At the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 auction in early 2011, one of the oral items up for bid was a summer barbeque at the home of Brien and Kathy Elvins. There was a promise of good food, wine, and music. How could we go wrong? Our table held up bid cards for six tickets to attend. What a good deal. The host would be Brien Elvins, who became Rotary president on July 1st and the catering would be by Jennifer Durham who would become president in July 2012. Outgoing president Carolyn MacDougal along with super Rotary and community volunteer Maria Devore helped serve, clean up and jolly-up people as they went around and worked the crowd. About forty people paid to attend: including about five of us past presidents.
Peg and I had a family party to attend at Cloverleaf Pizza, which started at the same time as the Rotary party. Do you know how hard it is for me to be around Cloverleaf pizza and not take a bite? I grew up on Cloverleaf pizza from its original roots in Ponders Corner. Peg and I had a great time chin-chucking the kids, watching presents being opened along with the other festivities, but left just after the first two pizza were delivered to our tables.
The Elvins only live about a mile from the Cloverleaf and about three blocks from my sisters, so there was no long drive to reach our second party. Peg and I arrived late at the BBQ, but were warmly greeted. I had heard music as I neared the house. The backyard was crowded with guests, food, and the band, which was The Blondes. Brien's friend, Mike Mitchell, played guitar and sang in the group. Mike won the Rotary Community Service Award a couple of years ago for his fundraising efforts.
I really enjoyed the band. I hadn't heard Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight for decades. It's from his John Wesley Harding album, which is one of my favorites from the sixties. I recognized a few other early Dylan songs in the mix as well. Very nicely done.
The party was in full swing. I knew most of the people in the crowd, but didn't get a chance to talk to everyone. The backyard was crowded, although I did manage to worm my way though to the bar for two margaritas and a Mike's Hard Black Cherry Lemonade. With drinks in hand I grabbed a couple of deviled eggs and sat down at a table . . . spilling both eggs onto the lawn. Peg and I picked the grass off the eggs and ate them. The Elvins' dog finished up the egg residue leaving no evidence of the slippery eggs' journey.
A great party is usually the result of enjoying conversations with people you know (even if you were just talking with them hours earlier) and those you meet for the first time. As our little group of seven retrieved our BBQ ribs, chicken and cornbread, we were joined by Amelia Benitez and her mother Lupita.
Amelia has been a Rotary member for about four years. She is a vice president with Sterling Savings. Her degree is in banking from the University of Mexico. She was born in Mexico City. She comes from a family of bankers. From her immediate family, her father was a banker and her mother was a banker. Amelia introduced her mother, Lupita, to me when I was in line at the bar. I in turn introduced Lupita to my friend Jan Runbeck in the food line. Although, she visits her daughter almost every year here in Washington, Lupita mostly speaks Spanish. Jan speaks a little Spanish, and so a nice little friendship was born.
As Amelia told funny and personal family stories in English, which would sometimes include comments about her mother, Lupita would look at Jan and ask in Spanish, "What is she saying?" They were so sweet together.
We had a great time at the party. Brien and Kathy were gracious hosts, everyone was friendly, the wine was exceptional, the music was excellent, and the food was tasty. What else could you wish for on an August evening . . . well, it is the Pacific Northwest of course and when that sun started setting it got a little chilly. For me that meant it was very near bedtime.