Wednesday, March 5, 2014

“Recruiting” visit

For several months I've been scheduled to speak to Northwest's Knacktive class this afternoon. Just a quick trip up to Maryville, try to impart some wisdom to a group of college students and jet back home. Really simple, right?

But when Jack woke up and came downstairs this morning (well, half woke up — he was laying on the couch and still very groggy), I casually mentioned, "Hey, I'm goin' to Northwest today. Wanna go?" Now, keep in mind that he's usually pretty vocal about voicing his displeasure when we drag him to Northwest events, make him sit through Bearcat sporting events or introduce him to other alums. This time, however, his face lit up and he eagerly said, "Yeah!" That definitely wasn't the reaction I expected. Then I stammered, "Um ... I need to go talk to Mom."

So after shooting a quick email to his teacher simply stating, "Jack won't be at school today," I then turned my attention to: Jack and I are going to Northwest today!


I let him turn the radio up in the car louder than usual. We had great conversations for an hour and a half, all the way up there. Jack even did the impromptu math problems I asked him — based on the time, odometer, speedometer and mile markers.

When we got to Wells Hall on campus, the first professor we met had a handlebar mustache and accompanying mustache thumbtacks and the second professor had a chess set in his office. Jack was soaking it up!

For lunch, we walked with Dr. Shadinger to the union and each got to choose our own custom-made entrees at the Mongolian grill station. Dr. Shadinger was extremely kind and patient putting up with all of Jack's brain-teaser puzzles and riddles. Before leaving the union, we ran into a girl we know from church, a couple of Kappa Sigs and looked around the bookstore.

Over in Colden Hall, getting ready for the Knacktive class to start, Jack spotted another girl from church who we talked to and we caught up with a campus minister from the Wesley
Center who was there. Jack did great sitting quietly in the back of the classroom the entire 50 minutes that I spoke. That is, other than getting everyone to erupt in laughter when he piped up out of the blue to call me out on something he disagreed with.

After my official duties were done, we went to the Administration Building, visited the president's office, received a tour from the director of the library on all of the impressive changes that have been made there and topped it off with a stop back in the union at the ice cream bar. The only reason we left was to get back home for an evening event ... or else we could have stayed for days.

* * *

A few days later, I was surprised to see this letter in Jack's backpack after school (his teacher — Mrs. Jellison — is a Northwest grad, too):

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