On Tuesdays when I am leaving my office to go to Rotary, a nostalgic feeling washes over me that I can only describe as a calm anticipation and a joy of what’s to come. Although the speakers are top-notch, that’s not what it is. It’s you. I love Tuesdays, because I look forward to seeing all of you and returning to the familiar experience that Rotary brings.
Walking up the steps and past the glass doors, there are kind-hearted people on the other side genuinely happy to say hello. There is an efficiency that creates a welcoming environment because we know what to expect. And it is always ON. Our leadership ensures everything has been considered and planned impeccably.
Get my badge and have it scanned, and there is another smiling and welcoming face. There is a buzz before the meeting that is uplifting – of those who are finding their seats, shaking hands, giving hugs, exchanging business cards, and the hustle and bustle before it all begins. Personally, I make a bee line to General Bowden to say hi because seeing him just makes me happy. And there are so many more – too many to name – whose presence brings me peace.
I don’t like to sit in the same spot or table or even general location because I like to meander and find new faces I haven’t met yet. And with each time I plop down at a new table, there is usually the mutual glance at each other’s name tags and the hello and introductions. Where else can you find yourself among acquaintances who should be strangers but feel like instant friends except at Rotary.
And then the bell rings! President Lesli Massad gives the introductory welcome and off we go with the program, and we learn, we laugh, we cry, and sometimes we banter and joke. It all feels so good. While I know those 5 cameras that Past President Wes Melbourn used to remind us of are capturing it all, I can’t help but feel like those on livestream are missing out on the experience. But I’d take it however I could get it – even if only through livestream. You are what makes Rotary what it is, and I will keep coming back for more every Tuesday because of you.