Over the weekend, David and I went to Barre, VT for Pathfinder Leadership Training. It was a busy weekend. It started Friday with a snowstorm. I guess we got five inches or so. I decided to work from home until noon. By then it had quit snowing, so I cleared the driveway. We drove in to Concord because the citrus truck was due to be there around 3:00pm.

That in itself is somewhat notable. Normally, we do not order enough fruit to warrant a direct drop, and that was the case again this month. However, a school in Manchester and another in Westmoreland had ordered some, and we were all slated to pick up in Portland, ME (a 2.5 hour drive for me). But the fruit company looked at the map and since the three of us had 140 cases all together, and since they decided Concord was central to the three, they proposed that they drop the fruit here. I was not going to argue!

I got a call from the coordinator at Manchester saying they could not be there for the drop off. I stupidly agreed to unload their order for them and hold it for a day. I was expecting Westmoreland to show up though.

Anyhow, the truck did arrive around 3:00 in spite of the snowstorm, but our plow guy had not hit the parking lot at the church yet. So the driver refused to pull into it. Instead, he parked at Sam’s Club (next door), and we unloaded his truck into Ken’s truck – twice. So even though they delivered it to Concord, I still had to unload a truck twice. And on top of the, Westmoreland was late, and Manchester wasn’t going to show up at all. So our crew unloaded 140 cases twice. Then the guy from Westmoreland showed up, and we helped him load his van. That’s a lot of work just so we can sell 27.5 cases of citrus.

We labelled our boxes, and then David and I hopped in Melissa’s van (she’s one of my Pathfinder staff) and we drove to Vermont for the leadership weekend.

That went pretty well. The highlight was when a guy presented what his club had been doing over the past year. His club decided that they would write a bi-monthly newsletter and send it to the 1,300 soldiers in the Vermont National Guard who had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s 2,600 stamps, by the way – every month. They raised money to cover that. But that’s not even close to the most impressive thing they did. They also committed to helping out the soldier’s families back home.

Vermont is a small state, and Barre (which is where they were located) is right in the middle of the state. They can drive to any corner of VT in two hours. When soldiers deploy, their salary goes from whatever it was (and average of $50,000) to $20,000. That’s a pretty big pay cut. And there is often no one at home to pick up the slack. Who cuts the grass, fixes the car, takes the trash to the dump? Often it’s the soldier’s wife, but often, she is already overwhelmed. So sometimes stuff just doesn’t get done.

Enter the Central Vermont Regiment Pathfinder Club. They approached several businesses (including Sherwin Williams & Aubuchon Hardware), and got them to agree to provide paint & materials to do home repairs. They sometimes drove two hours (each way) every week to cut one woman’s grass (a 30 minute job). They fixed cars. They hauled trash to the dump. They finished siding a house. Their director was putting in about 30 hours per week doing this for 10 months until the troops came home again in December.

They raised over $200,000 dollars in cash, goods, and services. All I have to say about that is “Wow.”

Saturday night we ended up playing basketball until 11:30 pm. Four teens against four old people (I count myself in that group). We spanked the teens. The score was roughly 20 to infinity. 🙂 I am still paying for that though. I am very sore, but I’m sure none of the teens are, so one could rightly ask who really won that.

We drove back to Concord after lunch. Va met us at the church, and David went home with her, while Beth stayed at the church with me to keep me company while people came to pick up their fruit. At 7:00pm, we went to Taco Bell, grabbed some food to go, and headed home. I went to bed around 9:00 exhausted.