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One of the best gifts of my life was given from one of my best friends, Joe Baker. That gift was to be invited and encouraged to attend his wedding in South Dakota.
Despite significant physical challenges, I drove from Philadelphia to Sylvan Lake, SD, along with two great female friends and an overheating Live Offensively van.
The morning before we were scheduled to leave, I had an idea about renting a motorcycle to kill some time in the days ahead of the wedding. Why waste such a precious gift of time and scenery in some boring hotel room?! Not only did I find a Harley dealer that rented bikes, but they had a nice trike selection as well. And what a better way to ride the Black Hills than with a friend. I invited Mark Zeller to splurge with me, and without too much prodding, he said Yes! I was stoked. Mark and I rented two trikes, and for 24 hours a little piece of $33,000 bliss was ours. Riding these fresh off the assembly line beasts was a kin to riding a four wheeler (legally) down the sweet SD asphalt at 80 MPH! We put as many miles under the tires as we could, and God gifted us with memories that are hard to explain. From a father and son fishing on a pier to being surrounded by a herd of Bison and losing the trike keys, this was one epic rental adventure. Thanks for sharing the time and road with me, Mark!
The night before the wedding Joe and Ann invited some of their closest friends and family to a barbecue. I had the honor of being the MC and running a time of sharing where everyone was invited to share stories stories, give poignant advice, and shed a fear tears. There were some amazing tales of adventure shared about their lives. It showed how alike they really are, and how clearly God has brought them together. What a brilliant way to start the event. Concluding the evening, Joe presented myself, the other three Band of Brothers, and his brother Mike with engraved handguns. Not only were we humbled, shocked and surprised, the gift created quite a stir with those in attendance. Joe described how we had all fought well beside each other the past seven years as a group, and wanted to offer a gift that displayed that. We had led men’s retreats and had battled for hearts of both our group members and others outside our immediate community. The bond we have as a group is amazing, and the strength, danger, and passion that each man brings to the world was captured perfectly in this gift. Thanks Joe, it will be treasured forever.