It all started like this: I got up early (for a Sunday) and met a few hundred other folks for the Mission Waco Walk for the Homeless event at 8:00 AM. It was a walking tour to visit several of the organizations around town that provide services to homeless folks. It was part advocacy, part education, part cardio. As the crowd walked from the shelter to the food bank to the veterans services building and so on, a delightful group of bikers blocked traffic for us like motorcycle cops at a funeral. They did a great job keeping us from being run over by early service Episcopalians.
Then I noticed that one of the bikers was my friend Paul who has a cool beard and a pony tail and plays bass. Sometimes his band, The 10th Leper, plays music at Church Under the Bridge. All these things make Paul pretty cool in my book. But to top it all off like the whip on top of my low fat caramel macchiato - today I found out that he rides a Harley!
[This photo taken from Paul's facebook page is credited to Souther Photography]
He agreed to let me ride on the back of his bike for a few blocks and it was fun to ride in the open air on this beautiful morning in downtown Waco. Its engine grumbled "potato potato potato" noises like a panting dragon. Bucket list.
After rejoining the crowd I had the privilege of walking alongside Judge Ken Starr. He and his wife Alice were also participating in the Walk for the Homeless, though sadly he missed the sight of me on the hog. He was very interested to hear about what Engineers with a Mission had been doing in Haiti with JAMES and Mission Waco. He was particularly excited to hear about our new Humanitarian Engineering program at Baylor. He and Alice were so attentive and engaged, and their support means a lot to me. Towards the end of our conversation, he told me something very exciting! Unfortunately, I don't feel the liberty to put it on the internet!! So the second high point of my day will have to be redacted like Hillary's emails released by the State Department. He said ahey! you think you're clever getting past my redactions and that kkdk alk kdakkllkja aklsdfj. What's that you say? Anticlimactic? All that buildup just to be redacted? Yes well, you're right, it is. What can you do?
[Left to right: Jimmy Dorrell, CEO of Mission Waco
Rob Wolaver, President of Texas State Technical College, Waco
Johnette McKown, President of McLennan Community College
Ken Starr, President and Chancellor of Baylor University
Photo courtesy of Dr. Adam Ecklund, and by "courtesy" I mean stolen from his facebook page without permission.]
The third highlight came later that afternoon. For reasons you might not expect, I purchased a handgun. In fact, I bought my first ever firearm, a .357 magnum revolver. You see, ever since, like, three months ago when I started thinking about doing humanitarian work with water wells along the Texas/Mexico border, I have been thinking about snakes. In my search to buy a snake gun, I had the opportunity to fire a friend's .357 at night. In the darkness, it was easy to see the huge fireball shoot out of the barrel. And the sound was so loud that it literally made my ears ring. This induced in me some kind of testosterone power pose that normally only comes with watching Monday Night Football or using a large chainsaw. I was hooked after one shot like a junkie.
[My new gun is on order and won't be in for another week or so. In the meantime, please enjoy this likeness of an European American Armory Corp. Windicator .357 Magnum Revolver.]
So there it is: my three awesome things that happened today. I realize, looking back on them, that these things paint a picture of me. I'm afraid they make me look a bit like a redneck. Not that there's anything wrong with that (jk, I think there is) but in my case, it is simply not true. I refuse, in fact, to be defined by political stereotypes or other social expectations. I simultaneously care about social justice but also own a handgun. I frequently have the privilege to converse with both homeless people and university presidents. I like Harley Davidson motorcycles, but never plan to own one. I am pro-immigration, but also pro-rule of law. I am neither a libertarian nor a socialist. I do, however, speak whale.