And it was evening of the first day. We have arrived at Tampa. A late night packing session (still a little space left in those cases!) Leaving early this morning in the snow (argh! Who wants to see snow on blooming dogwoods?), and driving two hours to meet Diane and be transported to the airport by good friends, Dayton and Barbara (see, Barbara, you got a mention in the blog). Hitting the airport and seeing so many folks from the conference leaving on a couple of different flights — some of us going through Atlanta and others through Charlotte and still arriving at Tampa at about the same time. Fun to see the welcome banners and the wonderful hospitality from the Florida folks!
Joe headed off immediately for a training for pages (which he will share with you at some point when he finishes lifting and toting crates and passing goodies out to delegates’ seats so when we arrive tomorrow afternoon we will be pleasantly surprised). I registered; wandered around the Convention Center and then went to dinner with the Commission. It was great to join with good friends, and a little bittersweet to realize it was our last time to gather as a whole group. It’s been a real privilege to work with such a good group.
Had an interesting ride in on the shuttle. These are not large vehicles and folks are really jammed together. Fortunately, we’re all going the same place, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation. Two different people had complaints about something the Commission had done (both actually before I was on it, but that doesn’t really matter.) Both times, I said, “I’m actually on the Commission” before they went too far. It’s not that their points weren’t valid (and as I said, they were decisions I didn’t participate in, so I’m not taking it personally); but it illustrated to me how difficult it is to make decisions that someone isn’t going to second guess.
Had a lovely walk up the canal to the restaurant where our delegation (joined by Bishop Grove and Mary Lou, Bishop Ives and Jane, and Bishop Irons as well as other conference folks who have made the journey for many different reasons) were paying the check and heading back. So, it was an enjoyable walk back — too bad I couldn’t eat in two places.
Tomorrow things start for real: Finally, all the preparation will become reality. Too soon it will be morning, the second day.