Dad Joins Mary Ann as a Taylor Swift Fan!

Some of you may remember that Mary Ann’s big Christmas gift last year was a pair of tickets to the Taylor Swift concert in August. Poor girl had to wait eight months to finally get her Christmas present!

Mary Ann and Dad at the Taylor Swift RED Tour on 2 August 2013 in Kansas City
Mary Ann and Dad at the Taylor Swift RED Tour on 2 August 2013 in Kansas City

But the wait was well worth it!

I got to go to the concert with Mary. It was held on 2 August 2013 in the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Neither of us has ever been there, so we weren’t exactly sure where to park, enter, etc. So we

Photo of RED by jazills and shared under Creative Commons license 2.0
Photo of RED by jazills and shared under Creative Commons license 2.0

decided to leave extra early to make sure we didn’t miss any of the action. We arrived a good 1.5 hours or so ahead of time and found parking without any problem. But the lines to enter the arena were long! I couldn’t believe how many people had come early to stand in line, even with assigned seats. This was part of Taylor’s Red Tour, so there were plenty of people dressed up in red–including Mary Ann! But some of the fans were crazy–some even dressed up like Taylor Swift. Some had all sorts of signs, posters, etc. to take into the show with them. There were flashing lights, glitter posters, balloons. . .you name it. It was like a HUGE party!

And, of course, there were plenty of Taylor Swift items to buy. . .flashlights, posters, hats, shirts. . .even perfume. And there were life-size cutouts of Taylor Swift where you could get your picture taken with her. It was crazy!

In my day, concerts were pretty much all the same. There would be a warm-up group or artist that would sing for MAYBE 30 minutes, followed by a short break.

Photo by raffik and shared under Creative Commons License 2.0
Photo by raffik and shared under Creative Commons License 2.0

Then the main artist would come out, do about 45 minutes of great music, take a 20-minute intermission, then end with another 45 minutes. Of course, if enough people lit their lighters and screamed loud enough and long enough, the artist or group would always favor the audience with another tune or two.

But apparently things have changed. At least for Taylor’s Red Tour.

Photo by jazills and shared under Creative Commons License 2.0
Photo by jazills and shared under Creative Commons License 2.0

There were actually two warm-up acts. First was a group called Florida Georgia Line. They were pretty good and went for almost an hour. Then there was Ed Sheeran, who went for another 45 minutes or so. To tell you the truth, I was bored. If the music wasn’t so loud, I probably would have fallen asleep. Most of the fans loved both of the warm-up acts, but the Sheeran guy was not entertaining to me at all. I don’t know about Mary Ann, but I easily could have skipped his act and been totally happy.

But then came the big show. And I mean SHOW! Taylor Swift’s performance was a major production–dancers, costumes, props, sets. . .wow! It really blew me away! And the music was awesome! I have to admit that I didn’t know a single Taylor Swift tune before going to the show. I was going mainly because I love being with Mary Ann. But NOW I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan!

And boy, does she ever know how to play an audience. For instance, near the beginning of her show she said something like, “Let me tell you how you go about planning a world tour. First, you write down all the cities where you want to go. Then you ask yourself, ‘Where can we go to sell out two performances in two nights?’ Then you say,

Pyrotechnics in Kansas City!
Taylor Swift pyrotechnics in Kansas City!

WE’RE GOING TO KANSAS CITY!‘” Of course, everyone went crazy with that. And she continued to connect with the audience throughout the night. It was really cool.

And the music certainly matched the production! She sang for two hours straight–no breaks, no intermission. And she must have had a dozen different costumes. It was

This little platform went from the back of the arena to the front. . .it was awesome!
This little platform went from the back of the arena to the front. . .it was awesome!

amazing. . .she’d run back behind the set and emerge within seconds in a totally new costume to fit the songs she was singing. Wow. Among other hits, she sang  State of Grace, Holy Ground, Red, You Belong with Me, The Lucky One, Mean, Stay Stay Stay, 22, Everything Has Changed, I Knew You Were Trouble,  and, one of my new favorites, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

Now, more than a month later, I keep having Taylor Swift tunes go through my head. And every time someone says something like, “You will never, ever. . .,” I break into a song. Same with when

someone says, “He got into trouble. . ..”  Trouble, trouble, trouble.

Taylor Swift is quite the entertainer
Taylor Swift is quite the entertainer
The crowd was wild the entire two hours!
The crowd was wild the entire two hours!
Confetti everywhere!
Confetti everywhere!

 

 

 

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First Family Reunion a Grand Success!

Well, the first Michael & Shannon Call Family Reunion was a blast. We had all the kids home and everyone had a great time.

It started when Rachel and Anthony arrived on Wednesday, 21 August 2013. I had flown back into town a little earlier that day, so I just waited until they arrived at the airport. On the way home, they mentioned how green everything is–funny, because I was thinking how much the landscape was turning brown now that it was the end of summer. I guess everything is relative. We made it home safe and sound, and everyone was thrilled to see them (Bob had arrived a week earlier and had already settled in by the time Rachel and Anthony arrived).

Kids playing Clue
Kids playing Clue

On Thursday the girls went to 1/2 of 1/2, a store in this area that–literally–sells clothing and other items at 1/2 of 1/2 of the original retail price. It’s sort of like a brick-and-mortar Overstock.com. They had a great time in Liberty while the boys stayed home and worked on our chicken coop. Bob and John made the necessary upgrades to protect our chickens from the darn raccoons that have been terrorizing our precious egg layers. Anthony and I went

Our children in Adam-ondi-Ahman. Back row: Mary Ann, Rebecca, Rachel. Front row: John, Bob, Anthony
Our children in Adam-ondi-Ahman. Back row: Mary Ann, Rebecca, Rachel. Front row: John, Bob, Anthony

to a farm near Polo to buy some new chickens. We ended up with two Americana and three Buff Brahmas. The boys spent the rest of the time on Thursday relaxing inside with the air conditioning and playing a fun game of Settlers of Catan. The girls made it home that night in time for dinner and we all enjoyed one another’s company that evening.

The next morning (Friday) we discovered that one of our Americana chickens did not make it into the coop before the raccoons came searching for food. . .dang! But we still had four chickens left.

Friday was spent sleeping in a little and then finally getting off to go see Adam-ondi-Ahman. Anthony had never been there before, so it was a great opportunity for him to see one of the most peaceful and holy sites in our area. It was still hot as all get out, but we somehow endured the heat and humidity long enough for some good site seeing. Following Adam-ondi-Ahman, we went to Jamesport, a community not far from AoA, that is known for it large

Michael & Shannon in Adam-ondi-Ahman
Michael & Shannon in Adam-ondi-Ahman

Amish population. Although we didn’t have a lot of time to see the sites and shop, we did have enough time to spend in one of the handcraft stores there. It was really neat and had lots of Amish-made items (some actually from Lancaster, PA!). Rachel and Anthony got some place mats for their new apartment in Springville, and Shannon bought a small rug for in front of our kitchen sink.

We needed to make it home in time for us to get ready for John’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Grandmother and Grandpa Call made the long drive up from Texas just to be there to celebrate John’s achievement! We were very thrilled that they made the trek. They were actually at our house by the time we arrived there from Jamesport. It was fun seeing them and talking with them for a couple of hours before we had to head out. Unfortunately, I had procrastinated doing the program and slide show for the Court of Honor, so I spend the next two hours working feverishly on that (with some help from the rest of the family), while Rebecca went to pick up our Chinese food from a restaurant in Richmond. We all had a nice “linner” or “dunch,”–

John rests his weary body in Adam-ondi-Ahman
John rests his weary body in Adam-ondi-Ahman

neither of which sound as appetizing as “brunch,”–and then we headed to the church building in Wood Heights to set up for the big event. John stayed at home to visit with Grandmother and Grandpa, and the three of them joined us a little later.

The Court of Honor was a wonderful event (see the earlier post), and we are so proud of John! We had a fun time visiting after everyone else had left, and finally it was time to head home and say goodbye

to Grandmother and Grandpa.

As we came home that evening in our two cars, I mentioned to John that we hadn’t put our chickens away before we left for the Court of Honor, and that I hoped the raccoons hadn’t raided our chicken pen. John thought they would be fine because the raccoons don’t normally come out until late at night. Our plan was for me to park the car facing the coop so that John could put the chickens away and lock things up for the night. As we pulled in to our driveway behind Anthony, Rachel, Rebecca, and Mary Ann (who were in Rebecca’s car), it turns out that all of us saw the same havoc that was being wreaked at the same time: a darn raccoon was in the chicken pen, chasing the birds! It seems like just about all of us jumped out of our cars at the same time without saying a word and ran toward the pen. John was the smartest one as he thought to yell, “AAAAGGGGHHHHH” and throw his arms up (think “imitating a black bear on its hind legs” and you’ll get the idea) as he ran toward the pen. I think it was Bob who grabbed the pitchfork and John who grabbed the shovel (he might be given a split-second thought to pulling out his Leatherman, but opted for the long-handled shovel instead). I believe John and Bob are the only ones who actually made it into the pen before the raccoon jumped out (through his escape route he had created in the chicken wire) with a Buff Brahma in his mouth. Poor thing. Needless to say, it did not survive. The dastardly deed was done in a few seconds and the raccoon left the poor dead chicken in the pasture as he ran away from the humans. We secured the remaining three frightened chickens and went into the house, resolved to defend and

Bishop Reeve and John after his Eagle Court of Honor
Bishop Reeve and John after his Eagle Court of Honor

protect our remaining birds–and any future birds–at any cost.

Despite the loss of our Buff Brahma, the rest of the evening was enjoyable as we laughed at the site we must have been as we pulled up to the chicken pen. Dressed in our Sunday best (or Scout uniform), here we were chasing down a raccoon with pitchforks, shovels, smartphone flashlights, a stainless steel pole, and anything else we could find. That scene would surely make a great Norman Rockwell painting!

Kids playing Monopoly
Kids playing Monopoly

Saturday was spent playing games and enjoying one another’s company. We offered to show Anthony more Church history sites, but he said he’d rather play games–and with the hot and humid weather, I think that was a great choice.

On Sunday, I was able to have a hiatus from my normal stake presidency activities to be with the family. Following our church meetings, we came home and took some family photos. I can’t believe it’s been two years since we’ve

Our family. Left to right:  (back row) Anthony, Rachel, Rebecca, Mary Ann; (front row) Bob, Shannon, Michael, John
Our family. Left to right: (back row) Anthony, Rachel, Rebecca, Mary Ann; (front row) Bob, Shannon, Michael, John

all been together! We then had a wonderfully delicious Sunday dinner. Shannon, Rebecca, Rachel, and Mary Ann pitched in to make the most delicious steak-and-potato dinner we’ve had in a long time! Believe me. . .there is nothing better for a Sunday dinner than your own home-grown steaks. Yum! After dinner we relaxed, talked, played games, and did the normal Sunday stuff.

On Monday morning, Rachel and Anthony left to go back home. I took them to the airport and they made it back safe and sound.

It was a terrific first family reunion!

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So happy!

I am so happy that we all had the chance to come out to Mom and Dad’s place! It was great seeing everyone! I hope you two made it home safely Rachel and Anthony!

We’re still kind of in reunion mode here-Mom made some DELISH lasagna tonight and then we played Clue. I scraped a little more paint off my desk as well 🙂

I’m really getting excited to be back in Provo, believe it or not. I think I am ready to start something new. I guess the family ward will do that to you haha. I’ll be happy to be back in a ward with people my age again. Plus, being so close to you other Utahns will be great! I registered for a couple of institute classes tonight, so between that, the Red Cross, and school I’ve got a few really good things to look forward to. I also registered for a free course about vaccines on coursera.org, and am really looking forward to that.

Love you all!

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First Call Family Reunion Features an Eagle Scout Court of Honor

With all the family in town for our reunion, what better time for us to schedule John’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor?

The event was held on Friday night, 23 August 2013. All of John’s siblings, his brother-in-law, parents, and Grandpa and Grandmother Call were in town. We were especially thrilled when learned that the grandparents were going to be coming up from Texas. They drove up on Thursday, staying in Olathe that night. The following day they met us at

John's Eagle Court of Honor, 23 August 2013
John’s Eagle Court of Honor, held on 23 August 2013

our house in the afternoon and then everyone attended the Court of Honor that evening. It was a terrific experience. John was presented with the Eagle badge, a certificate, membership card, and letter from the Boy Scouts. We also gave him an Eagle neckerchief and slide, an Eagle pocket knife in an awesome wooden case, and a U.S. flag with certificate stating it had been flown over the U.S. Capital at the request of Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri in honor of John’s achieving the rank of Eagle. John was very surprised by this.

We all had a great time at the Court of Honor and visiting afterwards. We are proud of our son John!

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Welcome to the Call Family

Welcome to our family’s history! We are keeping this online record of our family’s story beginning in August 2013–the date of our first official Call Family Reunion. We will be updating our comings and goings each week and month, and we hope our immediate and extended families, as well as our friends and associates, will enjoy reading about our adventures!

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