We just had one of the best weekends EVER. Never mind that I’m so sore I can barely walk.
At 1:15 pm Friday, Gabe, Ava, Nina, and I headed to Livi’s school to pick her up early, then swung by our friend Pam’s house, and the 6 of us headed four hours northeast to upstate New York to visit our friend Britt at Mission Meadows, the camp where she serves as program director.
We spent Friday evening touring the camp, scarfing down pizza, throwing rocks in Lake Chautauqua, watching the sunset, playing some Knock-Out (part of the reason I can’t move), Nature Swinging in the Dark (holy cow–fun!), star-and-planet gazing (Uh-MAY-zing!) and crashing into our bunk beds.
Pancakes for breakfast Saturday morning, then we hiked a beautiful gorge, had a picnic lunch, took a little auto tour of vineyards and some Amish country, then Gabe took a nap while the rest of us played some tennis, basketball, and four square (more reasons I can’t move). Then we headed back to Britt’s house where Pam and I desperately wanted to rest, and the girls desperately wanted to do more tiring things.
So, Britt offered to take the girls on the Nature Swing while Pam and I rested. But Nina didn’t want to go, so I told her I’d play a game with her and followed Britt, Livi, and Ava over to the office to get one to play.
I know this is starting to sound wordy and boring, so let me get to the HIGHLIGHT of my weekend. (Well, okay, ONE of the highlights. It was all awesome, but this was just kind of crazy out-there awesome.)
As we approach the office, a couple comes toward us. The man is tall with a baseball cap on, and the woman is very cute and petite. We stop to see what they want. I didn’t really look at the guy, because the woman was the one talking. She sees Britt’s shirt (it says “North Park University”) and smiled big and said that was her alma mater too. Britt asked if they needed help and told them she was the program director.
The woman extended her hand. “Hi, I’m Kathy Holmgren, and this is my husband, Mike.”
I probably gave myself whiplash, I jerked my head up so fast. I looked at her husband’s face, and my heart started to pound. Holy freaking cow. How on earth was this possible?? How was I standing two feet away from a guy I’d seen on TV a bazillion times? What was he doing here, and holy cow!!
Britt and Kathy talk for a minute or so, and my heart kept beating faster and faster. I could feel myself shaking. What to do?? Pretend you don’t know who he is? Blurt it out and make a fool of yourself? Oh, the dilemma! When there was a natural break in the conversation, I opened my mouth, and there was no going back.
“Hey, girls,” I said to Livi and Ava. “Do you know who this guy is?” Of course they didn’t. “You know Reggie White?” They nodded. “He used to be Reggie’s coach when he played with the Packers.” I went on to explain that we’d met Reggie and Sara when he retired from the Packers and went to live in Cleveland. I told them I coached his daughter in basketball and that we’d stayed in their home one weekend, and Sara had laid little Green Bay Packers cheerleading uniforms on the bed for the girls.
Coach Holmgren was so gracious and listened to me babble and started talking to me about Reggie, and I just kept smiling and shaking and sweating. Then Britt offered to take them on a tour of the camp, and I couldn’t figure out how to stick around without being obvious. “Hey, yeah, I think I’ll take a tour too. I’d love to see the camp! Haven’t seen the whole thing since last night!”
So I said good-bye and went to get Nina’s game and sent Livi PRONTO to go wake up her dad from his nap and tell him MIKE HOLMGREN is here. I grabbed two games, then sprinted to our cabin where Gabe was putting his shoes on with a tired, quizzical look on his face.
“He didn’t really believe me!” Livi said. I assured him it was true. “You have to come meet him! Your dad will go nuts!” (Gabe’s dad is the biggest Browns fan I’ve ever met, and Mike Holmgren happens to be the PRESIDENT of the Cleveland Browns these days.)
We take off at a fast clip, and see them coming out of the chapel. I walk up with Livi, Gabe behind me, and Coach Holmgren steps toward Gabe with his hand out. “Mike Holmgren,” he says. “Gabe Taviano,” my husband says. And I seriously could not stop grinning.
We stood there talking outside the chapel for what had to have been almost a half hour. He told us stories about Reggie and about the Browns (he promised they’d be better this year) and about living in Cleveland and the church they go to and his wife’s trips to Africa and his four daughters.
We asked him about the movie he was in with Reggie, Brett Favre, and Pat Morita (Reggie’s wife had given us a VHS copy of the movie). Mike laughed and said it was a lot of fun to make. He thought they all should have won some acting awards, and it’s sure to be a real collector’s item.
A couple camp guys came over and we all talked about riding motorcycles and the year’s snowfall and heart attacks and how Mike and Kathy met at church camp (just like me and Gabe).
He told us we’d all have to come to a Browns’ game this year and sit in his box.
OH. MY. WORD.
Yeah, so we wrapped things up, they headed off to wherever they were going, and we all just looked at each other grinning and shaking our heads. Did that really just happen?
Then we went on the Nature Swing again (and talked about meeting Mike Holmgren) and grilled delicious food for dinner (and talked about Mike Holmgren) and climbed the rock wall and played lots more basketball (we even ran a suicide–dumb, dumb, dumb) and looked at the stars some more (and everybody told me to quit talking about Mike Holmgren).
And before we headed to bed, we had a little debriefing in the dark on Britt’s porch. Everybody had to give their high and low for the day. My low? Making it four feet up the rock wall before I completely freaked out and made Britt let me down (Pam, Livi, and Ava all made it to the very top of the gym).
And my high? MEETING MIKE HOLMGREN.
I’m starstruck and shameless. And sore as I am, I still can’t stop smiling.
What’s your one high and one low from your weekend?