|Goodbye to President Shirley
We were personally greeted for the Club’s 4890th meeting by the Red Badge Committee with the line staffed by our new Rotarians. They were friendly and kind and projected the feeling that the club will be in good hands. Welcome, Red Badgers.
President Shirley Lewis called us to order and then welcomed fellow Rotarians and guests.
She next asked those gathered to join in singing God Bless America with the voice of Ray Silva and the piano of Paul Tumason. After which someone shouted “Play Ball!” One knew it was going to be good afternoon.
Our “Thought for the Day” was presented by Cindy Faulkner. Cindy was Chair of the Debunking Committee and appropriately turning to President Shirley said she “couldn’t help thinking about the importance of forgiveness….” A view of Shirley’s face suggested that she thought it just might be a long meeting. Cindy shared two quotes:
When we are forgiving of others
Considerate of all beings,
Contented with what we have,
And happy in whatever circumstances we find
Sadness and worry will fade
Forgiveness is an amazing gift to give yourself
Red Badgers Jon Hicks (an Employment Law and Litigator with Hoge Fenton) and Toni Mills (Workers Comp Attorney and my good neighbor) introduced themselves and served as holders of the travelling microphones for Rotarians with guests and visiting Rotarians.
Next was news and humor from John McLeod. The News: DOW: Up; homes lost in Colorado Springs to stubborn wildfire; County Board of Supervisors want another spike in Sales Tax. The humor: Coin-toss for placement of racers over in 3 seconds, NBC coverage of the event runs 12 hours! A novice monk reports to his Abbot that he has noticed that their manuscripts have failed to accurately follow the proof-text. Troubled by the report, the Abbot ventures to the cellar to check the proof text. Failing to return after several hours the novice walks to the cellar and finds the Abbot sobbing. The novice gathers courage to ask why and the Abbot responds: “The word…the word was “celebrate!”
The debunking was about to start but our gracious President took time to thanks all the members. She recalled that many a bottle of superior vino has been had during her term and she was sad that she was unable to pour us each a glass. In lieu, however, she had retained the corks and in the finest traditions of her favorite mascot, S J Sharkie, tossed scores of corks to her loyal supporters.
President-elect Mike Blach announced the Annual Golf Event on August 8 at La Rinconada Country Club at 1:30 p.m.
Christine Burroughs provided a moment of sadness announcing her retirement from the very successful InnVison; and, a sustaining moment of generosity in making a $1,000 gift to the Foundation for the Children’s Playground.
President Shirley then directed the Rotary Spotlight on our superior staff: John Kennett, Teresa McCarthy and Carol Shumaker. Carol was absent as she was working on the computers at the office. Nonetheless President Shirley gave a bouquet of roses to Teresa and one for Carol; John received a kiss and hug from Shirley. All three received a standing ovation from those in attendance,
Then she graciously thanked all our Committees for their hard work and particularly noted the following:
Adult Gift of Life
ELC and Interact/RYLA
She then heart fully thanked all those who made the weekly programs so successful.
Cindy Faulkner was invited to the podium to COMMENCE SHIRLEY’S DEBUNKING!! Cindy was assisted by (in order of performance) Jerry Silva, Gary Shara, Jack Wimberly, Rob Davis, Shirley’s daughter, Cheryl, and Nicholas Adams.
Our President’s culinary excellence, particularly with Southern Italian food, is well known and the Committee opted to use it as the theme for her debunking. With assistance from the Fairmont staff they turned the head table into a restaurant-like counter complete with red-checkered table cloth, wine glasses and wicker cased wines. The transformation was completed with the accordion of Vic Lo Bue playing the Tarantella. Shirley was escorted to a director-like high chair on the stage and the festivities began.
Jerry noted that Shirley’s term will be remembered for “hockey sticks and heartburn” He called attention to her long but “well-intentioned swearing-in ceremony” for new members. Ever the perfect gentleman he avoided characterizing the same as “too long” and “too frequent,” and “too repetitious”. However, Jerry noted that the oath she administered on the one hand was longer than some of his marriages; and in fact that shorter remarks had been made by David Downs (“Coffee”). Led by her precedent and given her heritage, he requested her table guests to stand and pledge their fealty to La Bella Donna by reciting at her direction “President Shirley’s four-way test”:
1. Is it in President Shirley’s Best Interest?
2. Is it fair to President Shirley?
3. Will it build President Shirley’s reputation and enhance her legacy?
4. Will it be beneficial to President Shirley?
All the debunkers took the “Queen’s” oath, avoided the 5th, and recognized that President Shirley still retained the power to fine. Jerry took note that Italians have refined the Art of revenge and that this information would inform our debunkers. Italians like one thing better than pasta: revenge! Shirley now appeared albeit briefly, to be in the catbird seat. The final act of submission was evidenced by each committee member placing a sign around their neck that read “I [heart shape] Shirley.” Jerry then concluded the initial proceedings by have the debunkers stand and administered to each a variant of the Gladiator’s Oath: a salute from those who are about to blaspheme you.
Gary Shara who admitted to have dined with Signora President took the place of Jerry, duly bowed offering a million thanks to Cindy, “Grazie mille.” Gary called to our attention that President Shirley had owned and served as chef for her own restaurant. He noted however that there was “a kitchen incident that had cut short her cooking career….” There followed a Saturday Night Live “French Chef” episode with Dan Aykroyd as Julia Child where Ms. Child cut her finger and ever-like Child remained true to her role as Master Chef even in the face of pain and injury.
Jack Wimberly noted our President’s success as businesswoman, public servant and community leader. Jack wanted to look at Shirley in endeavors less successful and we were treated to doctored photos with Shirley’s faced dubbed on others. We saw Shirley as failed physicist (faced dubbed with a female Einstein lookalike); a lumber jack, ax in hand; a Las Vegas showgirl; a model for Vogue (Chinese edition); a complex contortionist with Cirque du Soleil; and as a certain infamous Italian sea captain who managed to capsize a luxury liner off the Tuscan coast.
Jack left the podium to be replaced by former Chief of Police, Rod Davis. Rod answered the question as to what he’s been doing since retirement; he’s a security consultant for various organizations; among his clients, Slow Food International [from Northern Italy]. [Apparently they have a perverse interest in Southern Italian Food then I remembered he was joking, but if the food of the South comes close it would, in fact, be Shirley’s fine food.] A survey of Shirley’s trash indicated that Shirley’s famous pot roast soup really was from a Progresso Soap Can; fabled spaghetti and meatballs…well, sorry, they’re really from Chef Boyardee. And her lasagna, well it’s Stouffer’s Lasagna; the pizza, well that’s from Pizza Hut! But the coup d’grace, that famous Lewis wine cellar; well you guessed it: all Franzia from a wine box. At this point there was a commotion at Bert George’s table but thing were soon stabilized.
It is always salutary to have family at Rotary events and next Shirley’s daughter, Cheryl joined the Committee reputedly to serve as “a character witness” for her Mom. Unfortunately she joined the roast by noting being an Italian-American mother Shirley required all her daughters to work in the kitchen at the restaurant. A wonderful picture of one of Shirley’s daughter at a young age doing the dishes appeared on screen. Oops, a child labor law violation! The screen was then filled with views of a bathroom from which a strange sound emanated. Doors were opened one-by-one and finally there appeared Shirley behind the last spinning the notorious “Rotary Wheel,” the source of the sound.
Of course, the end comes with song and with the accordion of Vic and the fine voice of Nicholas Adams; and, to the tune of “That’s Amore” we sang “That’s Our Shirley”:
(In Rotary where Shirley’s Queen)
(When push meets shove)
(Here’s what they say)
When it’s Wednesday at noon
You’d best be in that room
With our Shirley
When the bell starts to toll
Paying attention’s the goal
That’s our Shirley
Paul will play,
Ray will lead the way
Guests will say hey hey
And then you know we’ll get started
John will talk
Members on the spot
Announcements are hot
Like a meeting should be
When the speaker starts their spiel, it’s like a pasta faziel
It’s a good thing
But if they ramble and roam
And then maybe they drone, that’s not good
Then the stick hits their neck
Like a big-what the heck?
That’s our Shirley
Scusami but you see
Yes, in our Rotary, we love Shirley.
With video of the Rotary year’s highlights, we stood to applaud President Shirley for La Buona Vita (the good life). A year that began where it was only promised to do the small things well, concluded with that but so much more: The Children’s Playground, Sculpture and Gardens; a new lease on the Gordon House; commencement of new signage on the Rotary Summit Center; new members and great hope.
The remaining portion of the meeting related to our esteemed new President, Mike Blach presenting Shirley with gifts in honor of her fine leadership throughout her term:
A Jim Hummel caricature
A CD with photo highlights from the past year
The Past President’s pin with diamond
And ending, with Shirley pinning the current President’s pin on Mike and hugs.
And as Shirley might say, BONA FORTUNA, Mike!
Our next meeting will be July 11th and our program will be with Steve Beal, Sr.: “Everything You Wanted to Know About Whiskey and More”.
Photos by Bob Beaulieu.
Watch the slide show of the meeting by clicking here!