Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New members inducted at Smokin' With Chris...

New members Duane Bass, Wayne Stearns, Josh Martin, Rob Flood, Pat Mulholland and Kris Noli

Co-chairs of the event: Club VP Kate Sirignano and Club President Joanne Alfieri
The Gatekeepers:  Dolores Fanelli and Audrey Brown

Good evening Southington Rotary Club members, guests, visiting dignitaries, sundry others!

Some people, they like to go out dancing
Other peoples, they have to work
 And there's some evil mothers
Well, they're gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
that women never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes
And that children are the only ones who blush
And that life is just to die

But anyone who ever had a heart
Oh, they wouldn't turn around and break it
And anyone who's ever played a part
Oh, they wouldn't turn around and hate it
(Lou Reed, Sweet Jane)

Anyone? No? (audience plant Donnnnnn Reilly): “Well, John, as I recall, this is Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane from the Velvet Underground’s final album Loaded from 1970.”


A couple weeks ago, I was asked to do a presentation for tonight’s meeting by Club president Joanne Alfieri.  In a surprisingly terse-toned email (and I am editing this quote for adult content), Joann stated, “Dear John, instead of moping around all the time like you’ve been doing the last couple years, coming in late to almost every meeting (if you attend them at all), making disruptively snide comments under your breath when we donate books in honor of our weekly luncheon speakers, thrusting the golf tournament responsibilities upon poor Kate, and just being an overall drag on the Club, how about getting off your sorry butt and do something productive for a change, like maybe preparing something for our October evening meeting.  Have a nice day, Joanne.”

Well, as you might expect, I was quite taken aback by the tone of Joanne’s email!  Sure, I admit I was stung a couple years ago, after Kate and I made our brilliant post-golf tournament presentation, we were not honored with a book presented, in our names, to one of the Southington school libraries.  Ignored, deemed unworthy, I must suppose.  To date, we are the only ones ever not so honored. 

But, as good Rotarians, we must move on from such slights, real or perceived, and let bygones be bygones.  Which brings us to this evening.

Joanne, it will be a cold day in Hell before I’ll ever do anything for this Club ……oh, wait, I’m very sorry, I thought I had edited that out…..

Okay, where were we?  Oh yes, tonight. 

Welcome to the 1st Annual Southington Rotary Halloween Bash! Let me say that I am really excited because we’ve returned to the place where we met each week when I joined Rotary in 1983, sponsored by Ron Graves (please, do not hold that against me).  At the time, it was known as Arties, run by Artie Turek and we met in the main dining room.  When it was bought by Grace Manganini and renamed the Whistle Stop, we moved the meeting into the back room

I’d like to acknowledge some special guests here with us this evening – some of our lifetime members:
  • Roy Pritchard – I succeeded Roy as Club president
  • Walt Hushak – one of our truly iconic members, who frequently drops into our weekly meetings just to make sure we’re not screwing things up.
  • Ralph Mann – he was the Club’s first official finer, a position he eventually handed off to me.
  • Fran Massucci- has graciously offered his “Bocce Emporium” to us each year for our annual bocce picnic in the Fall
  • John ‘Curly’ Mullett – he is called Curley for obvious reasons and once single-handedly shut down the Apple Harvest by yelling out, “Hey, I smell something funny with this big propane tank, do you think it could blow up?”  People in the apple fritter booth next door started yelling and screaming and diving out of the booth, the fire department was called in.  It was ugly.  I think our French fry booth was up near the Oak Hill Cemetery for the next few years.
  • Trish Walden – our newest Lifetime member.  Don’t let her lifetime member status fool you, she’s a lot younger than she looks.  Oh wait!…I mean….

Welcome, new members!  I hope you are as excited to be here as we are to have you.    We have a ten-step initiation for new members – it doesn’t have the weight of the Ten Commandments or anything, it’s just a way for you to get to know us and for us to know you.  With a little help from your sponsor, or any of us, actually, you can accomplish this task in a relatively short period of time.  With that in mind, I thought I might review the list and, as a friendly heads-up, I’ll throw out to you some inside information, off the record of course, that might not be in your new-member packets.

1.       Make up a weekly Rotary meeting at another club.  Go alone or go with one of us; it’s informative and it’s fun.  And you can steal an idea or two and bring them back to the club as your own!  Just ask Art Blumer or Carol Grant, who have made up meetings at clubs throughout the world.  Interestingly, you cannot ask them tonight, for they are both away on vacation!
2.       Assist the Sergeant-at-Arms during a weekly meeting. This is a tricky one, because, if you do not watch your step, Dolores and/or Audrey will kick your ass. You assist them as the members arrive for the meeting.  You also collect fines/happy bucks from the members during the meeting and, finally, you participate in the strange little ritual known as the Weekly Raffles.  Here’s how it appears to work:  a raffle ticket is “drawn” by Joann from a bowl of tickets held by Audrey.  Joann calls out the number and everyone eagerly looks at their ticket to see if they are this week’s lucky winner. Dolores, Audrey and Joann crane their necks looking out to see who claims the prize.  When no one does, all three go “OMG, I’d better check my ticket.”  And, invariably, one of them wins!  Don’t ask why, it’s just the way it is.
3.       Present a five-minute introduction of yourself.  We don’t all know you yet, but we’d like to. Share some interesting tidbits about your family and profession.  You can also share your hopes, your dreams, your wildest fantasies, but maybe just the other stuff will do for now.
4.       Lead the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at a weekly meeting.  What can I say, just grit your teeth and do it.  You don’t have to be Whitney Houston, just get the ball rolling.
5.       Help with the next fellowship function.  Bocci Night at Fran Massucci’s house in early Fall, informative Winter fireside chats, our festive Christmas party graciously hosted by Robin Morrell, annual officer installation dinner where you just never know what’s in store.
6.       Work on the next fundraiser. Apple Harvest French fry booth (Steve Guidice has chaired a very successful 2013, but will be looking for an even better 2014; ), Nut Sale (Carol Grant oversees both the sale of holiday nuts and the inevitable poor taste in jokes that accompanies it), The Bill Thomson Golf Scramble, chaired by Kate Sirignano, is our major fundraiser.  We need help in contacting hole sponsors and golf foursomes, assisting with the planning of the event, and, manpower the day of the tournament, which is held each year on the 2nd Wednesday of July at Southington Country Club.  We have had other fundraisers in the past:  Rod Greaves conceived and oversaw a very successful car raffle; we had a couple crazy years of Cow Chip Bingo and for a number of years, on Fat Tuesday, we held a Mardi Gras Night of music and dining at Anthony Jack’s Restaurant.  Last Fall, we held a Blues/BBQ event at Hawk’s Landing to benefit the Houses For Heroes organization.  So things are always changing.
7.       Be the “Official Finer” at a weekly meeting.   Fining is a playful way to raise some money for our fellowship activities, usually by tricking a fellow member.  All in good fun.  Some quick pointers: Fine Rod Greaves (you don’t even need a reason, just do it.  It annoys him greatly.)   Fine Dolores Fanelli for her hats (she always wears hats, but if she doesn’t, fine her for that!  It’s foolproof!).
8.       Write one edition of our weekly Club newsletter.  Again, be careful with this one, because Dolores wins awards for her newsletter and she doesn’t want some rookie ruining things.  But it’s not as difficult as it seems.  See Chet Potrepka and he will guide you through the process of taking notes at a weekly meeting that are the basis for Dolores’ newsletter.
9.       Attend a Board of Directors meeting.  The board meets in the Orchards’ first floor private dining room on the first Wednesday of each month an hour prior to our regular meeting.  Attending will give you some insight into our decision-making process.
10.   Provide and introduce a speaker for a weekly meeting.  You have contacts; you know some interesting people.  Invite one of them to speak to us.  And, your guest speaker will, unless they are extremely unlucky, have a book donated, in their name, to the library of one of Southington’s schools.

Dear Southington Rotary Club,

Sincere congratulations to the newest Rotary Club members being inducted tonight.  I can only hope that Yankee lover Kennedy doesn’t drone on and on like he usually does and lets you out in time to see us capture our third World Championship in the last decade. 

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

Dear Southington Rotary Club,

Congratulations are in order for the Southington Rotary Club.  You have a truly outstanding leader this year, one with vision and charisma.  Although you’ll probably have trouble duplicating this in the future, do not dwell on those things right now – enjoy the moment.

Yours truly,
J. Alfieri

Dear New Members,

As captain of the 2013 Southington Rotary Bocci champions, I welcome the new members and at the same time issue a challenge to you to form a team to try to unseat us at next year’s Bocci Night picnic.  Be advised that more than good luck wishes will be needed.

Vicki Triano, Captain
Pastor Vicki & the Sinners


There you have it.  You’re done.  Hopefully, it has given you some insight as to who we are and what we do.

Rotary is a terrific organization, helping both local communities and people around the world.  It was founded almost a century ago on the principle that business/civic leaders could, when putting their diverse ideas and expertise together, make this world a better place.  But Rotary relies on you, and me, to carry out its existing programs and, just as importantly, create new ones.  We all have something to offer.  If you have a new idea, let’s hear it.  If you think something can be improved upon, let’s hear that too.  And as a by-product of this give and take, you just might make some friendships that last a lifetime.  So, let us get you involved.  And welcome!
John Kennedy, Presenter

No comments: