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Reflections on AMG 2012: Washington DC

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This is one of those times when I know that words will not come close to conveying the emotions felt; adequately describe the time spent with friends; nor, capture the sadness one inevitably feels when saying farewell at the end of the event. From the tours of the museums, to the dinners (China Garden was my favorite - we had more food then we knew what to do with), to the drinks (we had more of those then you can count - but we knew what to do with those), to the times spent as a group, as smaller groups, and with individuals among the group, to the unforgettable and emotional Memorial Service, to the Meet and Greet (FYI - the pictures online don't quite portray an accurate view of the venue - but we still had a blast), to the wonderful hotel (thanks Dennis!), to the....... well - you get the picture....

I think that the temperature of Washington DC (which was very very hot) was added on to by the warmth of those who were in attendance at this year's AMG.

I was welcomed on Thursday by RAB - what a warm, sincere welcome it was. Equally sincere was his care, concern, compassion, and the hug we shared when saying good-bye at the end of the event. Thank you RAB. It was a pleasure getting to meet you.

Jan (Ms. Jan) - I was honored to be able to meet you and the love others have for you was evident the moment you walked into the hotel. What an amazingly wonderful person. There are times in our lives when we know that we are in the presence of angels - being in Jan's company was one of those times.

And Jen.... my smoking buddy..... I can honestly say that I have not laughed so hard and felt so comfortable with someone in a LONG time. I can only count the days until I will be in your company again. You are phenomenal.

Jody - you met and exceeded every thought I had of you prior to meeting you in person. People had told me how wonderful you are - but, I got to experience it with my own eyes. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Speaking of hearts.... is there one bigger than Mark's? Always a kind word coming out of his mouth. Mark you are gracious with a heart that shines through your smile.

Basquo and Santi = two wonderful guys! You could feel their connection and love. And, the wonderful thing about it? They share that love with others. I look forward to spending time again with both of you again - either at AMG 2013 or here in Miami (let's make it happen).

Ed and Ray (JRE) - I had the best time with both of you walking and eating on the national mall; visiting the American History Museum, and the Holocaust museum (where we were all moved, speechless, and heavy with emotion)..... the solemn room was truly solemn (until, of course, my cell phone broke the silence in the room , when it started ringing with the theme to RENT ---- OOPS!)

Den and Bob - the wonderful time you two were having was so obvious... I love how outgoing you both are - Thank you for sharing your excitement with all of us.

Will - you are truly a WILD man!!!  I don't think there was a time that I saw you that you weren't on the move and making plans for the next night out. Everything is bigger in Texas - and your warmth and friendliness were a reflection of that.

Henry - WOW!!! What a guy. Another person who is always smiling, sharing kind words, and where would we be without your navigational skills? Thanks for being there and for providing me with the opportunity to meet you.

Wolfter - dang, you are going to hurt your cheeks from smiling so much!  Just remember... No Shots for you!!!!! It was nice getting to talk with you this morning before I got ready to leave for the airport.

Bonnie and the Davids!!!!  One is great, two are greater, and the three of you together are pure greatness.  Bonnie epitomizes class! So, friendly and a smile that lights up the room. The Davids..... you two give me hope in the power of relationships. These two are in-sync. The respect they have for each other is so obvious and shows in how they interact with everyone around them ---- These are three people that make you wish AMG was one, two, or three weeks longer so you could spend more time with them.

KlassyKitty - I am so glad you were able to get time off work to come. It was great getting to talk with you on Thursday evening.... I hope you got your hairspray back....   ;D

Nick - we had a great conversation while having brunch in Eastern Market.... next time we have to talk some more. Your experiences and thoughts are shared in a way that pulled my attention and made me want to hear more. THANK YOU.

Mike (Bocker)..... Another one of the people that first greeted me and another guy who is always smiling and spreading warmth. It was wonderful to spend time with you. I think we got to talk each day and at each of the events - and each time it made me look forward to the next activity to get to talk more with you. THANK YOU for that.

Gary - a man whose gift of capturing the meaning of our struggles, our pain, our joy, and losses, and - most importantly, OUR HOPE - is not only evident through his profound words spoken at the Memorial Service, but who than carries those words into his conversations with everyone he comes into contact with. Gary - he doesn't just speak these words - the power of his message comes from him living what he speaks. I enjoyed our conversation over brunch. We have to compare notes when the Great and Powerful Oz comes out.

Speaking of great and powerful.... Jeff... my friend on these forums, my friend who got me through more than a few struggles via phone.... and my friend who I finally got to meet at AMG.... I have only one complaint (and the fault lies with me), I wish I would have gotten to spend more time with you. I love the way you carry yourself.... always careful in weighing your words, speaking with meaning - you had me wanting to hear more and you already have me looking forward to getting to talk with you more via phone and at future AMGs (heck, I may even make a trip to Alabama).

The walker of the group - Ernie.... this guy has a wonderful smile and he has swag.... I think that I got to see that at the restaurant we ate at on Dupont Circle (Bistro Bistro).... you had the waiter engrossed in a great conversation... what that said to me was, this is a guy who can make friends anywhere, with anyone, and who enjoys doing it. It is always a pleasure to meet someone who enjoys life the way you do and who walks his way through every part of it.

Our special guest - Tim Horn - though we only got to spend Thursday evening with you on Dupont Circle ---- we packed so much into that time. Everyone - make no mistake about it, Tim Horn is a man who defines advocacy. The sincerity with which he delivers his message and his tireless efforts on behalf of people with HIV, those affected by HIV, and the prevention of HIV are unsurpassed. I would be one of the first to vote to have a monument of him erected on the National Mall (but not any time soon - as he still has a lot of work to do, the energy to do it, and the commitment to get it done). Meeting him will have me giving my gratitude to him out loud (and to Peter) each time I get on these forums from here on out.

Long post.... but small in its ability to convey what these people and this AMG 2012 meant to me.

Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful gathering.

And to anyone who was unable to attend or who has never attended - please, please consider joining us next year........ It is an event that will have a pronounced impact on you.

And another one drinks the AMG kool-aid.  It's tasty stuff. 

"You can't know until you go" is what I'd say to anyone.

I wish I could have made it this year, but circumstances just wouldn't allow it right now.  I'm glad you had such a terrific time, Phil.  You're not only a great guy in general, but you've put a lot of care and work into AMG - even for one you weren't attending.  You deserved to have the best experience of it, and I'm glad you received it.

Phil, you were Spot-on with your opinion of the all of us @ this yrs. AMG 2012 in D.C. YES I had FUN, and I met the most wonderful people I will ever know, and I hope that friendship last for a long time to come  ;)

The Meet & Greet was FUN although after getting started w/ RAB, ( at the Bar) I don't recall much after that.........RAB (Rocky)  I LOVE YOU  :-*  and Thanks for showing me & Bob just what a NYC Manhattan was .................there are so many of you to thank, it would take up way to much in a post..... so thank you Phil  :-*

Did anyone find my shirt.....LOL  I don't remember what happened to it, or what I even did @ D.C. Eagle   :P   .....THANK YOU  David_NC for taking us there  S.W.A.C.K, and I'll miss you and your Hubby the most.......Bob & I are gonna have to come up your way to attend one of your Romp-in-the-wood ( w/ dancing under the night time stars) hell I may even DJ for all of you  ;D

Hugs  :)

Bob & Dennis in ABQ

Jeff G:
Thanks for your kind words Phil , it was great meeting you and you are welcome to visit anytime .

I'm home now but still trying to take it all in and process the trip . 

I'm sitting here at Washington National airport, waiting for my flight home. While I'm feeling so sad to be leaving everyone, Phil's post is a good reminder of why I love AMG and all of you who attend.  Thank you, Phil. I'm sure I'll have more to post after I get home.


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