Phamily Reunion

It's not an uncommon Parrot Head practice to replace the letter f with the letters ph when typing. Phriend, phlock and phlocking and phamily. Some go to the extreme and throw away their f key, some use the replacement judiciously and some absolutely hate the practice.

I use it when it gives better meaning to my words. Hopefully, that helps you get what I mean by a Phamily Reunion.

Every year, I try to hit a new Parrot Head event put on by another club. This year, I chose Laid Back Attack up in Seattle. I've been meaning to go for years and a friend of mine said he would attend, too. Our plan was to go in early, explore some of Washington then hit the event.

Unfortunately, he couldn't get the time off from work so I just scheduled myself to get in on Thursday and leave on Sunday. Fortunately, that worked out well since I was trapped in Germany for so long.

I have to admit that, even though I'm a major social butterfly, I was a little anxious about attending a weekend event without a designated wingman. I knew there were going to be several hundred people in attendance and I suspected I knew a dozen or so for sure but that was it.

As the event drew closer, I saw a few of my phriends on Facebook talking about going so I felt a little better. But, I still had a bit of the "first day at school and I'm the new kid" flutterings in my tummy.

I needn't have worried.

First thing, I ran into Cheri from SoCal on the shuttle bus to the hotel. Then, as I was standing to check my luggage, Cooler Dave from San Antonio walked by and invited me to go with his gang to explore the city. Before I even had my room, I had a fully booked day!

Thursday evening found me sitting with a pair of friends from the local club. He's a bit of an introvert, the kind of guy who sits back and laughs at the silliness of others, and he was amused by my continued surprise at finding more and more people there that I knew. It finally got to the point where, feeling cocky, I asked him if he wanted me to introduce him to anyone in his own club that he didn't know.

I was even trusted to guard the San Antonio PHC mascot, Woody! 
By the time the weekend was over, I had reconnected with people from Washington, California, Texas, Alberta, Tennessee, Arizona, the West Indies and Florida and I could be missing some locales. I also made several new friends, natch.

The group was more than just a bunch of party companions to me. We talked about families and travels and what was going on in our lives and I recognized that I've been with some of these people for years and we'll continue to be in each others lives for many years to come.

And, to give you an idea on how much we care about each other, let me tell you an anecdote. One night, I decided to take a power nap between the two major bands playing. While I did wake up with my alarm an hour later, I decided to put on my jammies and go back to bed instead of rejoining the party. The next morning, I was heading down to breakfast and couldn't find my purse. I suspected I had left it on the chair in the ballroom but I had no concerns at all that it was permanently missing. I "knew" one of my friends would find it and keep it safe for me. And, they did.

It was an awesome Phamily Reunion!

The family you're born into is a matter of luck. I'm very lucky in that regard. The phamily you end up with is a matter of choice. I chose wisely.


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