It comes to pass that all wingmen eventually take the wheel, I did for the first time at our January Installation Dinner as PREZ of the Santa Cruz Woodies. Dorma Baker, our past president, passed off her Dodge wheel into my and our hands of a ’49 Mercury woodie. Thus another woodie journey begins. This year marks the 25th Santa Cruz Woodie Club anniversary.
Little did Don Iglesias, our new wingman and VEEP, know that in our living room 25 years ago we would be surrounded by like minded car and family inclusive folks who in our gathering promote the joys and family feeling of ohana.
As the Installation Dinner evening kicked off at the Portuguese Hall, Secretary Andi Welles welcomed attendees at the door with meal cards and warm smiles for all who entered. Emceeing with his penchant for humor and storytelling was Rowland Baker. He began the evening with recognition of Wayne Yada, the National Woodie Club VP, and Bill Sampson, the National Woodie Club President, both of whom hail from California.
We had a warm crowd of close to 100 members who feasted on outstanding gourmet fare arranged by Phil and JoAnn Iatomase and catered by “A Catered Affair”. Jim and Malinda Alves organized and coordinated the event with quite a flair and had us decorating mid-morning with our surf, tiki and island theme from ceiling to dance floor. There was an outstanding turnout for decorating the hall with Patsy and Howard Benson, along with many others, hanging surf boards, banners, pineapples and decorations.
Announcing throughout the evening was Rowland Baker, who seemed to not forget a beat, as he recognized the many award winners. One of the highlights was the award now affectionately known as the “Pete Virus Award” for the email virus given by Pete Passof’s computer that connected to the Woodies email list server. There was a lot of humor and good times as well as Jim Vickery shared anecdotes from the year, along with a video loop playing the recorded events from the last 20 plus years.
The past presidents relived for a fleeting moment the thrill of wearing the PREZ crown as each reminisced about their addition to the crown; with so many past presidents, there was a lot to say. After Dorma Baker, the last PREZ, received the crown, it was passed to me. I must admit it was a little heavier than I imagined, yet it definitely looked like woodie royalty!
Arlene and Joe Solis added to the follies, by having each past president present a joke that the new president had to answer, while she biked on a three-wheeler bicycle with the new VP riding in the back basket. We culminated the dinner and business meeting with a vodka toast as part of my Ukrainian history and that of the SCW, we raised our glasses to good health, love and happy journeys ahead “Za drorovja“.
The evening continued on with dancing and more humor as oldies but goodies hit a rhythmic beat, until late in the evening, orchestrated by Jonathon our resident disc turner. It was wild at the end with Barb Bacon, Ron Heiden, Robbi Barbour, the Bakers including their daughter Sarah, Christy and Kathryn Benson, and others were the last to turn out the lights. So, until January 19, 2019 and the upcoming 25th year of WOW, there is plenty of time to remember the silver both this year and next by polishing that chrome you keep putting off. It is woodie silver!
Happy travels and see you on the road.