The real opening of the luncheon meeting occurred during the piano prelude – President John killed it. Your reporter can’t cite the music performed, only say that it was a beautiful, continuous ‘wall of sound’; the Rotary equivalent of the B-side of Abbey Road.
Then, jumping from bench to podium in a second, John announced, “In honor of our District Governor, Barry Fraser, and his wife, we’ll sing O Canada first, then The Star-Spangled Banner.” Led by DG Barry and his wife, Mary, the assembly accomplished admirably.
Agnes Reading came to the podium next, and delivered a wonderful Inspiration, tailor made for the New Member proceedings to come. “Consider yourself at home,” she began, in an obvious reference to the hit song from Oliver.” The rest was a poetic re-write, with verses sounding thusly: “You are now Rotary/Family/You have lots of Ener-gy/Now we work on Synergy….” Bravo, Agnes!
Our singing bacchanal wasn’t over yet. Past President Downs Herold bounced to the podium, John returned to the piano, and everybody picked up the blue books. The songs — “Smile, Sing a Song,” and “My Wild Irish Rose” – both RCAA favorites and long since committed to memory, made the music books redundant. The Frasers as well as Paul Schissler, our former Assistant DG, and his wife Anne Nauts, our current Assistant District Governor and a great friend of our club, seemed genuinely impressed.
John welcomed visiting Rotarians and guests warmly, and particularly acknowledged the Frasers and Paul and Anne – “Rotary’s dynamic duo.” He also informed the assembly that Bea Dawson was attending his sixth consecutive meeting. Will somebody please sign him up!
“I have some sad news,” John then declared softly. Former member Whit Gray has died. Whit was a member from 1968 to 2004. An attorney, he helped with many activities and club projects. There will be a memorial service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church this Friday at 10:30.”
Next, John asked future president Rosemarie Rowney to come forward. She addressed the assembly about the upcoming District Conference at Marriott Eagle Crest, May 4-6. “I’m here to talk about green slime,” she began, going right to the Conference’s prime motivator. “We’ve all seen these algae blooms in ponds and rivers in the news. Well, these toxins have been found in lakes – even the Great Lakes and smaller inland lakes…Barry Fraser proposed a topic for the Conference – green algae. [His career was in agriculture.] There will be a number of distinguished scientists as well as a local farmer on the panel.” Rosemarie urged everyone to register for the Conference on the district website, stressing the close locale (Marriott Eagle Crest, Ypsilanti) and making the call for all those “lovers of clean water and the Great Lakes.”
Before asking Rob Shiff to give an update on our club’s Tiny House clean-up project, John mentioned that the monthly Rotary meeting at Glacier Hills will take place Friday, March 16th. The speaker will be Ed Hoffman. [Note 3/17: A million thanks to Burt Voss, Ashish Sarkar, Shelley MacMillan, and her fabulous staff. Thank you for your superb hospitality!]
Rob came to the podium, and began: “As you know, the Tiny House Project – which Ed Wier described so well a few weeks ago – is managed by Cass Social Services for people in need. However, this is not a hand-out. If the people attend pay their rent regularly, and attend financial classes, they can own their home in seven years.” Rob reminded members that our club will assist with lot clean-up on Saturday, March 24. “We’re going to meet behind Briarwood Mall.”
“I am now going to ask District Governor Barry Fraser to come up to introduce Downs Herold,” John asked, thus opening the New Member festivities. Barry, whose Rotary enthusiasm knows no bounds, got right to it – “We are truly an international organization; that’s the thing that gets to me, its internationality and diversity…It’s all about being connected, to sit with different members every week and get to know them.” Before asking Downs to come forward, Barry imparted a welcome statistic: “By the way, we’re [RI] up by 36,000 members worldwide. This adds significantly to our 1.2 million membership.”
Downs immediately utilized his divining rod for humor and observed, “It’s great to see a DG who is bilingual. Barry Fraser can speak both Canadian and English.” Downs then proceeded to call up the new members and their sponsors:
- Griffin Reames introduced Lori Athey.
- Norma Sarkar introduced Kati Bauer
- Laura Thomas introduced Toni Gupta.
- Agnes Reading introduce Loren Heinonen
- Dallas Dort introduced Fernando Ortiz.
- Beth Fitzsimmons introduced Darlene Sosenko
- David Keren introduced Carolyn Typaldos
You’ll be hearing more about our new members in upcoming issues of the Harpoon.
Amid the fabulous introductions of stellar new members, a high-point was reached by Joanne Pierson. While introducing her colleague Karen Wasco, who has joined us several times the past month, Joanne pointed out that Karen had been Don Faber’s speech therapist “following his stroke. He loved her.” Then, in a similar stream-of-consciousness moment like Downs’s, she began to recite all the words and names she could think of that rhymed with Wasco: “Bosco, Rosco….” Suddenly, the Anderson Room seemed to transform into an abandoned subway station hosting a rap tournament. But Joanne was the only rapper. Another sublime moment brought to you by Rotary.
Finally our newest board member, Ebru Misirli, came to the podium, and directed in her always cheerful voice, “This is the time to take off your yellow ribbons!” Our newly-minted members waved their liberated pennants like streamers at a Fifth Avenue parade.
JET: Join leaders; Exchange ideas; Take action
Administrator’s Notes (by John White)
Weekly Meeting Statistics
Energy and enthusiasm abounded as we inducted eight of our nine new members. The remaining new member and two reinstating ones will be coming soon. We also had six visiting Rotarians (Stephanie Baldwin-Ross of Parker CO, DG Barry Fraser of Chatham ON, ADG Anne Nauts of Chelsea, District Membership Chair Rhonda Pancyzk of Rochester, Paul Schissler of Chelsea and B. Yawson of Ann Arbor North) and two guests. The Interact and STRIVE committees met before lunch. A total of eleven members participated. Twenty-four members were on hand for the New Member Orientation earlier in the day.
Makeup Cards for Roving Rotarians
Don Deatrick and Rosemarie Rowney (Sarasota FL on February 28).