Hail, Camp Swoneky

The lovely Robin and I had the joy of worshiping with many friends at Camp Swoneky yesterday morning as the Swoneky Division of The Salvation Army gathered for Family Camp. 
It is always a blessing, and yesterday was no exception. From the opening worship dance celebration ("Shackles") to our friend Dave Kelly's excellent preaching and the final congregational song (The Founder's Song, "O Boundless Salvation"), we soaked up every minute, and even managed to identify the participants and band members, despite some of them looking shockingly like their parents or grandparents. 
We gathered afterward for a photo with our "session mates," those of us in the group who were commissioned and ordained together as "Proclaimers of Salvation" in 1980 (I know, I know, I don't look that old): from left to right, Gayle (Krider) Senak, Bill Riley, me, the lovely Robin, Janet (Berkhoudt) Ashcraft, Larry Ashcraft, Dave Kelly. In fact, Gayle, Bill, Robin, Dave, and I were sent off to training from that very spot a short thirty-nine years ago! (Larry and Janet had the poor judgment to enter training from other divisions). The morning worship was followed by a delicious lunch and rich fellowship, after which Robin and I reenacted our first kiss on the spot where it happened, and then headed off with full hearts.  

And This One Belongs to the Reds!

 Last evening was another fine August night for baseball. Mild temperatures, low humidity, good company, and another free ticket (thanks, Karl!) to the Champions Club level at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
This time the home team won! It's amazing what can happen when the Cincinnati Reds get some good starting pitching. The game included a couple close plays at home plate, a runner thrown out at second by Tucker Barnhart (and a "safe" call overturned on review), and a combined eleven strikeouts by Reds pitchers, which means I'll get a free LaRosa's pizza for lunch today!

Suite Night at GABP

It was such a joy last night to be accompanied by the lovely Robin to a Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ball Park. She wasn't the only offer I had for the August 22 game against the Chicago Cubs but it was the best! 
It didn't hurt that Robin's offer included a suite--the first time ever that either of us have enjoyed such treatment! And Robin was able to visit with many friends from her office while paying scant attention to the game, while I was able to follow every pitch and play (including a couple gems by Billy Hamilton, another by Adam Duvall, a play at home, and home runs by Gennett, Suarez (2), and Winker). 

So the Reds' bullpen couldn't find the strike zone, big deal. So the pitching staff blew a couple three-run leads, whatever. Free LaRosa's pizza, Skyline coneys, and Montgomery Inn pulled pork helped to soothe the pain.
And when Robin wasn't looking I was nearly swept off my feet by Rosie Red--who kissed me! So it wasn't a win for the home team, but it was a win-win for me and the lovely Robin.

Bob's Bar

Pay no attention to the fine print. I'm thrilled that the new home of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company features "Bob's Bar." Thank you. Thank you very much.

Champions Club at Great American Ballpark

I was able to accept an almost-last-minute invitation from a friend to the Cincinnati Reds game against the San Diego Padres last night at Great American Ball Park. I'm so glad I did.
It's hard to get a good shot of the new Pete Rose statue in the early evening shade, but I was glad to see it on my way in. Man, what a history this team has!
And thanks to my friend Karl, my ticket was for the exclusive and all-inclusive Champions Club level, located behind home plate and along the first-base side of the park. The area includes a free buffet featuring everything from free hot dogs and free burgers to free paninis, free pizza, free stir-fry and free pasta, plus unlimited free non-alcoholic beverages and free ice cream bars. Oh, and did I mention it's all free? I was so excited I couldn't even hold the camera still for a non-blurry photo.
And our seats were uh-mazing. First row, middle of the section. And the ticket was free. Don't know if I mentioned that.
It was a bee-yoo-tiful evening for baseball, and even though the Reds lost (7-3), we saw a couple great catches by (who else?) Billy Hamilton, a home run by Tucker Barnhart, and had a great time talking baseball, family, writing, and publishing. Thanks, Karl!