There is no doubt that 2020 has been rough. Bend over and assume the position. And no lube. Yet, we still have a 1/4 of the year left. Duke’s 2020 has been worse than most. Yet, he is still plugging away. One of these days, I will write his full version of 2020. This kid has been known to piss me smooth off, yet his resilience is proving to be at an all-time level.
Over the course of 20+ years of teaching ag, I have had some bad-ass students. Long, long list. I’m not going to name names but dang, I have had a pile of good ones that made me look like I knew what I was doing. We are currently loaded at Shattuck. However, as I sit and reminisce, there has been so many good ones. Fortunately, Tammy and I are still friends with all of them.
Yet, some truly were/are great. Several years ago, a group of former students asked me to name my best student of all-time. This group of “kids” had state winning speaking titles, grand champion animals, national qualifying CDE teams, state officers, proficiencies, etc, etc, etc. Loaded resumes. My mind was stirring when I was asked this question……oh, snap! Luckily, I found my wits and answered….”I would have to say Kela Kelln was the best one.” This group of great ones, nodded, looked me in the eye and said, “Kelln, that is the only right answer.”
Now, I can’t argue with that answer. But….I saw a book face post that just made 2020 REAL to me! Kaylee Holt and Duke Kelln are getting their American FFA Degrees this year. Yet, National FFA Convention is a virtual deal. Without a doubt, Kaylee and Duke are my favorite co-pilots. Kaylee always commanded the passenger seat and was in charge of the tunes. And that chick always played bad-ass 70’s & 80’s stuff. Def Leppard to John Denver. I can argue that Duke has rode shotgun on more wicked animal gathering trips than any other kid.
I would have liked to make that drive to Indy. Go to St. Elmo’s…with the grandparents…..and the grandparent’s paying for the meal. (That part wouldn’t happen but I like to let them think that it would.)
My favorite dining experience of all-time was at St. Elmo’s. I was no longer teaching at Fairview. However, Fairview had numerous proficiency finalists and a couple of CDE teams competing. The Rhodes and Bedwell families were chaperones. Tammy and Mindi Clark were in charge of getting kids to and from interviews and competitions. Fred Slater and I were judging national interviews. The kids did not know that we would be there. Kela was mad at me that I would not be there before she went in to her interview. (she would be wrong)
Fred & I made dinner reservations months in advance. Only Jim Rhodes, Tammy and Mindi knew the plans. That evening, the Fairview group (which was a large group) met at the reservation’s table of St. Elmo’s. Fred and I slipped in with the group. I was a little bit pissed when they didn’t seat us in the fancy, white table cloth section. Then, they took the group through another section, then down the stairs. I’m REAL pissy at this point! These are good looking, well mannered kids that deserve attention. Then they took the group through the basement seating. WTF?!?!?!?? RUSM?!? I’m ready to throat punch somebody at this point.
Now, just as I am ready to unleash a Kelln tirade, they open a door at the other side of the basement. The kids are led into the cellar…wait, the wine cellar? RUSM? And then led through the wine cellar into a private dining room. Three waiters that did nothing but take care of Fairview kids. Holy crap!!! This is unreal. The food was off the hook good. The service was like in the movies. WICKED!! As we finished eating, they gave us a tour of the wine cellar. Like it was yesterday, I still remember Justin Bedwell holding a $4,200 bottle of wine.
Today, tonight, right now….if given a chance to go back, I would tell Justin to crack that cork on that bottle. Trust me. If that kid had permission, he would do it. I would deal with the consequences. And by the time Jim, Joy, Tammy, Mindi, Jeff, Diane, Fred and myself had a glass…there would be just enough for Kela and Justin to taste a $4,200 bottle of wine. Nobody would be drunk and wow….this story would taste oh so good! Maybe not. I truly don’t know.
Fred & I agreed to split the check. It was stupid high. Probably the best money that I ever spent. As I sit here and think about what I could have done with that amount of $s……….I already told ya. Crack that seal, pop that cork, don’t look back.
2020 has GOT to get better! Here’s what I foresee, as I drink another glass of cranberry juice on the rocks…..for October of 2020. Bob May swings through Fargo, America. Loads us up and hauls Kaylee, Duke & the crew to Indianapolis. Doug Heshelman meets us at St. Elmo’s. Uncle Doug pays for the meal. Ron Simonson slides over to make sure that cranberry juice is not the only thing on the menu. Kratzer is late because he is on Milligan’s personal plane (BK, Frazier and Milligan are flying cuz 2020 has not been unkind to the online sale guru) Hayden is the pilot.
I’m done. Have a good one. And a better tomorrow.