Allow me to apologize for my prolonged absence, I've been travelling, packing, working and saying goodbye to the friends I've made over the past 3 years here in Steubenville. It's been a great time of blessings and fun and fellowship and I'm so grateful for this last hurrah before I leave on Sunday for Denver.
That being said, I'd like to share a few highlights from the past week or so. For anyone who's lived or worked in the tri-state area, you know it's a special place. "Special" should perhaps be encapsulated in quotes, for in addition to the powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit which seems to fall on our city on a hill, we can make a few other claims to fame.
For one, the smell. Summer or winter time, the distinctive, arresting odor of metal ores being extracted from the earth and processed through some kind of purification involving what smells like burning tires and farm animals drifts lazily through the air. On a warm, humid summer evening, you can step out on your front porch, point your nose downriver towards Mingo, and smell the sweet odor of progress... or something like that. It's been coined the "Steubie stench," but I've grown to recognize it as the smell of home. Which, I realize, is sick.
Anyhow, back to the highlights reel. Let it be known that I -against all better judgement and sound advice- jumped into my buddy's car last Saturday evening for an impromptu journey to Jamboree in the Hills. For the layman, allow me to explain that this week long country music fest is essentially a drunken, muddy orgy- the redneck answer to Woodstock. I had the vague notion this might be the case, but figured hanging out in the parking lot playing some corn hole and drinking a couple of beers would be harmless enough fun.
Turns out I was a little off. Don't get me wrong, the corn hole (bean bag toss for grown ups, really) was invigorating and the canned Miller Lite was, um, well it was canned Miller Lite... and the (immediate) company was charming. But... well, let me just give you a brief overview.
Scene 1 (Corn hole game, guys vs. girls)
Friend 1: (tosses bean bag, swigs Miller Lite) "Dang, check that dude out!"
Friend 2: (turns head) "Whoa! We gotta get a picture of that."
( guys 1 and 2 advance towards stumbling, sunburned man with mullet, covered head to toe in shaving cream and emanating a pungent aroma of beer and menthol, clad only in denim cut-offs)
Friend 1: (To drunken mullet man) "How you doing, dude?"
Drunken Mullet Man (DMM): "Howssshhhs man *$%% reawww..."
Friend 2: "Dude, is he okay?"
Friend 1: (to DMM) "Dude, are you okay?"
DMM: "Yeah man... wooohooo!!!"
Friends 1 and 2: "Do you mind if we take a picture with you?"
DMM: "Yeaaaahhh, woohoo!!"
(picture taken, shaving cream fist bumps exchanged between DMM and friends 1 and 2)
I can't really do this justice, but let the record show that it happened, I was there, and it was like something from another planet. There was certainly more to discuss, but for the sake of my salvation and yours, let me refrain from recounting exactly what all we encountered over the rest of the course of that fateful evening in a field in West Virginia. Let me just say that it ended well, with prayers and Grand Slams at Denny's.
A few days later while filling up the 'ol gas tank, I witnessed a verbal smack down between a low-riding Buick LeSabre full of smoking, 30-something men (also mulleted, see a pattern?) and a 16- year old couple who were probably driving Daddy's Range Rover. Apparently, the pair pulled up a little too close for the mulleted crowd's comfort, and F-bombs ensued. The altercation ended with the Buick peeling out of the gas station just narrowly avoiding collision with the Range Rover, with middle fingers extended from every open window of both vehicles. As the Buick tore out onto the main drag, someone threw a metal walking cane out the rear left window in an apparent random act of rage. A pedestrian passing by and completely unrelated to the scene stopped and picked up the cane... and walked away with it.
Yes folks, this all actually happened. And yes, I'm leaving it all behind.