[Ohio-talk] Great Convention

Everett Gavel e.gavel at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jul 13 20:02:28 UTC 2009

I have 5 experiences and thoughts to share in regards to my convention
experience this year:

1)  I'm thankful for the roommates I had.  It was good to get to know all 3
of them better.  I look forward to meeting up with Eric (from Toledo), Henry
and Christian (both from Cleveland) at future conventions and other events.

2)  Eric, Hannah, and I met another convention-goer down in the lobby one
night.  She had just arrived that day (from Chicago) and was sitting there
alone (well, her and her GDF guide-dog, Jim), doing her homework.  It was
her first convention, and basically her opening herself up to the NFB for
the first time, too, I believe she said.  Well, I don't know if we let her
be alone again for the rest of the week.  We were checking to make sure she
always had something to do and someone to do it with.  If she didn't, we
told her to come with us, wherever that may have been.  Her name is Sarah,
Sarah Chung, and she is the young lady that some of you met during the
March, because when Hannah went to the ER with her friend (Alicia) and
realized she'd miss the march due to still being at the ER, I shanghaied
Sarah to help me carry the flag!  And not only that, but I do love the way
God works and weaves things together.  Sarah is from Chicago, but being so
new to all this, she really knew no one yet from the Illinois affiliate.  So
she hung out with some friendly Ohioans for much of the week.  It turns out
that Sarah lives only about 45 minutes from where Marilyn Donehey just moved
to, North of Chicago.  So I hooked them up and pointed out some great
similarities between them.  That they both are musically inclined to say the
least.  That besides the trumpet, Sarah also plays the piano, and that
Marilyn is currently looking for a piano player to partner with so she can
hopefully continue on with what she was doing here in Northeast Ohio.  Here
she was half of a duo (duet?) called, "The Melody Masters."  On top of that,
Marilyn wants to start an NFB chapter North of Chicago, since the Chicago
meeting is so far away.  And with Sarah being so close to Marilyn now, a
more local chapter would be great for both of them, and so I think they can
work together on that chapter as well.  How cool is that?

3) At the elevators after the banquet, I met an old e-mail friend, in-person
for the first time.  His girlfriend mentioned wanting to do something I'd
been thinking of for weeks, but hadn't attempted yet.  See, in Cleveland
they have this hi-rise called Tower City.  Each year they have some sort of
a fundraiser called, I think, "Race to the Top."  It's 42 floors up, and
people race up the stairwell.  I have yet to make it up to Cleveland to
participate, but I hope to one day.  And I've been thinking, "Hey, this
hotel I'll be staying at in Detroit has 72 floors, nevermind 42!"  So this
young lady at the elevators and I became instant friends, and, "Partners In
Climb."  And that is how Lindsey from Rhode Island, Sarah from Chicago, and
my tired old butt from Ohio climbed 70+ flights of stairs together, the
evening of the banquet.  Why, you might ask? Why not, I say in return.  It's
that simple, if you let it be.  We created a memory, to say the least.

4) Again I missed meetings I'd hoped to go to.  Again I missed one full
afternoon of General sessions and bits and pieces of a couple of others.
And I totally messed-up and missed out on helping out at the Ohio table this
year (Sorry, Crystal).  But I'm getting better, year-after-year.  It was
invigorating to be at convention again.  This was my first national since
2003.  And though this point may sound like a negative, it isn't.  Getting
to cnovention helped solidify several things for me, and reinvigorated me,
while helping me realize I did better, am doing better, than at previous
conventions. ;-)

5) Lastly, I want to share something I just had a thought on.  I have wished
several times for easier-to-maneuver hotels (Atlanta and Detroit both come
to mind most immediately for me).   But in thinking more about it, I'm glad
for these hotels and these experiences.  Because through any minor
frustrations, at the very least it ends up pointing out a simple fact:  that
no matter the circumstances, no matter the supposed barriers, we will
survive, and we will ultimately get there.  And hey, we might even find
something better than what we had in mind as a destination originally.  All
from simply taking that step past our hesitancy, past our not knowing
exactly where we are headed, and just doing it.  It reminds me of the simple
truth that one does not grow without being put under stress.  It's how we
grow our muscles, it's how we grow our knowledge, and certainly it's how God
grows us.

Thanks for letting me be a part of such a great week, and such a great


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