Lodians are a loving lot, especially when it comes to their friends.
And Kip Stoebner makes friends like teachers teach and builders build. So when Kip's friend Mike Kennedy set up a get-together at the Know Place in Victor last Sunday to “celebrate an American original,” Kip's friends simply overran the place.
Just ask the Galt Chapter of the Sons of California Motorcycle Club. They thought they'd spend a quiet afternoon shooting pool, listening to the juke box and nursing a cool one.
Instead the Galt bikers found themselves surrounded and Kip made a few new friends.
Old Friends from Kip's elementary and Lodi High classes came. Friends came from all over the state. And members of the Sons of California signed the guest book. Pat Jackson, Mike Lynch and Greg Gideon are reported to have played some great live music but they were drowned out by the raucous crowd.
Know Place owner Cy Bursi often holds fund raisers and doesn't ask for a guarantee. Sunday, Feb 26, he lent his place rent free to help Kip, someone he's never met.
Kip has glioblastoma — a brain tumor. He's had surgery, chemo and radiation therapy. “There will be a CAT scan in a week to see if there's some of the tumor still there,” Kip told me afterwards. The truth is “… we don't have a super-duper medical plan in place. I'm just proclaiming God's promises. Things look good,” That's vintage Kip — things always look good.
He was overwhelmed and grateful for the crowd Mike had assembled and injection of financial resources.
And although this was not necessarily a religious crowd, Kip freely shares his faith with everyone.
“I want this whole thing to be a blessing to others people. I want God to be glorified. It's not about me and my illness. Everybody goes through trials, whether it's them or their children or their parents.“
He brought the house down when he read from Corinthians I, Chapter 13.
“This is the love chapter that you usually hear at weddings.” It talks about love being more important than charity or faith. “Of course Paul is referring to agape love — unconditional love for all people.”
It's the sort of love that “ … makes the people of Lodi sort of special.” Now that his friends have put in a good showing, Kip is even more certain there’s a miracle in the offing.
“God's gonna show up and show off,”
That's one of the reasons we call it Liveable, Loveable Lodi, isn’t it?