Good evening from a soaked Beatrice, Nebraska! We have completed another day of tour, full of wonderful singing and community.
Before departing from Kansas, some of the men had the privilege of enjoying the donut shop in Newton, KS called Druber’s. Before going to the all-night restaurant, I was informed that it was something of a hotspot for Hesston students. It opens at 11:30 and stays open all night until closing in the morning to stay closed for the remainder of the day. The donuts were splendid! I could see why this place had a great reputation! I went with a small group of about eight of the guys, and when we got there it was clear this was a place that many of the host families wanted us to see. Eventually, there were about twenty or thirty Goshen men enjoying the fresh-made treats. I’m sure some of the Hesston people who may not have seen us in the morning were wondering who we were!
We got up in the morning and loaded the bus at Whitestone for a brief three to four hour trip to Beatrice. We had some fun along the way when we took a break at a rest stop containing the National Hall of Fame of Midget Car Racing. It took some of the men in the choir some time to figure out that this Hall of Fame was not in fact being un-PC, but was referring to the type of car that was raced, named a Midget Car. At that same rest stop, there was a gift shop full of Kansas artifacts run by a kind elderly lady. We thought we would sing her one of our songs, and we chose the Palistinian piece, “Ya Mariem.” She seemed to enjoy the song, but I’m sure it’s not every day that a large group of men comes in to her shop and sings loudly at her in Arabic.
We arrived in the early afternoon in Beatrice and went to a youth center in town called the “429 Factory.” The director opened the doors for us and allowed us to play for the afternoon. A group of the men started playing some soccer and others played basketball in the full-sized gym. (I, for one, played basketball, and did indeed beat the one and only Scott Hochstetler in two-on-two with Luke Slagel). Anyway, following that the soccer game continued and extended into the entire gym. This is a talented group and the soccer game was very high quality. We also used a relatively new white ball and turned it into a slightly ripped, not-so-white ball. We certainly feel bad about this, but hope the director realizes that this is just a sign that we had a very fun and competitive time.
Once school was let out in the area, the director picked up some local middle-school students who joined us at the center. We interacted with the kids for a short time and even sang for them before we left. They seemed to enjoy our presense there, as we provided something certainly out of the ordinary. The girls especially seemed rather smitten with a certain member of the choir, whose name shall be withheld. It could have been any of us, really, as we are all ridiculously good looking.
After the factory we went to First Mennonite Church in Beatrice. We had another wonderful dinner of pulled pork and baked beans. Seriously, these midwesterners really know their meat and barbecue! Once we were all stuffed we prepared for our concert. It went swimmingly, of course, and it seemed that the audience thourougly enjoyed it. It never gets old to hear after a concert from a spectator that they loved our singing.
Following the concert, we had the privilege of witnessing a thunderstorm in the Great Plains. It was truly gorgeous, but also a little frightening to see a storm from so far away and know that it is headed for you. But the storm came and was relatively brief, so most of us were not forced to trudge our luggage out to the cars in the sheets of rain.
Tomorrow we head to Iowa City. Hawkeye Country here we come!