1. Election day!
USA/Canada Leadership Forum
3. The 2006 "Relay For
It is very important that
everyone who can vote does vote! Every vote cast tells the politicians
just how many people approve of them. Every vote gives each member of the
public the right to bitch to politicians and about
politicians. If you can't be bothered to vote, then why can you be
expected to care about political matters. The politicians probably don't
think so! After all, you have implicitely given up your right to gripe!
A politican is a person who
meets certain minimum legal requirements for age and criminal background
and who can raise enough money and raise enough supporters in order to win
the ultimate publicity contest": win the
popularity contest called an election! The odd thing about a "popularity contest" is
how it imbues the winner with a charasma and makes him/her suddenly worth
hanging out with and give Mr. or Ms. Popular immunity from certain social
mores and customs. They can get away with the stuff that "ordinary
folks" (that's me and those reading this note, BTW) seem
insignment. Also, there getting away "with stuff" means you (the ordinary
plebe) gets away with less! Think of it as a transferrance of your "get
out of trouble free points" to someone else. (I hope no one still
thinks of "our" elected officials are the "best and the
So vote and
have a say in who gets to be the Golden
Don't allow someone else to decide who will rule you! If we're
to have "social masters" (a sickening concept), then help decide who they
Finally, those who vote are actually voting for someone else.
If everyone votes, your vote counts as one vote. The ratio of elegible
voters divided by actual voters gives your actual voting power. If
1/4 of the elegible voters actually vote and you
have the power of four (4) votes! I like having my single vote count for
several others as well!
2. The Leadership school The 2006 USA/Canada Leadership
Forum was held in Columbus Ohio. We were told this is one of the largest
cities in the US; I don't know as we went from the airport to the hotel
and back. We didn't "really" see the city. The convention had the best
speakers we've ever listened to. The opportunity to meet Lions from other
states and countries (Canada and the Carribean Islands) was simply
amazing. Did I mention the speakers were simply fantastic?
I wish I could say the meals were equally good but they simply
were not. We truly did not get our monie's worth! Now, I know
"we don't go to conventions for the food" but this was ridicious!
I'll be posting a run down of the meals in one of my blogs...
3. The 2006 Relay Walk
Survivors Muster #
1 and # 2
Survivor's Walk 1
What is a parade environment without the balloons!
______This is the last year the "Roaring
Lions" will exist. Unless someone picks up the challenge, the Dodge City
(noon) Lions Club team ("The Roaring Lions") has walked in its last "Relay
[Walk] For Life". The club members are simply getting too old to come out
or to sit in the stands at 7PM. We had a somewhat weak team presentation,
with the stalwarts (Lions Mike and Kathie Bell and Lions Bill and Carla
Miller) attending. Non-Lion Larry Ruthie and non-Lion Lori Gerald were
also there. (Both have walked in past years, Lori for the first time in
2005). One Lion (Lee G. was too ill to attend) and one Lion was simply
AWOL! It has been fun, but life moves on and our future personal plans
basically preclude further attendance (for the Lions Bell anyway). If I
had a taping of "Taps", I'd put in on this webpage and you could listen to
______The 2006 "Relay Walk For
Life" (AKA "Relay") has come and gone. This event occurred from the
afternoon of 9 June 2006 to shortly after dawn on the 10th. While I'd like
to say "it was a smashing success", that would be lying. The event
was deeply flawed. The best explanation for this failure of execution has
to be the comparative inexperience of these in charge and the fact that
last year's Walk was "held" at the National Guard Armoury.
______The last time we held Relay at the
Dodge City High School stadium ("Home of the Red Demons!") was in 2004;
that was the last time the incomparable Lynette was in charge. In 2004, we
mustered at the stadium. Unfortunately, it had been raining heavily and
the area where tents normally went was under a couple of inches of rain.
We held the Introduction of the Survivors under the east bleacher. The
Survivors then grouped together for a ceremonial lap and the various teams
lined up in order. This was a photo op and various folks were quite happy
to take pictures of the teams. Relay ended around midnight that night. The
track was wet, more rain and thunderstorms were coming in and very few
people were interested in sitting or standing under the stands waiting for
the chance to walk.
the Relay Committee realized that it had rained during the day and was
going to rain all night. We held Relay in the National Guard Armory. The
Guard was quite gracious in offering us this haven. (Much thanks to SFC
Gary Salmons and God Willing, he will survive his current tour in Iraq! If
they hold a "welcome home" for Gary and his
"Soldier boys and girls", I want to bethere to shake his hand and
offer him a beer.) The Armory "grinder" (well, meeting hall)
simply isn't large enough to do any real walking. Plus, the tables were in
the center of the hall and food venders lined the walls. It was a place
for strolling and squeezing between folks; walking was nota viable
activity. Also, when they read the names of the team members, they left
out a great chunk of names. This event ended around midnight.
______Having said this, I'll now wander on
to a description and discussion of this year's flawed Relay. It was rather
______This being a typical
June, I worked the 5 am to 1 PM shift and then went home to get our
stufflaid out. I found the tent and both cots. I had to hunt for the tent
and cots because the last place Ilooked was where I stored them in 2004;
somehow I'd gotten it in my head that I'd moved them...
______I found the tent poles for holding
the tent up but I couldn't find the tent stakes. So, when LionKathie (my
wife) got home, we went to Ace Hardware to buy tent stakes. They didn't
have any. I asked where I could buy some. The only place she mentioned as
Walmart (she didn't mention theother hardware store in town). Kathie and I
loaded the car and went to the 2nd Street Dillions,where I bought a large
bag of ice (we had already put a case of bottled water in the ice chest).
Then, it was onto Walmart. The clerks there were very helpful. I went into
the outside their Garden Shop and asked a girl where the tent stakes were
sold. She had me ask on older lady, who said "Sporting Goods". I went
through the inside Garden Shop, hung a right and started looking for
Sporting Goods. I couldn't find it. I did find a very helpful lady in the
paint shop who directed me towards the Sporting Goods department. I asked
a young man (a clerk) if he knew where the tent stakes where? He said he'd
just put out some and showed me where they were. (It's nice when the
clerks don't say "We're out and we don't have any more in the storeroom.")
I dreaded the thought of having to wait behind Mothers buying milk on the
WIC program or folks seemingly doing a month's worth of shopping. I asked
this clerk "Is there anyplace I can check out without having to wait in
line?" He said "come with me" and not only "opened" a register but picked
the register closest to where I was standing.
______Like I said good clerks. This was a
case of "small town hospitality"...
______At the Relay the tent sites are
located in a small grassy area off the north end of the football field.We
parked near then are lugged the tent, tent poles and stakes, sleeping bag
and both cots, four folding chairs and finally, the ice chest (to which
I'd added a couple of cans of Diet Pepsi).
______I started putting up the tent whilst
Lion Kathie moved our car to an approved parking spot. The kind of tent we
have is such that it takes two people to put it up. When she got back, it
only took a couple of minutes to erect the tent. The next problem was in
putting the tent stakes in. We had forgotten the hammer! But, I'd brought
a couple of wrenches for putting the cots together. Instead of using them,
Kathie was able to borrow a hammer and we used that! Then, Kathie asked me
if Iwas going to put the cots together. In past years, I'd put the cots
together and team members would nap on them after midnight. It occurred to
me that we might not have any team members wanting to nap. I was right;
the only team members who stayed after midnight were Larry Ruthie and Lion
Mike Bell. Neither were inclined to nap. After we'd been there a while,
Lions Bill and Carla Miller arrived and sat in our folding chairs for a
while. Lion Kathie got some dinner for both of us and the Millers decided
they'd eat dinner at home.
______Non-Lion Lori Gerard arrived shortly
before the 7 PM start time and hung out at out camp site. Then, we walked
over to the stadium and sat down. There was a nice introduction and the
survivors were asked to gather on the track. (I took "moving
pictures" of this.) Each survivor was called forth by name, walked
to the microphone and announced their name, the cancer they had and how
long they'd been a survivor. This was quite moving.
______Next was the Survivor Walk ("a,
and the Releasing Of The Balloons!
This was when things really started going wrong! (The survivors did
not get a free meal and that probably presaged the evening!)
______Normally, the Survivors start
their walk with "The Survivors March" playing. That did not happen.
Instead, someone started saying "Go Survivors Go". This "rah-rah" was
repeated several times as the Survivors began trundling around the track.
(I took two "moving pictures" (or .mov files of this.) It was not
impressive and wasn't professional; several Survivors expressed this
displeasure after their walk.
______It is (was?) traditional for the
teams to form up behind the last of the Marching Survivors in numerical
order. Then, photographs can be taken. This did not happen
this year! Lion Kathie yelled at the organizing folks "what
about the team walk"? [or words to that effect] The
organizers appeared baffled. Finally, they announced that teams should
start marching. So, the various teams formed up, announced who they were
and trundled off around the track. There didn't seem to be any stopping
for displays of banners or for photo opportunities. It was a real shame!
______We did the ritual
"team lap" and the crowd broke up. Teams starting sending
walkers out and our team did as well. We consisted of Lions Millers (Bill
and Carla), Lions Bell (Mike and Kathie) and non-Lion Lori Gerard. While
some of us went back to the campsite, one or two members walked. The
Millers left about 8:30.
spent the evening walking and talking. Shortly before 10 PM, Lion Kathie
was tired, because she was shaking off the flu, so I drove her home. Since
I didn't think we'd have more than Larry and I to walk after midnight, I
took the sleeping bags, cots and three of the chairs home. I returned at
about 10:15 PM and this was shortly after the 10 PM event started. One of
the more touching and moving of the Relay events is displaying the light
luminaries. Unfortunately, they only sent out three men to light perhaps
2200 luminaries (they should have sent out a Boy Scout troop or two and
several members from each team). It probably would not have mattered as
they used cheap candles that apparently were nearly impossible to light.
Most of the candles either couldn't be lit or there was no attempt to
light them. The most moving events of the night are the reading of the
meaning of the night and when they shut off the lights so we can see the
lite luminaries and, most importantly, so we can see the lite luminaries
arranged in the word "HOPE" across from us on the eastern bleachers. As
far as I know, the lights weren't turned off and the"HOPE" luminaries were
not lit. This was most disappointing. They may have read the "meaningof
Relay" letter but if so, it was done when I wasn't there and the one or
two people I asked said they hadn't heard it. That is a real pity!
______The next several hours was very
______There was no karoke and
no kids wailing out songs out of key. As much as the bad singing irritated
me in past years, it was something kids could do and for that reason alone
they should have done the karoke. They didn't...
______The 1 am meeting actually started
around 1:25 am. It was a lot of nice talking but nothing worth waiting
______Around 4:15 am,
Larry Ruthi helped Lion Mike break camp (it took two people to break down
the tent) and they bought took the tent parts and ice chest to Mike's car.
Then, Larry went to histruck and left; Lion Mike drove home, showered and
got a good morning's sleep.
for people hanging around: at 10 PM, the number of walkers was what you
normally see at 3am. At 3 am, there was literally a handful of walkers on
the track. I rather doubt that more than10 or 15 folks were present at the
closing ceremonies. I guess the threat -er- promise of "coffee and donuts"
wasn't enough to get people to hang out till 6:30 am...
The award this Lions Web page won in 2002!