I went to my first PATCON yesterday, and what follows is my preliminary takeaway. Or, at least some highlights. We'll see how the recall flows...
I was a stranger to everyone there, as were they to me. I didn't know what to expect, but the pleasant surprises outnumbered the otherwise by about 15:1. Personally, I think Brock (and the event) could benefit mightily from a Walmart Greeter. That is, someone who knows what's going on and can point arriving folks in the right direction...even for a parking spot. Even just for the value of reassuring first-timers that they're welcome, such a functionary would improve the overall experience, in my opinion.
Hi, I'm Billy. Welcome to Spring PATCON '14. Here's your souvenir window cling. This your first time to Brock's place? He's asked me to check off this list of expected attendees, so? Very good then, why don't you back that truck in next to the peacock. No, don't fret...he only bites Beemers.
Such might have been helpful to me, at least, because I arrived early to the advertised schedule but during a
round-table discussion smokum of the peace pipe (in the "parking area", no less) of about 20 serious people (no beta-males allowed). I wasn't sure if I was welcome to mosey in amongst 'em, but felt like I wanted to be within my limited earshot of anything serious, and knew I didn't want them to get the idea that I didn't think I belonged. Hi, my name's Jeff, and I'm a recovering Constitutionalist Republican, I could have said, but didn't get invited to do so. I'm sure they were all on high-alert to possible interlopers, but nobody asked for my bona fides, or shoo'd me away. Which I was prepared to accept, either way.
Anyways...I'm glad I sauntered in, and glad I stayed, and glad I was not made to feel the least bit uncomfortable. Plus, I'm thankful for the minor wisdom that God furnished me with two eyes and two ears and one mouth, and I was smart enough to use them in those proportions.
After the discussion wrapped up, I met David, and Pete, and Randy, and Doug(?), and then Brock, and Holly. Later, I met Sam C., and Sandman, and Christian, and Grenadier1. I like them all, a lot. I hope I didn't make too big an annoyance of myself, especially when the main event had broken up and folks were clustered in a few smaller groups. That's the way it goes when you want to fit in, but not butt in...Should I stay, should I go? How long should I stand here looking like a dipshit?
The only things the got my back-fur up were the presentations (multiple!) pitching retro guvmint. I actually like and agree very much with the concept of restoring the Old North State to it pre-WBTS sovereignty. I do not, however, agree with the proffered solution of a new collective to replace the current one. And, I did not appreciate the speaker's tendency to demonize attitudes not strictly aligned with his. I get the feeling that I wasn't the only one with a low tolerance threshold for political advice and campaigning.
Sam K. was also in on the early round-table, and I was glad to hear his input. I was especially glad to get his thoughtful and thought-provoking insights, without any of the other thing. I tried to find a moment to introduce myself, but that did not happen.
Good weather, great company, outstanding vittles. And, I got to add Sue (Sioux?) to the list of new friends on my way out of town. Good people.
To all those with whom I didn't get to share a hearty handclasp, I wish I coulda metcha. Same thing goes for the online Patriot community friends that didn't get to attend.
See y'all in the Fall?