Rotary Log for November 15, 2018
After President Cleo rang the meeting to order we were underway. Greeting us at the door was another president--Teddy Roosevelt--who apparently owns (or rents) a time machine. It’s true! Judy Ringer led us in “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and TR really belted it out. He came back to earth when he completely botched the 4-Way Test,  but we got a good laugh out of it. You could even see the time traveler blush a bit.
The California fires victims and survivors, and active service members were acknowledged in Rotarian John Rice’s thoughtful invocation.
Thanksgiving is upon us and Betsy Scott and Bob Lewis distributed turkeys to the volunteer chefs at meeting’s end.
Judy Ringer has led the Salvation Army Bell Ringers in Market Square for longer than even she can remember. (Somewhere along the line she adopted the appropriate surname for the job.) Ms. Ringer had no trouble filling her remaining vacancies.
Janice Cassidy displayed this year’s holiday ornament – a depiction of the Prescott Park flower gardens. It was a lovely choice by President Cleo, only narrowly beating out her second choice. That being a dramatic rendering of the outflow pipe at the new $100 million sewage treatment plant. The ornament is an honored club tradition. Janice has made it happen each year (for 20+ years) and the artful creations are appreciated by all.
New Member
Pat Novello joined our club. She was introduced by her most appreciative friend Nancy Clayburgh. Pat noted that she briefly was a member in 2008, although a job change ended that. But not before winning the apple pie-making contest she proudly noted. Pat and her husband of 39 years live in Dover and have two grown children. Their son, a neurologist, thinks he’s smarter than his nurse mother. Their daughter recently moved back from New York City.
Pat, who is enjoying a new rescue dog, describes herself as a forever beginner golfer, and enjoys cooking and gardening. Mostly she treasures her friendships and is looking forward to new community service opportunities through Rotary.
Happy Dollars
Eric Weinrieb gave 13 happy dollars in honor of his now 13-year-old son and his bar mitzva celebration this past weekend.
Judy Ringer honored her 93-year-old mother who is in good health. Judy looks forward to seeing her this weekend.
President-Elect Leo was happy for more flights to Florida given this week’s pre-Thanksgiving snow storm and cold temperatures.
50/50 Raffle
…And this week’s winner of the 50/50 raffle was Marie Brownell, a notably lucky Rotarian who wins often! (Sergeant at Arms Justin tells me it’s a matter of math. Marie buys a lot of raffle tickets.) There was no match however which will raise next week’s bonus to $100.
The Program
It seemed appropriate that, while in our presence, a former President of the United States should have the podium.
Sue Thoreson had the honor of introducing Col. Roosevelt (Colonel being his most preferred title.) Ms. Thoreson and her husband Bob ran into the colonel in Florida on a prior time travel adventure. They paid for his next visit to the future by matching the winner of a Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge fundraiser bidding war. We are grateful that the Thoresons directed Roosevelt to our fair city.
Roosevelt needed no mike and comfortably moved about the room touting the accomplishments of a notable life. He made immediate friends by reciting his knowledge of  Rotary’s early days in 1905 Chicago. That happened to be the same era when he was at the peak of his power as the 26th   and youngest-ever President. He noted a few early Rotary projects – the purchase of a horse for a minister and funding the first public toilet.
The President acknowledged that he is perhaps best remembered for the National Parks he established. He added that he was responsible for creating 51 bird sanctuaries, now known as The National Wildlife Refuge System.
He also made a plug for his progressive politics and his disdain for congress. He quipped that he was interested in proGRESS, precisely the opposite of interests of conGRESS. 
Portsmouth’s remembering of the 1905 Treaty between Russia and Japan was applauded by the President. It was an agreement that, he noted, won him the Nobel Peace Prize, the first President to be so honored.
He then challenged the audience to identify what he thought was his greatest accomplishment. (I think it was Dave Holden who said, “the big ditch.”) “Right!” the President thundered. The Panama Canal shortened shipping travel time by two thirds and required cutting across the Continental Divide. He visited the canal, making him the first President to leave the country while in office. He was criticized for the trip but went anyways.
Two hundred-thirty million acres were set aside for conservation by Roosevelt as National Parks and National Monuments. These included such iconic areas as Devils Tower, Mount Olympus and Muir Woods. He professionalized the U.S. Forest Service, designating that the conservation areas be forever “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
Roosevelt was forced to use a loophole through The Monuments and Antiquities Act to save the Grand Canyon for conservation as a national monument. Only later did Congress realize the wisdom of this and create Grand Canyon National Park.
His rivals criticized him for using the Presidency as what he called a bully pulpit, and flouting the U.S. Constitution. Roosevelt was not daunted and dismissed the Constitution as “a bundle of compromises.”
He promised the American people “A Square Deal” and when he retired office after seven-plus years, Roosevelt was only 50-years old. He had six children and no pension, so he wrote articles and books and gave speeches to support his family. The president observed that he was not paid nearly as much as former President Clinton for his speeches.
All told, Roosevelt wrote 30 books and with some humility claimed he was not the best writer, being “quite abusive of the semicolon.”
Roosevelt almost died from disease while exploring the “River of Doubt” on a two-year trip in South America. Delirious with a 105-degree fever, he credits his son Kermit with getting him home and saving his life.
On one occasion he was shot by a madman, but concluded he could go on with his speech since when he spat there was no blood. Roosevelt deduced that his lungs had not been punctured. He refused medical treatment, spoke for 80 minutes, showing the audience the blood on his clothing. Though wounded, he made a case for what one could accomplish “with a bullet in his chest.”
There was a softer side, however, and Teddy’s Bear was coined after Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear chained to a tree.
Rotarian Steve Wood asked our guest about his rift with President Taft, his successor. Roosevelt bluntly listed the promises Taft had broken, most notably turning the government back over to special interest groups. In the end Roosevelt noted that the Taft-Roosevelt friendship was one of his strongest.
Roosevelt’s funeral was January 8, 1919. The last man to leave his grave site that day was a distraught Taft. Teddy’s image would later be carved into Mount Rushmore alongside other giants of American history - Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.
Someday you might speak with a gentleman named Joe Wiegand or visit the website Word has it there will be more time traveling by our 26th President.
Respectfully submitted, James Petersen.
Photos by Tube Luch