Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just hangin' with the guys

Calvin Keeney, RA of Gabriel House
Of the six Resident Assistants, Calvin Keeney, RA of Gabriel House, has been with Down Home Ranch the longest, having begun working as a Weekend RA in October of '08.

I'd always thought that Calvin had heard about the Ranch from his buddies at Mary Hardin Baylor who worked weekends, but I was wrong.

"Nope," he said.  "I'd gone to the campus career site a few times in the past year looking for a part-time job but I never found anything that interested me and probably hadn't looked on it in a year.  Then I had this really awful computer class that I just hated, and one of our assignments was to find something interesting on the campus career site.  So I went on and there was this thing about the Ranch, so I went on the web site and checked it out.

"Funny how I got the best job out of the worst class!"

Chris, Mark, Mike, Nick, Matt and Calvin of Gabriel House

Calvin was born and raised in the Temple area with brothers Michael John and Drew (Calvin's the middle) and parents Charlotte and Mike.  He played tennis and basketball at Lorena High, where he graduated in 2005.  I knew he was an art major in college and asked him if he'd done much art in high school.

"Not really," he said.  "I was too busy with sports, but when I got to college there was time to really get into it.  I didn't have a lot of background, but I started out with painting and really liked it, and by the time I graduated I was into ceramics in a big way."

I complimented Calvin on the cleanliness and neatness of the home and he said, "Oh, it's totally the guys who keep it this way."

Sweet words to my ear!  I know this modesty for what it doesn't say: that Calvin must be a natural organizer and delegator with high standards for his home.  I asked him what he liked best about being an RA and he was quick to say, "The companionship of the guys!  They're great, and funny, and we're just like a bunch of freshmen that got free of the family home, making our way in the world."

The greatest challenge?  Diet and exercise for the guys.  Well, join the crowd, I say.

Calvin agreed that the recent Ranch cruise was the best ever.  Staff and Ranchers alike seemed to have a great time.  He said, "It's so great seeing the Ranchers living the dream."

One day on the cruise I was sitting in a corner of the library reading, having noticed Calvin in a bridge game in another area.  When the foursome broke for a few minutes, one of the players came over to me.  I figured Calvin had been talking about the Ranch, but I had a surprise coming.  The lady was an early supporter of Down Home Ranch, back in the days when we had nothing but a greenhouse, a barn, and a little mobile home.  She was delighted to see the results of her investment.

Calvin is well into his second year as a full-time RA, and it's a great fit with Gabriel House.  He noted that one of the best things to happen recently was Nick moving to Gabriel from Joseph House.

"Nick and Chris," he said, "boy, those are a pair!  Chris hasn't had a real close friend in the house but he and Nick hit it off right away.  They have all these in-jokes and things they ask each other that set them and everybody else laughing.  Most of the time I don't understand them and when I do, well, sometimes they're not the most polite things to say but I have to laugh anyway."

Calvin enjoys the other staff, and he, Tom, Lori, and Zach joined the gym at the YMCA in Taylor and go there to work out two or three times a week.  Besides bridge Calvin enjoys other games of strategy and looks forward to going to a national gaming conference with his parents and brothers in Indianapolis this summer.

In the future Calvin would like to use his art degree to help the Ranch get its ceramics business off the ground.  We closed with a date to go over to the Spur and inspect the molds and kilns donated to the Ranch.

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