I've known Brad Stanford for almost 10 years. Here in Texas, we've been going out and doing things for a while now. But, still not at the scale I like. And Claris Engage (virtual) made me miss my community even more.
Enter, The Suitcase. Add in the opportunity to meet Brad's alter ego "Lucky McBeard" in person - and this was a winner for me.
Lucky flew into my local airport - McKinney International (for real... but I don't believe there are very many international flights landing there!) Craig, my husband, played Uber driver in our video, as we picked him up at the airport, drove him through scenic downtown McKinney, showed off the fancy houses nearby (that we don't live in), and then brought him safely to our home.
We had a blast doing the recording. It was quick because Brad had scripted it before arrival, and, of course, I'm a natural actress. (lol.) Then we got down to feeding him... which, is what we do. You can read/watch it all here.
We solved the troubles of the world during our dinner conversation - at least in our minds.
After Brad left, I went through everything in The Suitcase. It really took away my concerns about what value I could contribute to it. Nothing in there was deep code. Except it kinda was. It was code for a warm heart. As I touched each item, I wondered about who had put it in The Suitcase and why. Some things made me laugh. Some made me curious. But, then I arrived at the big question: what joyous thing should I take to remember it by? And what should I contribute? And I got to the work of making an experience for the next person.
I was the last "pre-planned" stop for The Suitcase. Which is a lot of pressure. I was sure that people in the DFW area would be "signed up" by the time it got to me, so I wasn't worried. I also am not a video editor and probably not as creatively minded as some of my colleagues. Then, imagine my surprise when I discovered the closest person on the Protocol Map was over 300 miles away in Joplin, MO - a full state away!
Luckily, Chad Adams is a pilot. But, small planes must adjust to weather. So, we set a couple of target dates. The first one had to pass due to winds. And, the second one was canceled due to low clouds. No worries though. We quickly modified our plans to drive instead, meeting about halfway in the grand town of McAlester, OK.
Craig, Shelby, The Suitcase, and I piled in the car and hit the road.
One of the things I thought was missing was stuff from Buc-ee's. It just had to be in there before The Suitcase left Texas. So, we made the obligatory stop. I don't know if my picture explains the scope of the greatest gas station chain ever, but let's just agree that everything is bigger in Texas.
Stickers are important:
It was a gorgeous day for a drive, and next, we had to cross the border. Departure from The Great State. So across the Red River we went and into Oklahoma.
I always find driving in the "fly over" states soothing. It's like the comforting "old" way of life where our nation's food is grown. The lifestyle is simpler. The work ethic is hard to beat. The scenery is relaxing... cows, hay, working fields. So, our drive was quite pleasant.
We arrived at the pre-determined restaurant, Los 3 Tarascos, to enjoy a quick meal with Chad and his lovely wife Jennifer. I had met Chad before, but only briefly, so having a moment to share our worlds and break bread - or share chips and queso as the situation called for - was great. Outside, I handed off The Suitcase for its next stop - back to Joplin with Chad & Jennifer. We also passed along some of the Dublin sodas that Brad had brought us. No sense in us hogging all the goodness there.
Craig and I made our way back home with only Shelby along for the ride now. We listened to First Wave on Sirius/XM, as we always do, and were excited to hear a bit of The Cure and then one of our favorite sing-a-longs, The Promise by When In Rome. Eventually, we arrived back at the border and made it safely home before the clouds rolled in... almost a sign that The Suitcase would be missed.
Chad and I talked about how the next stop was St. Louis. Safe travels to Chad and The Suitcase!