At precisely 11:29 PDT, President Mick Johnson struck the bell with real gusto, bringing us to some semblance of order for the 45th week of his admirable term of office. He gleefully reminded us he has but "six weeks to go…" Robert Peterson offered a thoughtful and thankful invocation in remembrance of those who protect us, those who lead us, and Mothers (who do all of the above and more) finishing with a special thought for Dave Betz, that was either a prayerful request for, or dire warning of, freezing rain in Hawaii. Gayle Selden stepped up to lead us in the pledge, Bill Price Sgt. At Arms, Gary Fulton at the Paul Harris desk, Bill Young taking the pictures, and your newest scribe seated next to Greg I (or Rediske II) for moral and technical support.

 

There were no visiting Rotarians willing to sign the visitor’s sheet. Guests of Rotarians included Julie Hersey (daughter of the late Cap Peterson, former member) and Caroline Brady, who were introduced by Chris Kimball, and DeWayne Shepard introduced Pastor Davis of the Greater Life Church in Lakewood.

SUNSHINE REPORT by Jan Luze: Happily, Dave Sclair, Joel Feldman and Gayle Selden all in attendance today. Bill Larkin is still recovering, but it was reported he has a new head of hair to maintain; former member Jim Strait is doing well with a bit of O2 therapy; there was no update on Dr. Jim Rooks; and finally, Jan Luze’s brother suffered a stroke this past week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Mick had a tough time finding anyone with an announcement to share today, but finally, after a bit of cajoling, we heard that: the Sportsman’s Dinner and Auction netted seventy-something thousand dollars; the District Conference will be held in TACOMA, WA. June 3, 4, and 5 (Register for free (if you don't take in the meals): http://rotary5020districtconference2011.eventbrite.com/); our current exchange student (Victor) is visiting Yellowstone National Park with Greg and Mary Horn. Apparently seizing the out of town opportunity, Greg Rediske (our Past Prez and my current mentor) found a replacement… not sure how that will fly with Victor when he returns, but nonetheless, Patricia Franko will be arriving in August from Hungary to assume the coveted exchange student position with Lakewood Rotary. Judy Hosea announced during the "announcement" portion of the meeting (finally) that the Boy’s and Girl’s Club will host a Tupperware Party fundraiser at the Hope Center on Thursday, May 12th beginning at 6:30PM; Gary Fulton reminded us to fill out the Rotarian of the Year, and the Non-Rotarian of the year ballots that were thoughtfully placed on our tables prior to the meeting; Robert Peterson graciously shared with us that his son and Lakewood Rotary member Kris Peterson is very thankful for the good wishes and remembrances as he fulfills his tour of duty in Iraq. Bob Gee, Chair of Programs Committee, shared that he has already strong-armed Chris into a "Gee Rated" presentation to the club on his return.

Then things took a turn for the weird as President Mick held up a small pill box that was apparently left behind at our last meeting. The really interesting part was watching how excited and hopeful a group of similarly aged men became, "are they blue pills…?" they asked, nearly in unison. The importance was lost on your Apprentice Scribe, perhaps when I’m of Journeyman status it will be clear.

Speaking of weird, several members found it necessary to review the much revised coronation schedule of June 24th. Now admittedly I have been lost (to Rotary) in the desert for more than a month, but when I left home in March we were still a Presidential club, with a tradition of peacefully transferring power from one President to the next at the obligatory Annual Installment Banquet. Apparently there is a new Monarch in town who found such an event in conflict with his own sense of decorum, and has accordingly denounced the aforementioned gathering in favor of a hoedown at his personal castle. Soooooooooooooooo, plan on King Ben’s coronation (aka, President Sclair II installation) at the REGULAR FRIDAY LUNCH MEETING on June 24th. The Installment Banquet Replacement Event (IBRE) will commence at 4PM at the home of Ben and Deb Sclair, 11314 Huggins Meyer Rd SW, in the heart of Lakewood, and carry on until the neighbors rebel.

FINE BUSINESS… With a clear sense of resignation that his best taxing days lay behind him, President Mick welcomed back yours truly with NO fine attached. This for a 5 week sun drenched hiatus that included golf, grandson, family and friends. The man is clearly getting weak. Steve Mazoff admitted to the purchase of a second home somewhere sunny, and the Prez let him skate for $20 (aka 4 Irwin’s). Weak. Finally, John Walstrom was tagged for $20 for a thought provoking newspaper article he authored about the future of education in the face of budget cuts ($2.6 million to CPVC alone). Now, the strangest of the weirdest of things occurred… none other than Gordy Quick jumped up to pay John’s fine! Photographer Bill Young snapped a picture to insert here, but the moths escaping from Gordy’s wallet obscured the shot…

THE PROGRAM! John Magnuson introduced today’s speaker as perhaps only John Magnuson could… For brevity and perhaps a few legal reasons, I’ll skip the part about the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, as well as the story of Pope Fred. Our own Colonel Charles Heberle, US Army, Retired presented a riveting program without the help of the requisite PowerPoint for us to stare at. What do I mean by "riveting"? Not a single person, neither member nor guest left early today. No personal conversations were to be heard anywhere in the room. No sign of anyone trying to inconspicuously check their email via smart phone. In short, Charles had our rapt attention. His program was titled "Update: Middle East Situation", but it was so much more… Charles has spent years teaching about how Democracy works, much of his work in Russia. Most people don’t understand that Democracy is a way of life, not a form of government. The learning curve has become especially steep in the U.S., where 32 states no longer teach Civics/Citizenship in their high school curriculums, and the classes are "elective" in 16 of the remaining 18 states.

He shared with us many statistics from a US Navy briefing, the Arc of Instability (West Africa-Indonesia), comparing median ages, gender ratios, birth rates and more with western nations. We reviewed the complicated politics and relationships of countries throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and China.

After succinctly describing the historical, dynamic and ongoing events within countries largely connected by the Mediterranean Sea, and clearly capable of making this a year-long study rather than a 30 minute session, Colonel Heberle opened the floor to questions. I counted 14 queries, with more hands still in the air when we ran out of time. Just like the subject matter, the questions were complicated, the answers not simple. Many thanks to Charles for a truly compelling presentation; I only wish this Apprentice Scribe could have accurately recorded more of it.

RAFFLE: Carl Fynboe got the chance, but settled for white.

CLOSING NOTE: Whew! What in the world was I thinking…?

 
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