I wonder if I’m starting to take the weekend for granted. This was our 9th annual retreat weekend.
People recognize us during the trek. The waitress at Humptys for the morning breakfast noticed we were at the wrong table. Later when Dan’s voice provided a stronger lead for the church choir, the priest just nodded his approval. (We are like a 10 person men’s choir as we attend the Sunday service. Although we weren’t the strongest voices this year.)
Our odd drinks, which were occasions themselves, when introduced are par for the course now. Grog, hot buttered rum, homemade cider and beergaritas all made their traditional appearances.
There were games. There was fellowship. All so cool, but no longer astoundingly so.
This year had no crisis. Not that those are good, but they are memorable.
What did distinguish the weekend?
The weather will be remembered as the worst to date. A couple time we were driven inside as much by the cold as the rain. Half of us, including me, didn’t have appropriate clothes. We were wrapped in borrowed coats and comforters. At onepoint the storm, rain, wind, cold and lightning, was severe enough to knock the power off in the cabin.
The food was exceptional. Philly Cheese Steaks and smoked ribs were the two signature dishes. Troy borrowed a portable smoker and pulled it all the way from Calgary. Based on the compliments it seemed worth the effort. The cheese steaks were also delicious – there was variety and care in their assembly.
Some stalwarts couldn’t make it this year and were missed. But Bunkhouse Buck came out. It was great to see what we took as standard – the location, the cabin, the drinks – through fresh eyes.
My favorite gaming moment involved Buck and Pauly. Buck was the sheriff in a game of Bang! A pair of outlaws had been eliminated leaving two deputy’s, one outlaw and the renegade. The hidden location of the final roles was obvious to everyone but Buck. He laid out his reasoning and said he’d shoot Pauly. Pauly through up his hands exclaiming, “I don’t want to say too much, but you’ve got it exactly wrong!” Pauly was one of the deputies.
Rather than hauling me in and out of chairs all weekend, the guys started to just haul me around IN a chair. That was great for me. My ribs are only slightly bruised from lifting. Hopefully it was a bit easier for them too.
Pauly won Buttercup for general excellence as much as anything. There was no event such as the one which inspired its eponymous naming. There was a grand struggle for the humility bear. But it finally found residence with Troy.
We had the opportunity to play two large games – Mage Knight and war of the Rings, but neither finished. Even with enough time we peter out before finishing. Dave had it rough in our game of WotR. He had the less engaging side and the Shadow strategy removed most interesting options. He was quite bored and frustrated by the time we called the game – though others weren’t far behind. Sigh. We just aren’t the group who once played Civ until dawn anymore.
My newest game, Legends of Andor ,was a good hit. We ended up playing that 5 times. Good fun there.
There was a movie. Collectively we now all know far more about the portable toilet industry in Australia then we did before. It was an odd, quirky film. But I think everyone liked it.
Finally we made additional investment in early morning drinks. There was the usual bailey’s for coffee plus a sweet breakfast beer. Some people found themselves done their 5th drink of the day before lunch.
I think those are my highlights. Whether I’m taking the general awesomeness for granted or not, I’m already anticipating next year.