow, but for the love of Pete...please don't lose me in Kentucky!"

Nope, Head Honcho Rob did not actually give us these precious zip-lock bags. He merely showed them to us and explained their significance. We were told that they would be on the dashboards of our vans when we got to N
ashville. We would receive a van key, with a number on the tag, and that number was the first thing in that bag on the dash and this would be our car for the week. I think he has done this before, don't you?

Since the only food provided on this next flight was a few broken pretzels and a small plastic cup of soda, and Head Honcho Rob knew this goi
ng in...he got a donation from a local deli in town to give us sandwiches for the trip. This was the fun part! Somehow the lunch cooler was loaded into the plane galley and I was one of the lucky leaders who got to play flight attendant. They didn't let me do the "emergency directions" part, much as I would have loved to point to all the exits and explain how the seat doubles as a flotation device in the event of a water landing...over Texas?.....I digress...I got to pass out a real lunch! On the plane! Nothing makes you a hero more than to give hungry kids some yummy food! Except for the rest of the passengers looking sadly at their bag of broken pretzels and plastic cup of soda, I was in heaven.

Thanks Head Honcho Rob, for setting me up to look so good! One more reason I adore ya!

We landed in Nashville and grabbed our traveling buddies. Another detail assigned to us. Each
leader had four kids that they were responsible for getting from point A to point B. We also have our own version of security checks with leader Jeff, because he is the tallest and most visible, and he had his trusty clipboard. He would check us all past a point in the airports, then run ahead to our own personal security check point, and check us all past again. This is how we know we never left anybody. We each had our own kids to watch, but leader Jeff had his clipboard! (another detail provided by Head Honcho Rob)

So we are finally on the road. Head Honcho Rob, in all his wisdom, knew that kids stuffed into vans for a 5 hour drive and all their stuff stuffed into a van for a 5 hour drive AFTER being on planes all day...well, he knew it would be rough. He planned for only 6 people to be in each van, though there were seat belts for 7. He wanted us all to have a bit of breathing room, even if it meant the expense of an additional van. Do you see where this is heading? Do you see why I just love Head Honcho Rob?

The van. The piece of junk van. Need I say more? I explained that our group was separated by a traffic light and those of us who made it through pulled over to wait. I know I never wanted to be lost in Kentucky, nor did I want to lose we waited. The next light turned and we all started to move forward. I hear a "ding" and look at my dash lights. Hmmmm....I notice a check engine light come on. I also feel a funny vibration, and start asking "do you gals smell that?". I pull out my precious laminated card and skim past the White House red phone to get Head Honcho Rob's number and ask my navigator/teen to ring him up. He answers, I explain, and do you know what this man perfect planning says? He says "Well, we are almost to the church, can you hold on?" What part of engine light, weird vibration and odd smell sounds like I should keep driving? Did he hear me?

Well, it turns out he was right. We literally were at the turn to the looooong uphill driveway to the church and all I had to do was pull in and park. I did calmly tell the girls that there could be a car fire that I could not see, and to get out as soon as I stopped. I deduced this from the large amount of smoke pouring from my car. Head Honcho Rob never saw any of this and he immediately started pointing to where we should go to eat, and it made me wonder if he had even heard what I said....ya know, the car issue?

I will end the suspense and say simply that we were all able to find those extra seat belts that had been allowed for comfort, move all gear from the abandoned van into the remaining vans and carry on to our next adventure.

I also want to thank Rob. He is simply the best! He makes all of us look good and true to his word, he did not lose me in Kentucky!