Final Friday: September 26, 2008

President Mark was unable to attend our last meeting, so Acting President Wendy Madsen took the podium.

Wendy asked Howard Stauffer about his August 10th birthday. He said that he’s “happy to be breathing” He celebrated his ongoing respiration with his wife and son.

Later in the meeting, Wendy asked Joyce Hinrichs about her anniversary: “How many years and why?” It was their 23rd, but the second half of the question went unanswered. Joyce did say that “we didn’t do much”. They shared a Sunday Brunch, then Joyce was on her way out of town for a week of training.

Barbara Browning reminded us that the Rotary Foundation Dinner (Northern Edition) is nearly upon us. The soiree will take place on Saturday, October 18th, at the River Lodge in Fortuna. Barbara said the dress is casual, and it will be an evening of good food, fun, and fellowship.

If you know any high school students who would make good ambassdors for our Club and the US, encourage them to be at Arcata High School this Wednesday (October 1st). Our Club will once again join the Arcata Rotary (the Nooners) to present a Rotary Youth Exchange Information Night. Exchangers past and present will be at the AHS Library to share information about their experiences.

Host Parents Janice and Craig Newman provided an update for our Rotary Exchange Student Kasper Troelsen. Kasper has a zero period class at Arcata High, so he is only able to join us occasionally. Janice said that his English is very good, and they have been working on tongue twisters with him. Craig encouraged us to think of Kasper “if you’re doing anything fun”, he is very personable. Susan Jansson agreed with that – Kasper joined Susan and her boyfriend at a recent barbecue.

Intrepid Travelers Jessica McKnight, Howard Stauffer, David Hitchcock, and James Hitchcock all came forward to share some of their experiences and booty from their recent trip to Southeast Asia. The group’s main reason for the expedition was to attend the dedication of the Vangtang Village School in Laos. The Arcata Sunrise Rotary has helped support the construction of the school. At our October 31st meeting, we will hear a full presentation from Howard and the group about the trip.

For now, we were enthralled at the many items the group brought back – a bag full of bamboo boxes, a large number of colorful sheer bags, a big knife, a woven wood basket with shoulder straps, a napkin set, and many silk scarves from Northern Laos. Some of these items were purchased by the group, others were gifts from the villagers as thank you gifts.

Our Finemaster, Jessica McKnight, is back. (See above.) And although the trip to Southeast Asia was a Sunrise Rotary endeavor, she had a few things to ding Howard for. She showed slides from the trip, including the infamous elephant ride. (“If someone rides the elephant, the boat ride is free.”) The elephant ride traversed a waterfall, and Howard and Jessica agreed that they both should pay fines for that. But then Jessica showed us a sign in front of the Vangtang Village School. It reads (in two languages, no less) that the school was constructed “due to the generosity of Howard STAUFFER and the Arcata Sunrise Rotary Club”. We were mentioned, but received second billing to Howard STAUFFER. Another incident involved the group’s flight out of Luang Prabang. Howard got everyone organized and to the airport at the appropriate time on September 1st. Unfortunately, the flight was scheduled for September 2nd. Don’t miss Howard’s “frank confession” at the crazyguyonabike website. On that page, you can also read Dr. Stauffer’s tale about Jessica’s first day in Bangkok, when she, James, and David wandered the neighborhood and came upon a demonstration that (a few days later) led to the overthrow of the Thai Prime Minister.

Jessica only had one additional fine, and that was paid by Barbara Browning. It seems that she owns a (an?) historical home. “It doesn’t seem that historical to me,” she said, “it’s a Sunny Brae home”. Yes, but it’s on the Historical Homes Tour, and that’s gonna cost ya.

We had a relatively short auction last Friday, but the two items were nice. First was an HSU Booster Bag, with pom-poms, an HSU pennant, and other goodies, donated by Romi Hitchcock Tinseth, and purchased by Lori Breyer. Terri Clark donated the other item – a lovely ceramic Hallowe’en bowl, with scary designs on the outside, and several BOOs within. Joyce Hinrichs offered up the winning bid.

It was appropriate that Past President Wendy Madsen chaired the meeting last week, since it was her last as a Sunriser. Bob Johnson offered a tribute to Wendy, noting that she is a Charter Member, and that she reluctantly stepped forward as Club President several years ago. She had a great year as our “Coach”, and in later years, she has headed up the Mentorship Committee and has organized our Sergeant-At-Arms group. For all she has done, she received a standing ovation. Bob gave Wendy a basket of local taste treats – Larrupin’s sauces, Pacific Rim Noodle House sauce, Lindah’s Hot Mustard, and others.

Wendy was not without gifts of her own – she presented Bob with a cookbook that commemorated the first Taste of the Holidays in 1994, and an original TOTH apron. Wendy also gave Bob the blue and gold Rotary boa that Wendy received at her debunking, as well as a box full of planning notes from past years’ Taste of the Holidays events.

As a parting shot, Wendy asked everyone not wearing a Rotary pin to stand and purchase one for five dollars. Don’t forget who sold that to you!