Rotary Log of April 16, 2020
President Leo called our virtual meeting to order with a resounding clang of the gong in his kitchen! He welcomed guests and visiting Rotarians and asked everyone to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Judy Ringer led the singing of the 3rd verse of “America the Beautiful.” She noted that the words were particularly poignant at this time of crisis:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
John Rice’s invocation called for a blessing on our fifth virtual meeting. He asked that we retain our good humor in the face of these difficult, stressful times and social isolation. Further, he prayed for the protection of those who protect us.
Leo introduced Melissa Lesniak, President of Dover Rotary and incoming District Assistant Governor as of July 1. She is visiting area Rotary clubs.
The next guest was our newest Rotarian Todd Shaver, who recently moved to Kittery Point from Aspen. Todd, a Rotarian out there, described their biggest annual fundraiser. It’s called a Ducky Derby where 30,000 ducks are dropped in a river with the winning duck netting $10,000 for its sponsor. Later, Leo mused that perhaps Portsmouth Rotary could organize a virtual Ducky Derby. Maybe not in the Piscataqua River, but Sagamore Creek could work.
At Trish Cummings suggestion, Bill Hurley and Leonard Seagren filled two truckloads with Edgewood Center wheelchairs, walkers and crutches. They’ll be going to the Crutches 4 Africa program. Dennis Robillard, the Biddeford warehouse manager, read them a letter from the Uganda coordinator. In it, he thanks Rotary for this service, emphasizing what a difference these devices make to the lives of the disabled.
In Uganda, some 20 wheelchairs were received, but they could have distributed twice that number. Bill says that we contributed more than 1500 devices, or half a container, to Crutches 4 Africa. We’ve also provided $6000 to cover shipping costs. Leo thanked Bill and Leonard for their service.
Golf Committee Chair Marie Brownell updated us on the tournament, which has been postponed from June to October 16th. She is in touch with Golf Status, an online event management platform for fundraisers. They offer free management services, including registration and promotions. Marie would like to discuss this opportunity with the Golf Committee as soon as possible. It was agreed that Leo would set up a Zoom meeting.
Leo also reminded members about his weekly Quarantine and Coffee Zoom meetings every Monday morning at 9 a.m. This is an opportunity for fellowship and connection during these trying times of social distancing.
Ian O’Neall gave us an interesting Rotary historical moment. He discovered that April 16th is a Rotary holiday, officially known as “Old Timers’ Day” in honor of those in retirement. Ian quoted observations written in 1968 by Jim Kelly, a member of the Captain’s Command staff.
 “The golden age of senior citizenship, a thing of beauty, is something to behold,” Kelly writes. “There are continuing avenues of service for all.”
 Kelly mentions Winston Churchill, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Michelangelo and Henry Flagler all of whom achieved amazing things in their later years.
“To you who have reached the Golden Years,” Kelly continues, “again we salute you. With loving counseling we say, ‘Don’t lie down, get up. Start to run for the race has only just begun.’”
So, Ian encouraged us all to reach out to an old timer and thank them for what they have done. But remind them that they can still do a lot of good in this world.
Jon Flagg asked if anyone has come up with interesting coping mechanisms during the coronavirus “stay at home” rule. Yvonne Legge recalled her childhood in Warsaw, Poland, under Communist rule. Shortages of basic goods meant that they had to stand in line waiting for staples, like bread. She never imagined that one day, living the “American Dream,” she would have to stand in line again at a supermarket. Only to find they are out of toilet paper!
Also, Yvonne had some advice for coffee drinkers: When the stock market drops by 2%, add a splash of Kahlua. With a 5% drop, move on to the heavy stuff like smoked maple flavored Knob Creek Bourbon!
In the absence of a live baseball season, John Rice has reverted to his teenage hobby of playing APBA baseball. He ordered a set of 2019 baseball cards and has been playing out the Florida Grapefruit League spring training schedule in his dining room. His wife, Joan, is dealing with this situation with patience and some understanding!
Jon’s story revolved around his teenage son. He was pretty upset when his $110 skateboard was stolen. It had been stashed by the side of a remote railway line as his son and a friend hung out nearby.
Next evening, Jon and family were sitting on their front lawn watching the world go by (something they rarely do.) Then, they saw a kid ride by on the stolen skateboard! Jon’s 19 yr. old son, who is 6’4”, raced after the kid, who mumbled that he had found it abandoned—right! Moral of the story – sit out on your front lawn during quarantine. You never know what you might see. Also, if you snatch a skateboard, don’t ride around the same neighborhood you stole it from!