Faron Wahl, Manager.
Two happenings during the past week were heartwarming as well as historically impressive. One was so big you couldn’t be anywhere near Madison and miss it; the other so behind-the-scenes in nature, scarcely anyone besides our staff knew it happened.
The first: Jamboree 2018. People came in droves for this 56th rendition of our founding event, and reports poured in over the course of the four days that folks had a great time. Saturday in particular was packed, as our parking acres testified visually by 11:00 am. Any time we start sweating because the parking rows are beginning to get near our southern border, we know our guest count is solid.
Along parking lines, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the DSU women’s basketball team and their coaches who signed on to help us handle parking during peak hours Friday and Saturday. They showed up bright and early both days, after which I started them off with a brief orientation regarding our less-than-conventional parking lot and then turned them loose.
After I departed they huddled for several additional minutes hatching an attack plan, and from there it was Operation DSU. Everything flowed seamlessly, as they approached the task seriously and with constant communication amongst themselves. And they did it with attitudes consistent with our internal code: all things done professionally and kindly.
If there’s one thing you don’t hear compliments about, it’s parking. People will certainly let you know when it’s bad, but the situation doesn’t rise to consciousness when it’s good – it just seems to happen. By noon I had taken four compliments regarding their efforts and how well they kept Highway 34 moving, including from Sheriff Walburg. Not much more needs to be said, except GO DSU!
Overall, Jamboree was an extension of that positive motion and good will. Additionally, the weather was good to us, and that speaks more deeply than usual this year. As my staff and I think back to one year ago and the rain that changed much of the complexion of Jamboree 2017, we are so very thankful for excellent weather.
The other, nearly invisible happening was a visit two days before Jamboree by Blaine Parry Dunn and Joy Dunn from Winchester, VA. Blaine’s great-uncle Rev. Howard Parry, along with his wife Mary Ellen, served as the last missionaries on our chapel car Emmanuel from 1935 until the car’s retirement in 1942.
Blaine has clear memories of Rev. Parry, and together with his wife Joy they shared much valuable information regarding the Parry’s sacrificial years of service on Emmanuel. They also presented us with framed, matted prints of Rev. Parry and Mary Ellen with this incredible rail car that helped blaze the path of Christianity westward through otherwise lawless settlements.
Considering Emmanuel served for 49 years beginning way back in 1893, it’s quite incredible to meet and visit with such a direct relative of any of those nine missionaries who served. When one contemplates the rarity of the few surviving chapel cars, coupled with the fact that only thirteen existed from the start, it’s even more remarkable that we connected with this fine couple.
The two events together – one physically massive and the other quietly inconspicuous – made for quite a week of historical relevance and celebration here at Prairie Village.