Camp Tadmor, Ducks, and Beavers

While writing this, I’m exercising my tiny little brain with a rare attempt at multi-tasking. I don’t try this often because I’ve been trained since birth to believe that only women can do it. With advanced age my thinking processes became muddled, giving me the ability to believe that the “Only Women Can Multi-task” myth was, well, a myth. Over the years this belief freed my brain to accept unexpected multi-tasking opportunities as a chance to dispel the myth thereby giving hope to men, all over the world, that they, too, can do more than one thing at a time.

Sadly, our (a man’s) ability to multi-task is compared to chewing gum and walking, more often than not – as in, we can’t do both at the same time. I beg to differ because I do that quite often. The trick is to chew in time to your cadence which, incidentally, isn’t really an option. It just happens. Still, we can do it. As it happens, I can also be finishing up an email response and begin a conversation at the same time. I have to admit, however, that this particular talent might be considered with a skeptical eye because my hands are like little computers in their down right. I download about thirty words to them at a time so it’s really easy to begin a conversation while my fingers simply empty their buffers.  Diane, my lovely bride, has made it clear that not all the downloads to my fingers make sense, but that’s not the point. To the casual observer, I’m still doing two things at the same time. As I type, at this moment, I’m watching the Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan State Spartans football game that was played last Saturday. Even though I know the outcome, it’s fun to watch and it gives me another opportunity to do two things a once. See? I don’t believe I need the ability to do more than those two things at the same time to substantiate the afore-mentioned myth. I suspect there will be more than one person who disagrees with this belief, but I’m willing to go out on a ledge here and add that they will all, most likely, be of the feminine persuasion.

Now that I’ve got this thought process well under way, I’m going to switch gears and get to the meat of this particular posting … why I’m watching a recording of the Ducks/Spartans game. That’s because I wasn’t home, and where I was didn’t afford me the opportunity to watch the game live.

I was a long way from home, with Daniel, Cedric, and Jeran at a Men’s Roundup at Camp Tadmor near Lebanon, Oregon. That’s south of us about 2.5 hours down I-5. Daniel drove which was a good thing because I’d never have made it that far. The reason, or course, is because I’m not conditioned to drive long distances like Diane is. Actually, it’s not really about conditioning. it’s all about permission. Just saying.

Jeran and I rode in the third seat and had a real pleasant time. We talked, then he napped and I read part of my book. It was a good trip. It was an easy 2.5 hour trip for all of us because Cedric and Ben had a lively discussion in the middle seat, while Daniel and Pastor James did the same in the front seat.

Upon arrival at Camp Tadmor, early afternoon, we were directed to our designated camping area where everything was unloaded, and tents were erected. Being old, my camping experience was elevated from the ground to the couch in a nearby motor home with a toilet and running water. No sheets, just my sleeping bag on the couch and it was good.

Friday afternoon, before supper, Daniel and I attended our first break out session, “Transforming Fatherhood”, presented by Bill Clem. It was a good start. Directly after that we attended “Sexuality in an Equal Marriage Environment” presented by Dr. Gerry Bershears. It was quite revealing and taught me a lot about what the bible shares about sex. Unfortunately, I can’t share any of it with you because I’m not allowed to talk about sex. Diane said so.

After Dr. Bershears, we got in line with 1500 other men for our first meal of the weekend. Meals, as well as presentations, are what this retreat is famous for. The line went surprisingly fast due to the lively conversations going on all around us and we were soon assailed by the smell of BBQ chicken halves which were being cooked on four gigantic BBQ units. I mean gigantic in that each unit was about 4 feet wide and tall, by 8 feet long. The smoldering coals were suspended a couple of feet under the chicken on a tray and they were extremely hot. Each unit was absolutely covered with chicken and we were each, in turn, given our chicken right off the grill. I know there were side dishes, too, but can’t remember what they were. Beans and macaroni salad, I think. It was absolutely great and I ate it all.

Here are the grills and a peek at the awesome food line …

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Next on the agenda was the main event for the day at the Camp Tadmor Forum.

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The main event was opened by a Christian standup comic, Bob Smiley, a very humorous man. My favorite story was about when he was in the first grade and the teacher explained that students had to raise their hands if they had to go to the bathroom. He paused, then said, “No, actually, I don’t,” at which point he made the face of someone happy to be relieving themselves. Too funny.

After Bob’s opener we were treated to the first of four presentations by Paul Tripp, the feature speaker. Paul is a prolific author and an excellent speaker with a great message. He spoke Friday evening, Saturday morning & evening, and again Sunday morning. We went to all of them. Friday evening ended around midnight for us after a lively discussion near our abodes for the night. During the 3 hours we sat talking, a guy named  Trace Bundy was playing at one of the new areas above our camp site. Very soothing stuff.

Saturday morning I actually got up early enough to eat breakfast by enduring, once again, that enormous line of hungry campers. The rest of the morning was spent at a breakout by Josh Bidwell, ex-Oregon Duck punter, then Trace Bundy, that young man with an enormous talent and a powerful message, put on an incredible performance. Trace was absolutely amazing and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to hear him live and to shake his talented hand.

Saturday afternoon was spent doing manly kinds of things, like a race that included activities like swimming across the lake, crawling through a very large mud pit, running around the lake. I said manly but to put that into perspective, I must report that the young man who won the race was 17. Runners up were in the 30’s and the oldest to finish was 50. I did not compete because I wrenched my back climbing up some of the many steps installed throughout the woods, but it really wasn’t my fault.

Here’s what happened … I was heading back up to our camp site, minding my own business. About eight steps ahead of me an older guy, younger than me, tripped on the last step of the section I was about begin. He did a face-plant in the pine needles, spilling the coffee he was carrying. Being distracted by all that commotion, I didn’t step high enough and did my own face-plant on the stairs. The difference was that I wasn’t carrying anything to spill so was more able to avoid serious injury to my visible parts. On the way down I felt my back tweak a bit, then, just before impact, I wondered what all of those behind us thought about these two old guys ahead of them  doing tricks on the stairs. I wonder if they wondered if what happened to us was catching. To my credit, I quickly figured out how to regain a vertical stance and rushed up the stairs and was the first one to discover that the gentleman ahead of me was OK. His only concern was that he’d have to go back down the stairs to get another cup of coffee. I offered to get it for him but he declined. I think he did that because my hair’s white and his wasn’t.

Saturday’s dinner consisted of an enormous New York cut BBQ steak and a few other things that almost fit on the plate. I did good and ate every bit of it. Without ketchup. Just straight off the grill.

The evening service was opened by another Christian artist, Chris August. He had some great stories and was very enjoyable to hear. Afterward, we returned to our camp area and once again sat around and talked until after midnight. Stimulating stuff.

Sunday I got up a little later and made it to breakfast as one of the last ones to arrive. There was no line so it was extra special. Then it was more sessions, the final Paul Tripp sermon and lunch before packing up for the trip home. Though I had a good time, I felt out of my element because Diane wasn’t with me. We’re always together and it just didn’t feel right to be doing something without her. It was actually good for both of us because she got to spend girl time with Jennifer and Lydia while we boys did “manly stuff”.

I must report that at the end of one meal, I don’t remember which one, I turned to find dousing Roger staring at me. It was such a total surprise. He was there with son John, and son-in-law David. We had a nice talk, and agreed that we need to do the “family thing” again soon. I never saw them again though I looked everywhere. Considering the venue, I can only believe that chance meeting must have happened for a reason. I can’t wait to find out what it is.

Now we’re all home safe, I got to sleep in my bed last night, and Diane made me take the day off from working to let my back heal. The only thing I had to do was help get Ozzie to the vet by 0730 to get his teeth cleaned. His breath has been pretty disgusting for a while so we thought it would be a good idea. He stayed until after 1500 this afternoon. While waiting, I was allowed to watch the Ducks and Beavers play their football games because Diane recorded them on the DVR for me. The #3 Ducks played the #7 Michigan State Spartans and it looked like #3 was going to fall until they took over in the 4th quarter and scored the last 28 points ending it at 46-27.
As a result they moved up to #2 in the nation.

The Oregon State Beavers beat Hawaii in the second game. I have to admit that I wasn’t as engaged in that game as I was with the Ducks. I think it’s all because of the uniforms. The Ducks are awesome.

Now I must sleep but, first, I must show you my steak …

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