From 1998 on, I hosted a gathering of garden railway fans here in Hershey. It was a loosely formed group of fun people who wanted to just get together, ride a few trains, watch old Monty Python movies and have fun. Because there was no politics involved and no rubber chicken dinners with long-winded speakers, we called our gathering the "Unconvention." It was the antithesis of a boring old convention.
This is the first year without an Unconvention—it just got too big and unwieldy, and took too much time to organize for one person with two little kids and a growing business. Plus, we were starting to require nametags since more and more people showed up each year—in short, the Unconvention was getting to be more like a convention than I wanted it to be!
But now that I have all this free time, I'm starting to miss the anticipation of friends arriving this weekend. Since part of Unconvention always involved a train ride on the Strasburg Railroad, John and I took the kids there last weekend. It was nice—another great tourist attraction in our backyard—but it wasn't the same without all our unconventional friends along for the ride.
Maybe it's time to resurrect the Unconvention. Maybe next year...