One of the friends I've made there is another regular volunteer named Nell. She really made me feel good today, telling me that she was so glad I'd kept coming, and that it meant a lot to her to see me there. I kind of want to see if Nell will adopt me as her grandson.
Now, if you follow college sports much (which I admittedly don't), you may remember a few years ago when Coach Gillispie left A&M. There were some very hard feelings about how he made the announcement and the move. I have to admit that I was pretty sore over it, too. I'd never been much of an Aggie basketball fan until he got there and turned the program around, and when he left so abruptly, it was upsetting. It was the kind of thing that a guy (like me) and his buddies might sit around and grumble about over beers, while saying things like, "If I ever get eye-to-eye with that guy..."
Fortunately, I lack the courage of my drunken convictions, because it turns out that Coach Gillispie is as friendly a guy as you could hope to meet. I introduced myself, told him that I'd loved watching him turn A&M's team into a winning one, and that I looked forward to watching him at Tech, too. Then I asked him if I could get a picture with him - this is when I figured out the problem with my phone's camera. The problem is that I keep handing it to old people who have never used a camera phone before. At least BCG is in focus in the picture.
After the team and volunteers had all eaten, we began getting ready to serve. The meal always begins with announcements and recognition of anybody whose birthday is that day. After that was taken care of, the team was introduced, and Coach Gillispie briefly addressed the room to thank them for the opportunity to come serve. One of his players, Robert Lewandowski, gave a blessing, and then we began to make plates. Usually, the people in attendance walk through the line and receive their food, but we did it differently today. Our guests remained seated while the servers put food on the plates, and the team waited tables, taking plates out to the guests.
A generous friend gave me five tickets to take my family to see the Red Raiders play Cal State - Bakersfield on December 27th, since I'll be on vacation from work. I'm really looking forward to it, especially now that I've worked alongside these guys. They're a wonderful group, and I think it speaks volumes about them that they're out in the community giving their time right in the middle of final exams. I'll be cheering them on this season, except on January 14th, when they'll be making a long, tearful trip home from College Station.
Gratitude Project: I'm afraid I have to be a little cryptic on this one for the time-being, but Courtney and I had a very positive report yesterday about something that we've been in prayer about.