Mother Nature — although not there in person — just had to be acknowledged and thanked publicly.
It was Monday, May 8. The venue was the annual Mother's Day Tea at the West Linn Adult Community Center, traditionally held the Monday before the actual day (which would be the following Sunday). The theme of this year's event was "Ooh La La! Welcome to Paris." In keeping with that theme, the Grand Fir Room, the largest room added during last year's expansion project, was decorated with what seemed like a myriad of Eiffel Towers, with Parisian scenes projected onto a large screen and French music — mostly cafe-style melodies — playing.
I stepped up to call the room to order shortly after noon to make a few opening remarks. I've been performing (if you'd like to charitably call it that) the emcee duties for a few years now, probably due to my warm personality, acute sense of humor and the fact that, like so many volunteer opportunities, no one else wanted to do it.
The audience consisted of about 70 ladies, many resplendent in fancy hats because of the publicized contest which would be taking place during the lunch. The ages ranged from 5 weeks (the newborn daughter of Tiffany Carlson, our recreation coordinator) to 95 years old. My job was relatively simple: Welcome the ladies to the tea, thank the people responsible for the event, relate a few humorous observations about mothers, cover any ground rules, announce the hat contest and the fact that the ladies would be observed by anonymous judges during lunch, and then, finally, allow the ladies to return to their lunch and converse with their friends and possibly make some new ones.
This gets me back to Mother Nature. There were obviously numerous individuals involved in this event who must be recognized and thanked, but after looking at the magnificent day we were having, especially following our brutal winter and soggy spring, I felt that Mother Nature just had to be thanked first. I don't believe we could have asked for a more beautiful day. From the audience's smiling faces and nodding heads, they obviously agreed.
Then I could thank all the others involved, ranging from the employees of West Linn's Parks and Recreation department to the army of volunteers who prepared sandwiches and desserts and gallons of tea and decorated and contributed items to display. And then, of course, there were the gentlemen in tuxedos serving tea.
Gentlemen in tuxedos? Yes, indeed! This tradition started a few years ago when I was able to recruit some friends to don their tuxes and serve tea, and it has proven to be a unique selling point for our event. This year, five gentlemen, whose ladies were attending, volunteered to help.
As for those observations about mothers, they ranged from the familiar ("I want my children to have all the things I couldn't afford, then I want to move in with them.") to the philosophical ("Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.") to a simply humorous observation ("To my children: Never make fun of having to help me with computer stuff. Remember, I taught you how to use a spoon!").
Later during the luncheon, I announced four winners of our hat contest, each of whom received a gift certificate to the center's wonderful gift shop. All in all, it was a great event.
You may have thought of contributing somehow to the West Linn Adult Community Center.
Besides cash donations and volunteering, one simple way is to use Fred Meyer's Community Rewards Program and to designate the Friends of the West Linn Adult Community Center to receive whatever proceeds are earned by your purchases. If you'd like to do this, call Fred Meyer at 800-516-2686 and tell them that your donation is for number 87643. Also, check with them about the length of your membership and when you must renew.
Once you've done this, you can write your name and phone number on any receipt for your purchases, which contains the statement "Thank you for participating in the 2017 Fred Meyer Community Rewards as you requested Fred Meyer donate to the West Linn Adult Community Center," and place it in the container at our reception desk. You'll be entered to win a free lunch. Good luck!
The center is located at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn. Hours are 9a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Lunch is served Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon for $5, except this coming Monday, May 29, when the center will be closed to observe Memorial Day.
John Ferenz is a member and a volunteer in the gift shop at the West Linn Adult Community Center.