Peg and I joined a number of our old friends at the Second Nourish Auction, a fundraiser for FISH Food Banks of Pierce County. Soon we were all talking and laughing. At our table was Becky Fontaine of American Red Cross of South Puget Sound. Becky is the upcoming president of The Rotary Club of Tacoma #8. She came with her husband, Gary.
Peg had met Becky when they were in the same book club, which Peg called the Social Workers Book Club. Also, at the table were Past President Mike Jones, his wife, Dana and more friends who support our community. Well, of course we were double-booked. There are so many worthwhile endeavors and fun events in Tacoma and Pierce County, we quite often find ourselves with choices to make. On this Friday we had both Nourish and a surprise birthday party for a friend. We chose to do both. We had already committed to the auction when we got the invitation to the birthday party.
I see FISH Executive Director Sue Potter everywhere. Her husband is in Transportation Club and Rotary. I noted in the Nourish catalog that Sue donated a Bunco night with Picasso Catering and I was extremely pleased. Debbie Nozawa, owner of Picasso is our client AND our fiftieth anniversary party will be held in August at her facility.
Our friends Debbie Irwin of immedia and Mike Mowat are on the board of FISH. Hunger is a constant community problem, so we are happy to help with donations. Funds to FISH help keep their food banks stocked with a nutritious selection of food that is always ready to feed hungry families throughout Pierce County. They stretch a dollar to impossible lengths. A donation to FISH is a great investment! For every donated $1, they are able to provide more than $9 worth of nourishing food to someone in need -- 518,000 people were helped out last year - 2015.
Our donation to the auction this year was an excellent basket of fine dining and fine arts. We included a number of books on art and cooking. In addition we included gift cards to Aviateur, Tacoma's French Restaurant, and Tacoma’s best Italian place, the Adriatic Grill. Both places serve exceptional food. We also donated wine and a bottle of Irish cream liquor for dessert with coffee, Peg’s favorite way to drink it.
Peg bid on some jewelry, which I don't know yet if we bought, but we did walk home with the centerpiece from the table, featuring a beautiful rich, deep red begonia plant and a bountiful live basil.
Another item we haven't heard about yet was a special Southern Dinner offered by good friend Donna Templin, an Alabama girl and devout Old Miss fan. Last year Peg and I went in with a group of friends for a special down-home elegant dinner at Donna's home. We won again this year and look forward to the gourmet chef’s surprises. The suggested value was $1000 so five couples will have a great evening. Last year we were treated to special southern offerings: fried green tomatoes, grilled squab, boiled greens, cheesy grits, sorghum butter with cornbread, her mother’s special caramel cake . . . and sooo much more, including the iconic Mardi Gras cocktail, a Szarrach.
At the auction we enjoyed seeing members of the 2016 Royal Daffodil Court. The queen and half a dozen of the princesses helped display the desserts up for auction. They did a great job of jollying up the crowd and selling raffle tickets for a beautiful Honda motorcycle.
The bike was twelve years old, but looked brand new and only had 14,000 miles on it. Just one hundred tickets were sold for the special drawing. When Peg and I left there were only fourteen tickets left.
At Rotary this year I was pleased to host Daffodil Princess Kelty from Puyallup High School, when the court visited our club on a Thursday. At the Nourish auction, two of the hardest working court members were Princess Chelsea of Lincoln High School and Queen Emily from Spanaway Lake High School. They were everywhere making sales, and greeting people. They are so lively and charming and we are so proud of them.
We left the auction dinner and hustled to Old Town, where our friend John Trueman was celebrating his 70th Birthday. We didn't arrive in time to surprise him, but we had to be there, even late. Peg and I met John and Karen Trueman when they attended the Jaycee National Convention in 1976 (?), which was held in Seattle. John had been stationed at Bremerton Naval Station during the Viet Nam War and they loved the area. After the third year of a ruggedly, long, long, long, below 0° winter, they moved to Tacoma.
The Truemans were Jaycees from Excelsior, Minnesota. After they moved to Tacoma they became active in Tacoma Jaycees. John eventually became president. Later I introduced him to Tacoma Rotary 8, but he finally chose Tacoma North Rotary, which met closer to his Old Town office.
John and Karen joined the St. Patrick's parish. Our kids went to school at St. Pat's and grew up with Jenny and Becky Trueman. John is a commercial real estate appraiser and Jenny has followed in his footsteps.
When the kids were growing up the parents were involved in all aspects of life at St. Pat's. Each Friday evening we would gather at the St. Pat's gym and play mercy volleyball. When we got sweaty and tired, we would travel down the hill to the Spar Tavern for beer and Spar chips (which have to be consumed with squirt bottles of sour cream). I think we may have been loyal to several other North End taverns including a few which no longer exist.
In those days we were all big supporters of the Seattle Super Sonics. We would gather and watch the games on TV or travel to Seattle, or see them at the Tacoma Dome if they came to visit here. When hockey came to Tacoma, John and Karen bought season tickets and when soccer came, they had season tickets for the Tacoma Stars games. Yea, Preki and Joey Papagano! For many years they would host a 4th of July party with volleyball in their backyard. We were into sports in those days - now, not so much. Currently, we mostly meet John and Karen at Indochine a few blocks from our home.
John's birthday party gave us a great avenue to see old friends and eat desserts. (We left after eating the steak and prawns.) Peg enjoyed talking with Gary Knutson. She had gone to school with him at Holy Rosary. In fourth grade, Gary was recovered from a bout of polio and Peg had severe allergies and every winter and fall would have 3 or 4 bouts of bronchitis, sometimes even pneumonia. Our Del and Patrick had played soccer with his son Thad at St. Pat's and son Jonathan was a special favorite of Peg’s when she was volunteering in the school library. He was always way above grade level, choosing nonfiction books. We saw Marci Firlan, Bill and Marilyn Bailey, and Konni Kinney.
Just as we were ready to leave, I ran into Bob Firman, so I sat down and chatted. Bob had been in Tacoma Rotary 8 when I was president and later moved to Tacoma North Rotary, just like John. Eventually, I think both Bob and John were president of Tacoma North. Bob is still a member. I met his wife Char and we talked about both old times and Rotary in general.
Peg and I left earlier than we wanted to. It had been a long day, but so rewarding with donations to help hungry families in Pierce County. It was also great to renew old relationships . . . and of course it's always fun seeing John and Karen Trueman. They always make us smile; they’re such nice people.