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Winter Chapter Meeting

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

22 – 24 January 2016

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Sid and Beth Morgan volunteered to host the Winter meeting but only if they could set it up in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Our town: Gatlinburg, Tennessee – our hotel: the Park Vista – the weather: gale-force winds, rain, sleet, and snow.

Friday was the only good day of the week-end (if you can call a cold rain, good). Those individuals who arrived on Thursday had at least one day to do their shopping at the local establishments in Dolly World and the Tangier Mall further north along highway 441.

Usually the Chapter hospitality room on Friday night at the Park Vista would be bustling with the sounds of ice falling into glasses and the popping of caps on the beer cans and bottles. I say usually, but not this Friday night. Not at this Chapter Hospitality room.

There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 members who had reserved rooms for this meeting. Unfortunately Old Man Winter decided to park a rather large winter storm over the states of Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. With the threat of 2-4 feet of snow in the forecast, the usual bustling Chapter Hospitality room held a quiet 10-11 members, including wives and girlfriends.

By 2030 hours there were only two people left in the Hospitality room. These two lost souls evacuated the room somewhere near 2100 hours. This has got to be a record for our Chapter. I don't believe a Chapter Hospitality room has ever closed this early in all the years we've been meeting. For sure this will be one for the books.

Saturday morning the group (all 12 of us) gathered in the restaurant to partake of the buffet. For one small fee you could make multiple trips to the buffet, the eggs-to-order grill and the fruit and pastry bar.

Usually the ladies were departing this location for the sights and sounds of Gatlinburg, Dolly World and the malls, but today, the snows were filling the parking lot and all these ladies could do was stand by the door and gaze longingly at the blowing blizzard. No shopping today. One by one, the ladies vacated the lobby for the Hospitality room or their hotel rooms. What a bummer!

Sid and Beth laid out the fixin’s for lunch and, since they had planned for 40 or more participants for lunch, we had more than enough food. Many went back for 2d’s, 3rd’s and maybe even fourths.

We didn't have near enough members present to hold a business meeting, but our President, Art McRae, called the group to order at 1330 hours. We allowed another year of the “Bear Hunt” support. Also authorized $500 for our resident doctor, Dr. Dale Betterton, and his clinic in Haiti. We didn't need a quorum for these two actions since we had authorized the continued payments at a previous meeting. The only items left to discuss were where would the Spring and Fall meetings take place.

Art opted to host the Spring meeting in Marion, Virginia or possibly, in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Sid said he would host the Fall meeting in Clarksville, Tennessee. Both sites were enthusiastically agreed on. Art will check out Marion, Virginia and, if that town is not viable, Jefferson City, Tennessee. He will send out an Alert Order as to his finding. Sid will look into the hotel/motel situation in Clarksville and will give us a report at the Spring meeting.

Sid and Beth planned the catered dinner for Saturday night. Of course when all this planning was being done, the Chapter planned for about 40 people. Then came the horrible blizzard of 2016 and there were no where near 40 people present. It was too late to change the number of diners from 40 to 12 so those of us who made their way to the catered dinner managed to eat all they wanted and even take home some left over chicken and ribs.

An auction had been planned, but Old Man Winter decided to fill the airways with snow and sleet. As you had guessed, the auction was postponed until the Spring meeting.

Sunday morning was clear, windy, and cold. It was a time for good-byes and, for some, long drives home. Considering the events of the past weekend with the weather, it turned out to be a good meeting. I'm sure, according to the number of rooms reserved, the Chapter would have continued to set attendance records. Sid and Beth, and everyone else involved with setting this meeting up, should be commended for a job well done. You can't fight Old Man Weather, but you can still enjoy a weekend of camaraderie with those that did make the meeting.

Don't know when the Spring meeting will be held, or where, but Art will get the word out early enough for the member to mark their calendars.

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