Greetings to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
Right now it’s Wednesday September 25th , the mobile EastWing is south bound and down, loaded up and trucking, we’re gona do what they say can’t be done……. And so my #1 son, RJ, and I rolled onto that asphalt concrete ribbon of steel, the thing they call the interstate. While I pray I65 take me home to the southland.
We’re going to Nashville, Tennessee me and Bub, cause RJ’s involved with a nonprofit cause that provides prepackaged meals to Haiti. The organization is called “30 ABES” . Which stand for .30¢, that’s the cost of one meal to feed a hungry child in Haiti. Sad to say, but much of the world seems to have turned its attention away from Haiti after the shock of the earthquake wore off. 30ABES has not forgotten.
30 ABES is promoting the cause by trying to package 500,000 meals within 60 minutes. Yep, I’m telling ya, packaging a half million in 60 minutes. Both me and the She, RJ & Heather, we’re all gona be worker bees in that effort to package a half million meals in one hour. We’ll see.
As RJ and I pass through the Indiana corn fields I can’t help but marvel at the differenced a year makes in Indiana. It was just a year ago when my dear Sister Barbara was in the process of her final illness in Roswell GA my Sister Sharolette and I ran up and down this I65 five times in 6 weeks. The Indiana farm crops were a disaster on the vine. Corn fields that never grew beyond knee high, soybeans that never got 6 inches above the ground. 2012 was tuff crop year for the Indiana Farmer. The difference a year makes. WOW! If not a record crop in 2013, it’ll be close to the record. Like it’s always been, and forever will be, just when you think you know it all, God takes over and the weather controls the future.
The Indiana wind farms fly be my window as I sit on the right side rolling on down highway 65. The giant windmills stretching from west of I65 all the way to Reynolds, IN some 40 miles or so to the east, and 10 to 12 miles wide, north to south . I’ve never heard of the number of the windmills in this location. But they’re a lot of windmills in that farm, a lot.
And interesting side fact on the wind farms in our nation. The current administration in Washington D.C. is pushing wind energy to the fullest extent possible. Having pretty much lost public support for solar energy due to the Solyndra disaster. So the administration is now blowing in the wind. A little publicized fact is, these massive windmills have killed more endangered species of birds in the last 5 years than mankind has destroyed since 1980.
The EPA and all other Federal Agencies have been instructed to stop tracking the Bald Eagles killed by wind turbines, and so they have. It’s interesting to note that a private citizen who kills a Bald Eagle is subject to a $250,00.00 fine and 10 years in prison. A Federally favored business that enjoys both State and Federal tax credits along with other benefits, who kills a Bald Eagles, well those Bald Eagles, don’t count anymore. Just think about that for a little bit. That’s all from an administration who anticipated “A level playing field” along with “Complete Transparency” in government. In fact, stated publicly they would be the most transparent administration in the history of the nation.
Saw an interesting sign along the way. It was a group in Indians on setting on horseback. The caption read “Give us your guns. They said. We will protect you. They said.” Guess that federal transparency and complete honesty doesn’t extend to things with feathers. Things like Bald eagles and Indians.
As northern Indiana turns into central Indiana, and the windmills disappear from the right side rear view mirror, it’s kinda fun to think that we’ll see both Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville TN before the sun goes down. But before Louisville can be seen above the horizon, lunch time comes around and on the road again, that means Cracker Barrel when it comes to BobbyRay and lunch time.
It was maybe 30 minutes after lunch at the Cracker Barrel that I decided to set up the office computer and go to work for the day. If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of when you push the ON button of your computer and it don’t turn on, only you can know what I’m talking about. If you have not, you don’t know, so don’t even try to imagine. It is not a happy feeling when the computer don’t roll.
Three hundred miles to wonder what’s wrong. Is it mechanical? Is it software? Can I address the issue when I get to Tennessee? What if I can’t? It was at that point I pushed the dark side back into the shadows from whence it came, and decided yes I can. Within minutes of stepping into my hotel room, the laptop was up and running with Spike The Man Cat looking back at me from the background of the desktop.
Thursday morning RHCO INC opened for business as usual, just an hour late and 500 miles south. As RJ prepared to cook several hundred lbs of pork donated by the SISCO FOODS, I prepared to do boring data entry for the next several hours. Don’t know why but the time flew by that morning and it seemed that within a flash the data entry had been posted. Two income tax returns had been completed and filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
The year was 1990 and IRS was looking for tax return preparers who owned computers and were willing to participate in a pilot program of filing income tax returns by computer. I signed up. It took 30 minutes of long distance telephone time, at my cost, to transmit one tax return. In order to continue in the pilot program for the following year I had to agree to transmit a minimum of 10 tax returns. I agreed.
As I closed my Tennessee RHCO for the day I’d worked the day on a laptop computer many thousands times more powerful than the 1990 computer first used for IRS tax filings. And that extra cost to transmit those two tax returns. No extra cost. Time to do so, 10 – 12 seconds at the most. All day I worked on the laptop and a secured wireless internet connection that not only made the IRS available but also provide many millions of other sites on the internet.
Shortly before dark, the She was also in Tennessee. The She and Heather having arrived just after 7 PM. My world is always better when me and the She are in the same state. Even more better when in the same house. And so it was, Thursday night that me and the She were once again in the same house. I sleep better that way.
Friday we played in the Tennessee sunshine, while RJ cooked the meat for BUBS BBQ to feed the worker being trained for tomorrow’s 30 ABS attempt to set a world record of 500,000 meals packed in one hour. Friday Morning looking for a place to eat breakfast, we almost went, but did not go, to a place called The Puffy Muffin. Should have done so, ‘cause now I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering was it Puffy Good or Puffy Bad. Next trip thru Tennessee, we’ll find out. We did find a cup cake store to die for.
The sun had not even thought about rising above the Smokey Mountains when the She is yelling for me to get up and get ready, ‘cause we’re leaving no later than 6 O’clock. We were unpacked and inside the Nashville Municipal Auditorium before much of Nashville decided to wake up for the day. It was not yet 7 o’clock when RJ & Heather decided to go outside the Auditorium and find something for breakfast.
While waiting for the breakfast delivery, me and the She walked around the concourse inside the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. The walls were decorated with large (4’x8’) reproductions of actual tickets for shows at the auditorium. Elvis, July 1 1972, the ticket cost $9.00. Prince August 18, 2000, the ticket cost $65.00. I know who Elvis was. I never heard of a person called Prince. I’m sure some must have. Those willing to pay $65.00 back in the year 2000, well they could see him live.
Well over 2,000 people from all over the country came to participate in the event. An official from the Genies Book of World Records was on hand to officially record and attest to the results of the effort. Win lose or draw, the effort would be recorded by the man from London, England with the funny accent. It was gratifying to think my son had chosen to support the effort to feed the hungry children of Haiti by bringing BUBS BBQ all the way to Nashville TN to serve two meals on two different days to some 200 people each day. RJ asked me and the She to come along. We went along, not for the ride but to be a worker bee.
The auditorium floor had been set up into workstations to accommodate 30 workers per station. The food to be packaged (all dried ingredients) was stacked as close to the workstations as possible. Cardboard boxes were assembled and stacked well over head high all over the place.
Each workstation had a person in charge who’s responsibility it was to within one hour assign us worker bees jobs and train us in the ways of assembling a half million meals in one hour. Not an easy task considering, I’m sure, most of us had never assembled much more than a single bologna sandwich in one hour. But we learned quick.
54 meals per plastic bag. 4 bags per box. The process was straight forward. 4 people scooping rice, soy protein, and dehydrated pinto beans into a stationary funnel. 2 people hold the plastic bag. When all the scoops have been made the bags are handed off. 2 people weigh the bags 3,500 to 3,518 grams. Weight is adjusted up or down by the use of rice. 2 sealers are charged with removing the air from the plastic bag and placing the end inside the electric sealing machine. 2 people push down the heating arm of the sealing machine and count to eight. 2 people load and tape the cases.
In less than an hour, the people in charge felt the worker bee training was sufficient to go for the gold. But in order to start the record breaking attempt it was necessary to first obtain the consent to start early as the attempt to break the record had officially been set to start at 10:00 AM. And here it was only 9:40 AM. When the official observer of the record attempt, that guy from England, the one that talked funny, thought starting a few minutes early would be fine.
When the countdown reached zero and the air filled with upbeat country pop music, 4 hands dumped into the funnel. 2 hands held the plastic bag. 1 weighed the bag. 2 sealed the bag. 1 placed the bag in the bottom of the case. And just that quick our team completed the first 54 meals of our goal of 500,000. Now if the rest of the house can keep with us we’ll be taking home the record.
Like every team effort, moving at the speed of the slowest member, maximum effort was exerted by those assembled inside the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Over 2,000 pretty much strangers pulling together for a common goal. The goal being packing 500,000 meals in one hour for the orphans of Haiti.
39 minutes into the challenge our team ran out of the dehydrated pinto beans. Our production stopped. Try as they might none of our team could locate any extra pinto beans to continue our production line. Our team contribution to the effort had ended. Within minutes all other workstations were also running out of pinto beans. The total effort had been put forth. The only thing left was the final count, and either the shouting or groining, we’ll see.
The Guinness Book of World Records observer was introduced to give the final count. He provided us with the technical stuff, pounds of food, converted to kilograms, and stuff like that. The distance to Haiti from Nashville TN. The fact that we did not use the whole hour. And then he said Ladies and Gentlemen a new world record has been established at 530,064 meals packaged in one hour. We yelled, we clapped, we hugged both friends and strangers, we cried and laughed. Orphan babies we didn’t even know, could now eat a little better because of our efforts.
It was after the record setting event that BUBS BBQ served the final meal in Nashville. The final taste of BUBS BBQ went not to the ones who pulled such an event together, as they had their taste of BUBS the night before. This final group that got the taste of BUBS BBQ in Nashville was the crew charged with the daunting task of cleaning up the house, and a messy house it was.
RJ did have one special guest of the final BUBS BBQ in Nashville, the guy representing the Guinness Book of World Records. He and Bub hit it off right up. RJ gave him a BUBS BBQ Cap. He loved the BBQ, said it was the best he ever had. The She made the Guinness Book of World Records guy two BUBS BBQ Sandwiches to go. Said he was flying out of Nashville that afternoon. I’m still wondering if the aluminum wrapped BUBS BBQ Sandwiches set off the airport security system. If so he could have just showed ‘’em the hat.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, Nashville Bound, Working Away From Home, Playing Away From Home, 30 ABES, A Record Made, BUBS BBQ & The Englishman Taking Home The Makins
I Wish You Well.