The members of the Rotary Club of Pinjarra returned to their meeting venue last Thursday evening and enjoyed meeting face-to-face fellowship for the first time in 104 days.
President Vince welcomed 35 members to the Pinjarra Golf Club, and as is traditional with our Club, invited Songmaster Don McClements to lead them into an introductory song; "Jolly Good Company".
The meeting was one of the more informal with little Club business being discussed. President Vince indicated that, subject to the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions occuring, the meeting of 23rd July would be a Partner's Night. The occasion would be used to formally introduce the 2020-21 Club Board of Directors.
We reflect that the past fourteen weeks has seen some different ways in which members kept in contact with one-another (on individual and collective levels). The Club met on a number of occasions using the Zoom platform, and although lacking the intimacy of direct meetings, the participants generally agreed that these were effective in the circumstances. The Board also had meetings using Zoom. The question of how our face to face meetings may be accessed remotely in future (for example, by a member who is away from home) is to be addressed as we come to terms with the technology. President Vince had distributed a weekly newsletter which featured Rotary and other news, and included a Fines reports and Raffle winner during the period. (Past Treasurer Mervyn Williams advised the meeting that the Fines reports and Raffles conducted during the past 14 weeks have raised in the order of $700.)
Rotarians Julie Gray and Kelly Bain donned some... different headwear, and presented a number of "achievement certificates" to various members who had performed some service that they deemed worthy of mention. Julie and Kelly's certificates ensured that a few more dollars were added to the fines collected during the evening!
The Club's member of longest standing, Gordon McLarty was invited to relate stories from his time as a Rotarian. Gordon joined the Rotary Club of Pinjarra in December 1967; nine months after the Club obtained its Charter.
Gordon wondered how the Club members would have been kept involved with each other in that era if the Covid Crisis had occurred in 1970. He praised the effort of the Board members who had worked dilligently to ensure individuals remained in contact with one-other, and was grateful that the internet allowed for a weekly flow of information and news to be sent to members.
He noted that fellowship (or having fun and frivolity) was as important an aspect of Club membership then as it is now.
He related how a prospective member visited the Club on one occasion, and sat at a table with two other members. The two had bought a jug of beer each to the table (at that time, beer was usually served by the jug, rather than by the glass), only for one member's large dog to enter the venue, knocking the jugs over. The beer went all over the prospective member.
That member wondered what the blazes he was getting himself into, but after 36 years of membership, Graeme Riley is now an esteemed Honorary Member of this Club.
The Club has met in a variety of venues during its existence. The now demolished Exchange Hotel became a two-time venue, and Gordon remarked that nothing had changed when the Club returned to meet there, other than an increased number of plastic buckets being placed around the room to catch water leaking from the ceiling. It had to be said that it came as no real surprize when the venue was closed.
In the past (as they do now), members enjoyed socializing. On one occasion, a group of members, at the home of another member enjoying the use of a swimming pool, had their solcialization interupted by loud bang and crash noises outside. A car had crashed into four member's vehicles. Fortunately, no-one was injured, but the damage to the vehicles...well, that is another matter.
Richard Hordacre (R), proposing a vote of thanks to Gordon McLarty (L), while Andrew McCormack listens.
Another story told by Gordon, related to the time when a member, who enjoyed a flutter on the ponies, volunteered to pick up an International Japanese Exchange Student from Perth Airport. On the way back to Pinjarra, he stopped at a TAB to place a bet. He told the student that on impulse, which he described as a "good omen", decided to back a horse called Pearl Harbour! (Apparently, it was a successful wager). The days where "political correctness" dictates much of our behaviour had not yet arrived...
Gordon was thanked for his very entertaining "walk down memory lane" by Richard Hordacre, who presented Gordon with a momento of the occasion.
President Vince thanked members for their attendance, and closed the meeting with members singing the Australian National Anthem.