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This morning at 8am, I joined Kate for some volunteer work in the community. We went to an Organic Farm (Urban Roots Farm) a few miles away and harvested veggies for customers who would be picking up the food later in the day. It’s a farm-to-table program, and one of the best ways to have fresh food and also support the local farmers. There were a few other folks helping out with the harvesting…really cool people. After about an hour, we walked to a house where a couple who owned the farm — Adam and Melissa — lived. They were so nice — making us a tasty breakfast of pancakes with coffee. It hit the spot! I also met a young couple volunteering, Kyle and Lacy, who were going to be living in San Diego for six months, moving there in September. I gave them my info so that we can meet up when they arrive.

While volunteering at the farm, Kate took a break to send a note to a potential employer who had contacted her about her resume for a job opening. It was as an account sales position, working for a local chocolate company. It was a small company, but had alot of potential for growth. The owner asked Kate about her requirements for a base salary. Kate asked me for some advice about how to respond, so I put on my HR (human resources) hat from my prior life, and gave her some recommendations/things to consider in her reply. Although I gave up my HR career due to my dissatisfaction with working in an office, I was happy to leverage my experience in order to assist a friend. Btw, Kate is one busy woman: a wife, mother, volunteer, and a student — working on yet another college degree. Her ultimate goal is to teach creative writing at Drury University. I wish her all the best to achieve that goal. She is so goal-oriented, I feel confident she will be teaching in the near future.

After volunteering at the farm, we returned to the house and I began updating my website. Time flies when I’m working on the site…writing blogs, listings, editing pics, etc. Soon it was already 6pm and Terry and I were getting alittle hungry. The plan was to meet Stuart, Kate, and the kids — along with their friends — at a local Mexican restaurant where there was a special that night called “Taco Tuesday”. Tacos were a buck each. Great deal! Terry and I met everyone there, and we chowed down, big time (I can say that I made the most of my dollars :). I enjoyed eating with a family and their kids. Something about it just feels good. Brady, their 6 yr-old, was doing some reconnaissance under the table, playing around. The kid has enough energy to kill a rhino.

Dinner was filling and soon after arriving home, Stuart asked me if I wanted to visit the Flagship (first one) Bass Pro Shop here in Springfield. I’ve never been there, and Stuart said it’s massive, with some pretty cool nature exhibits. He was right, there were several massive buildings which comprised the Bass Pro store…it was Springfield’s answer to Mall of America (in Minneapolis). There was one exhibit that had live alligators (no kidding). I heard that shoplifters get tossed into the pen…no questions asked. (So I took off the shorts that I had snuck under my regular shorts and put them back on the rack.) Yeah, it was really huge, as there was also a gigantic aquarium with alligator gar fish (very peculiar looking fish, with an alligator’s head with the body of a fish). It looked like a bar bet gone wrong between two breeders. I actually did buy some shorts, my souvenir from Springfield!

Stuart and I completed the night by making a stop at a bar downtown called, Patton Alley Pub. The owner of Mother’s Brewing, whom I’d be interviewing tomorrow was there. Great! A chance to meet the man —  Jeff Schrag — before the visit. How nice! Jeff has a smile that won’t quit, and I felt immediately welcomed. I asked Jeff about his businesses in town, his creating Mother’s Brewery and then we just shot the sheet and had a good time having a few beers. I look forward to meeting with Jeff and his crew tomorrow.