As Greg, our call committee chair took us from the airport to our hotel, our first site of civilization was this.
Except he was on top of a sign about ohhh....a million times high, to greet us. He is the "Big Texan" of the Big Texan restaurant where you can eat a 72 oz steak for free, if you eat it, and all the trimmings. In an hour. Upon recalling to story to my brother John, he has said he would come visit me and try if we got the job. Well, John, here's your official invitation. (Cat, please bring your camera, and John's wallet; he's buying of he can't finish!)
After I snickered a little prematurely, Greg quickly added that no one who lives in Amarillo, actually eats at the Big Texan.
Friday night, the 8th, after Greg dropped us off at the hotel, we had a nice dinner with most of the call committee - minus Deb, whom we were able to meet on our second trip, but was on vacation this time. It was a great time to chat and get to know each other in a little more of an informal setting.
Saturday, was when all the fun began! We were shown around the church, the parsonage, and what seemed to be all of Amarillo. On of the women on the call committee Karen, as well as Greg, took us to an abandoned mall-turned art gallery. It was such a neat way to use "wasted" space. Each artist was able to rent a store front for studio space and to show their work. Karen paints with different mediums...and not being an artist, I can't remember which ones. She also dabbles in pottery. Greg had a few pictures featured in a photography gallery. We were very impressed. Every Friday or so the mall hosts a Gallery Hop. It sounded like a lot of fun.
After that we went to participate in a little art of our own! We went to the Cadillac Ranch. Now, this isn't a car dealership, because, let's be honest, those are everywhere in the US. No this is where a local Amarillo man funded an art project to be shared by the community. It consists of a series of old Cadillac's planted engine face down in a pasture. People are welcome to come and spray paint them as they wish. Karen documented.
After a brief respite at our hotel, we then set out to the Palo Duro Canyons, in Palo Duro, TX, just south of Amarillo. It's the second largest canyon in the US, next to the Grand Canyon. This is a picture from the internet.
They weren't quite this green or picturesque when we saw them. Amarillo and North Texas are in it's biggest drought since the Dust Bowl, with just over 3 inches of rain this year, to date. However, they are still a sight to behold. What is also especially cool in the summer is the steak dinner we were treated to inside the canyon followed by the musical "Texas". This is after dinner, right before the show.
The musical is put on by local people in the community, particularly music and theatre majors from West Texas A&M University which is located in Canyon, TX, also just south of Amarillo. Set in the canyon with a canyon wall as the backdrop, it was very cool! It is only open in the summer so pick your time to visit us before Casa De Texas Friedrich's books up!
Sunday, we were not "allowed" to attend worship at BSLC because our names had not been released to the congregation. Until Stephen reached primary candidate status, the people in the picture above were the only people we were allowed to contact. Somewhere along the end of July/beginning of August, we were given primary candidate status after Stephen was unanimously recommended to council. It was sad not to be able to interact with everyone the first time, but lucky for you, if you wait another day or two, we'll let you know what happened the next time we visited, two months later, September 9-12th!