Arriving at AMUUSE

We just had our Sunday night orientation for AMUUSE, August. There was also a July session.807a1

There are 33 attendees and I’m the only nuubi in this session (Everybody knew to expect me). Like all my meetups in Pinellas, I’m either the youngest or nearly so. Everybody here are long time friends. When we did the “sit down” game, I was the only person sitting immediately (nuubi, everybody chuckled), we reached 50%

33 lunchbox mailboxes for notes.

at 16 years, the longest tenures were 42, 36 and 33 years. Doing the math the means starting in 1974 for an event first offered in 1971.

We split into five team of six for the week, for a couple of multi day contests. A daily trivia question at lunch & at dinner, (with the honor system to not use google). Leaders brought an entire table top of gag gifts, so i guess we will be having lots of game winners all week.


The 4H center is way out in the country, 20 miles from Cadillac Michigan. It includes a lake for kayaking  and swimming and a small beach for events. We are sharing this retreat center with a band camp, making for some unexpected logistics. Don’t enter through certain doors and although booze is allowed in our rooms and “our dorm”, it isn’t outside or down by the lake. (I say we just chase the little brats off). We all share the dining room; but temporary office partitions split the room down the middle and there are two separate dinner buffet lines. The cacophony of chatter over the barrier from their side is deafening. Also, rumor has it we get better desserts (cheesecake!).

Everyone was excited that at 9pm sharp, we would do the “friends” dance. I’m told its done every night at 9, followed by dj dance music both freestyle & ballroom. 807a3At the appointed time the DJ put on Dionne Warwick “That’s what’s friends are for”, and we formed a circle, holding hand ‘s and joined in singing and swaying.

> For good times and bad times
> I’ll be on your side forever more
> That’s what friends are for

Halfway through, we broke the circle and the leader snaked the front of the line back across itself, so each person had a chance to make eye contact with every other attendee. This was the same circle as at SUUSI, and various groups, but with only 30 members it took just one verse of the song. When done, we had a HONEST TO GOODNESS group hug, then split up, with half staying for the dance and the rest heading back to the hospitality room for wine, snacks, jigsaw puzzles and conversation.

The sleeping rooms each have 3 bunk beds. Upon arrival I got lost and stumbled into the marching band wing, each room stuffed with six kids, gym bags, and musical instruments. When I finally found our side, we are 3 per room despite the same configuration, each using the empty top bunk for storage.

My roommate, John, is an old-timer who was AMUUSE president one year (he says “years ago”). He’s from Sarasota making a total of 4 or 5 of us from Florida with 12 – 15 that are at least partial year sunshine state residents. He said our 3rd roomie came in an RV, and is staying out there.

805a5For the rest of Sunday it is some dancing, some naproxyn, some nice conversation, a little wine and chocolates. Then, off to bed.

This looks to be a fun week.


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