An incredible weekend

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2003

Imagine, if you will, a group of die-hard Alabama and Auburn fans singing the University of Notre Dame fight song with sincere gusto. (Odd…)

Then there was the Kenyan version of Wayne Brady (that multi-talented guy from ‘Whose Line is It Anyway’) chatting about the charms of the Camellia City like an absolute pro before WAKA’s cameras.

(Cool!)

The most memorable thing MIGHT be the moment Ann Daughtry unleashed a blood-curdling scream…just before a poker-faced Dr. Bill Hamilton ever so adroitly removed a certain hot and flaming basket from Jill Stallworth’s delicious spread (said basket and napkin had ventured a little too close to the Sterno.)

Sure, Jill’s lovely table now bears some unlovely scorch marks and Nancy Idland’s borrowed tablecloth is currently more ‘hole-y than righteous’, but it didn’t stop the fun.

(Jill: &uot;Hey, it’s only a table…I wanted to refinish it anyway.&uot;)

What can I say?

It was that kind of weekend—one in which a group of students from across the country (and the world) strongly bonded with new &uot;families&uot; and friends made in the Camellia City.

As Jill might have said, &uot;All these great kids are much more important than some dumb old table.&uot;

Six young men and six young women—all bright, talented and charming—made up the group of &uot;Fighting Irish&uot; students of architecture who winged their way to Alabama last Thursday, returning to South Bend on Monday.

During a whirlwind weekend, this &uot;dynamic dozen&uot; could be seen on the streets of Greenville, documenting the buildings as they measured, took notes and sketched, sketched, sketched.

&uot;People would honk their horns and wave at us all the time…we didn’t expect that,&uot; noted Midland, Texas native Ryan Duffy with a grin.

In fact, the project team said they were &uot;overwhelmed&uot; by the southern hospitality shown to them by the denizens of the Camellia City from the word ‘go.’

&uot;We’ve all gained about ten pounds…we draw, we eat…we draw, we eat some more,&uot; laughed several of the students.

&uot;Cheese grits…oh, YES,&uot; said Chicago’s Matt Cummings.

M.G., the voluble Kenyan student, praised the &uot;excellent southern cuisine&uot; for the Montgomery news media.

He and Katie Borchardt were cheered for their on-camera interviews viewed on the 10 p.m. broadcast Sunday night.

The families playing host to the students were truly sad to see the weekend draw to an end.

&uot;Steiner is beside himself…he has loved being with these kids, he thinks they are his playmates now,&uot; noted Mary Ann Hamilton (who had to go home and console her sobbing son Sunday night).

&uot;We have all really bonded with these kids.

They are just such a wonderful group.

We are so impressed with their ability and enthusiasm—and aren’t they just cute,&uot; enthused proud host mom, Magoo Hamilton, with a maternal twinkle.

So, cheers, cheers for old Notre Dame…can’t wait to see their completed plans for our fair city!