Living in Pierce County offers so many entertainment and community opportunities you just want to take part in as many as you can. This is sometimes more difficult during the holiday season. Peg and I had to juggle to fit in as many fun activities as we are able.
Lianna Collinge from Tacoma Executives Association joined Peg and I at the Tacoma Transportation Club holiday meeting/party, which raised money for the Emergency Food Network. The noon-time auction probably raised well over thirty-thousand dollars again this year. Lianna runs Association Management and is such a sweetheart as she helps organizations and associations manage their operations more effectively. She is one of our latest new members.
Peg and I were caught in a bind. With our three children raising their families in nearby Edgewood, Puyallup/Parkland, and University Place we sometimes face scheduling problems. We like to join them at events that showcase our grandkids, but two separate concerts featuring three grandchildren from two families presented problems.
We faced competing holiday concerts, one in Edgewood (one granddaughter playing clarinet) and one further south (two granddaughters with voice and marimba) . . . with the same start times. We solved the problem by staying at the Best Western Premier on South Hill (mid-way between the two family homes) for the night. I drove to Edgewood, while our oldest son picked up Peg and took her to a concert for two of his daughers. By staying at the hotel, we cut some of our anxiety and gave us more time to enjoy ourselves and family as well as music. I was surprised when I arrived back at the hotel well after Peg. Both of us had a great time being entertained. Love those kids!
Music has always been an important part of our lives. Peg and I met at a dance, while we were both attending the University of Puget Sound. Our interests were art, books, and music. They still are.
Before the two concerts we visited Dickey's Barbeque Pit, which is just a few blocks from the Best Western. This was our first time there. We enjoyed the ranch house decor and the large black and white photos on the walls.
Every Dickey's location smokes all of their meats on-site at the restaurant the same way it was done when they begain in 1941. Dickey's serves up beef brisket, pulled pork, ham, polish sausage, turkey breast and chicken. The rolls served with every meal were toothy and excellent. Kids eat free on Sunday, now that's a family-style restaurant.
We were impressed with the food. Peg ordered the pulled pork sandwich. She enjoyed the sauce and the pork. Sometimes pulled pork can be dry, but not at Dickey's. They chop it up about two feet away from you right when you order. You can ask for exactly what you like. I asked for two slices of brisket and a half-rack of ribs. Now that I know the routine, I'll ask for more fat on the brisket next time.
The ribs were perfect. I think they use a dry rub, but for those who like lots of BBQ sauce, don't worry, there is plenty available. You can doctor up your meats as much as you want. The ribs were delicious and fell off the bone.
The next morning we rushed home for more fun and music. Well, actually we rushed home to shower and change for the Tacoma Executives Association holiday meeting. We had music provided by Larry Hill and a desert auction, which again raised money for the Emergency Food Network.
Justin Smith from Smith Fire Systems wore his Cougar (Washington State University) Santa hat. The Cougars for the first time in years . . . and years were going to a bowl game. Unfortunately they lost, but played well, which gives us all hope for the future.
Our members had a good time at the meeting, of course most of our members like Mike Akers of Elite Restoration LLC enjoy themselves most of the time. The Tacoma Execs is a fantastic lead organization, which gives its members the chance to hype their products and services all they want. This educates our fellow members, so they can in turn make referrals to their customers and associates based on personal knowledge.
Tacoma Executives Association uses a business model much like Rotary used to use: one business per business category, which allows great networking and still provides lots of fun.
Wednesday evening, while Peg wrapped presents, I joined many Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 and other friends at Tacoma's Landmark Catering and Convention Center for a new community project, Toys for the Troop's Children. The event collected toys and money for distribution to boys and girls of JBLM.
Don Hansen of Cascade Park Vista is the current president of the Rotary Club of Tacoma. He stopped by our table and said hello to fellow member Emily Cook and her mother, Sylvia. Emily has a fantastic voice, which was showcased during the evening as well as the next day at Rotary. Each time Emily sang her mom moved down closer to the stage and then returned after each performance.
Randy Melquist, my favorite life insurance salesman & financial planner and part-time Santa and grandfather to a number of my granddaughers strolled through the crowd jollying up guests like Liz Dunbar. All she wanted was a photo of her and hubby Mike Dunbar of Wealth Management. I never saw them together that evening or I would have fulfilled her wish.
Mike is a past president of Tacoma Rotary, as I am. When I was president one of my new members brought in during the year was Brien Elvins of Tacoma Investment Group, who is also a past president of Tacoma Rotary, now AND the chairman of the toy event. It was his idea. Randy, Mike, and Brien are all financial consultants, so making money for community projects ranks high on their list of things to do.
Peg and I had shopped at Teaching Toys on North Proctor and found gifts to share with the military kiddies. I really enjoyed the project. I was co-founder and past president of the Tacoma-Pierce County Christmas House, which operated for twenty-five years giving gifts of toys and warm clothing to children of our community.
Peg chose a fantastic frog puppet, while I chose a large crow puppet. The crow had a ball inside his head. If you squeezed it the crow said, "Caw!" Very cool.
Why is it cool? Caws it's funny . . . to me. His name? Santa Caws, of course . . .
At the evening's event I shared a story I wrote, The One Gift Christmas, about a Christmas when I was a child. It gives a nice slice of life from the 1950s. I shared the story again, the next day at Rotary.
So many holiday events, so many friends, and still so much to do helping others.