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Winter Chapter Meeting - January 2009

Gainsville, Georgia
16 - 18 January 2009

Bennie and Margie McDonald hosted our first meeting of 2009 in Gainsville, Georgia. This was also our first trip to that quaint city by Lake Lanier. Bennie and Margie chose the Quality Inn & Suites as our base camp for the weekend. The Quality Inn & Suites reciprocated by letting us use their rather large lounge as our watering hole and one of the meeting rooms for our business meeting on Saturday.

Georgia weather in January can be unpredictable at best. One day you're basking in 70-degree heat; the next you're buried in three feet in snow. The weekend of 16-18 January was one of those snow days. The temperature on Friday hovered in the mid-thirties but the wind-chill factor pushed the mercury down until it seemed more like a low, really low, Siberian winter. The weatherman gave the forecast of possible snow sometime during the weekend.

Members started arriving at the Quality Inn & Suites early on Friday, 16 January and continued arriving until the wee, wee hours of the morning. When the last member signed the roster we had 36 members and two guests signatures. When you factor in the friends, spouses and others, that number doubled.

Our Friday night get-together started and ended like all other Chapter meeting Fridays. War stories were told and retold. Spirits flowed freely and often. The cakes, cookies, candies, chips and dips disappeared, but somehow, these goodies were miraculously replenished throughout the evening. A feat that boggled even the minds of Bennie and Margie.

The lounge was a giant room with a huge fireplace (with a huge roaring fire) on one side and a long bar on the other. Hugh Johnson and John Heist monopolized the pool table located at the far end of the room. Members, spouses and friends sat around the several large tables which were situated around the room. It was too cold to venture outside so the few that were lucky enough to be seated at a table near the fireplace managed to stay warm. The rest of us maintained our body temperature to a point just above hyperthermia by consuming large quantities of the afore-mentioned spirits.

Friday night faded into oblivion only to be replaced by a cold and overcast Saturday morning. Ole Man Winter was blowing his freezing breath across the land and the mercury dropped into the mid-twenties. A thin layer of ice had formed on the water of the swimming pool and members were cautioned about the slippery conditions of the walkways and stairs.

Most of us gathered, at one time or other, in the dinning room for a complimentary breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage patties, biscuits and gravy, waffles, coffee and juice. There was also a fruit bar set up for those members who were watching their weights—yea, sure! I think we are becoming spoiled at having a full complimentary breakfast when we hold these meetings.

Our chapter ladies motto is: "When the going gets tough, the ladies go shopping." And shop they did. They met in the dinning room, had their breakfast, discussed if they were going to the Mall of Georgia 15-20 miles away or to the huge flea market in Gainsville. Once the destinations were decided, the room emptied of all female homo sapiens.

The male species stayed closer to the bar. Most were nursing throbbing heads which were the result of a rather rambunctious Friday night. There were large quantities of V8 and orange juice on ice for those that felt the need to quench the internal fires. For those that couldn't down the juices, there was coffee. For those troops who were in really bad shape, there was the "stuff that bit the dog".

The business meeting was held in an adjoining room appropriately named "Meeting Room". We gathered at 1400 hours and past, present and future businesses were discussed. One of the highlights of the meeting was Ken Stickney's report on the upcoming election of officers. After much arm twisting, threatening people with bodily harm and outright bribery, he had finally managed to floor a slate of officers. The new slate of officers are: Sid Morgan, President; Art McRae, Vice President and Wayne Naihe will be the Treasurer/Secretary. Since there are no members opposing these positions, I guess they will be seated at our next meeting in April.

The buffet-style serving line was set up by 1800 hours. There were three different meats, vegetables, soup, bread, mashed potatoes, salad and desert. Enough food to feed an army.

After dinner, Art McRae coerced one of the young ladies who worked for the motel to draw the winning number for the lottery. There was a slight mix up on the drawing when the person with the winning number was not present. A second number was drawn and I believe Irene Jessee had that winning number. She then donated the winnings back to the chapter. Later, I understand, there was a mutual agreement between the person who had the first winning ticket and Art about the winnings.

By 1930 hours, everyone had retired to the lounge for the auction. Our two resident auctioneers, Stan Shank and Charlie Ponds, proved once again they could rise to the situation. There was only one secret item and Dave Hensley was the lucky guy who bought it. I have that prize displayed on the accompanying photo page. As always all items were sold and the chapter coffers were replenished to the tune of $675. A tip of the Beret to the members, guests, spouses and friends of Chapter XXXIII. Once again you joined in the fun of the auction and allowed our two resident auctioneers liberal free hands in how to conduct a proper auction. It was an evening enjoyed by all.

It was snowing when we closed the lounge on Saturday night. The wind chill factor drove the mercury 10-15 degrees lower. Most had decided to depart the AO at a later time on Sunday if the weather dictated it.

Sunday morning popped up bright, clear and cold. Most of the snow had turned to slush and all the roads appeared clear. Driving conditions were varied. Those traveling south were okay. Those traveling east and north were probably going to hit some snow. We'll have to wait until our next meeting to see if everyone made it home safe and sound.

And speaking of meetings—It will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee on 17-19 April 2009. Art McRae and Jim Hash will host this meeting. I have no other information on this meeting at this time.

I have snapped a few photos of this meeting and you can view them at your leisure. You can also view the photos that were not used in the previous link. Hope you enjoyed your stay at the Quality Inn & Suites and hope to see you in Knoxville, Tennessee for our Spring Meeting. Check the Chapter web site for any updates to our April meeting.

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Copyright 1994 Chapter XXXIII All rights Reserved.

The Larry Alan Thorne Special Forces
Memorial Chapter XXXIII Winter Meeting
was created 19 January 2009
and last update 25 January 2009