19 December 2013

Bittersweet Road Trip to Emporia and Back

After work last Friday night (13 Dec.), I got a rental car (Hyundai Sonata) from the branch and drove to Columbia, Missouri on the first leg of my weekend road trip. There was freezing rain when I started out from St. Louis, but it was snowing by the time I got into central Missouri. Fortunately, the car handled well that night and throughout the whole weekend. Arriving in Columbia, I filled the fuel tank and got a hotel room for the night.

The next morning--after breakfast in the hotel restaurant, packing, and settling my bill--I set off for Emporia, Kansas. I arrived at Talal Khelifi's residence just before noon, and we were very happy to see each other at last. We spent some time at Talal's place, watching reruns of "My Name is Earl" streamed onto his TV from Netflix, and getting to know each other better. He took me on a short trip around Emporia before taking me to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Over lunch, I gave Talal a small gift and a copy of my year-end newsletter, and also gave him a copy of the gift and newsletter for him to send to his sister Alia when he can.

Talal drove me back to his place and we chatted for awhile, until he got a phone call with terrible news. He told me a friend of his got hit by a car out of town and he needed to go see him. I understood and started to head back to St. Louis. (Before leaving Emporia, I stopped by the William Allen White House.) Before leaving, Talal said he would make this up to me. On the way home, Talal sent me a text saying his friend died of her injuries. It cast a pall of me on the rest of the drive home. I arrived in St. Louis that night, and returned the car to Enterprise the next day. (I had my Corolla parked there, and I drove that home.) I also spent Sunday getting some IPMS/Gateway flyers copied and dropped off at three area hobby shops.

Work this past week has been going well, and we said goodbye Monday (16 Dec.) to assistant manager Spencer, who is transferred to our Chesterfield branch. Tuesday night after work, I went to Calvary Presbyterian Church to set up the fellowship hall there for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. Final nominations and voting for 2014 club officers were held, and I had no opposition for secretary. We also had our annual recognition contest, where we had to guess the subjects of kit box art. I did very well, getting 24 of the 30 images correct--this may be the highest score of the night. I also got lucky in the annual big raffle of kits, winning one of the British Valentine tank from World War II.

On my off day today, I got a bit of shopping done (though not for my one brother and my parents for Christmas). Back to work tomorrow.