Thursday arrived far too quickly last week, and we were in the car heading to Palmer in Davenport, Iowa before I knew it. There were five of us from the Salvation Army clinic that banded together and pooled resources to embark on this monumental weekend. I found myself crammed into the backseat of Nick Hollendonner’s black Impala as we headed to Costco to buy supplies for the long weekend of testing.
Davenport is surprisingly close to Chicago. In my mind, Iowa has always been this flat, far-off place located in some obscure location in the Midwest. Which, let’s be honest, it practically is. Chicago is somehow almost thought of as synonymous with Illinois, but Illinois is more synonymous with Iowa, as the majority of our drive was through flat, obscure, corn-ridden Illinois. It wasn’t until we reached the vast Mississippi River that we realized we were changing states.
Spirits were light on the drive — partially out of the necessity to keep our minds off the task at hand, but also because the “Salvy” crew is a great group of people. We share similar views on life and approach stressful situations with joviality and confidence. So naturally, our first stop was at Bent River Brewery for wings and beers. Our second stop was at the closest liquor store to make sure we didn’t run out of study juice. Finally we got to our Airbnb, claimed our sleeping quarters, and made a family dinner of ribs and salad. Our bellies full, we spent the remainder of the night playing euchre and reviewing the finer points of radiology before retiring.
Thursday Night Family Dinner
Check-in for Friday boards was at 8am, so we got there at about 7:30 and took a solid walk through the few main buildings of the compound, reading the various phrases and quotes painted on the walls. It was surreal. Before getting into too much detail, the day was military-esque to a T. The Friday experience was characterized by excruciatingly long periods of inexplicable sitting and waiting, followed by a very short testing period. However, Friday night and Saturday was a whole ‘nother animal…or was it? Stay tuned.