I remember my first Rotary Club meeting quite well, I was asked to come speak about the brand-new Peveto Bill (which was a major reworking of the way property taxes were computed.  It called for frequent re-evaluations of market value in an effort to make sure everyone was taxed fairly and equally according to the value of the property).  The law was brand new, there was no case law to interpret the bill's implementation.  A number of the members were hostile to the bill, but the group was cordial to me and asked many questions, some of which I could actually answer.  I noticed that Thatcher Atkin (Atkin's Furniture)  chain-smoked cigarettes on the right-hand side of the meeting room (the basement of the sanctuary) and Billy Bob Eanes (President of First National Bank) smoked and chewed a cigar to the point that he pretty much consumed it in its entirety.  The room had a blue haze by the end of my talk.  Soon after I received an invitation to join the club from Tom Locke, who was later president of the club.


In the early days of my membership, RI had a longstanding strict rule that each club was to have only one person per classification.  We were very inventive, breaking down "lawyer" into many subtle subsets to allow for a multitude of lawyers in the club.  I was Lawyer-Criminal, which got a lot of droll comments.  We had a club assembly one day and brainstormed on what new classification could we include and recruit to fill.  "Veterinarian" was the invariable suggestion (but those guys would never have time to come to a meeting).  The average age of the club was well into the 50s and maybe the early 60s.  I was just about the youngest member (about 31 or 32) and I commented that I didn't really know of any good classifications, but that I thought it would be a good idea if the new member knew CPR.  You could have heard a pin drop.  

We did, eventually, recruit Dr. Stephen Benold and he gave us a practical demonstration of new CPR techniques that we could understand.  I was forgiven, eventually.


Another moment few who were present will forget:  One of our members had waited to the last minute to get a program.  Scrambling, he found someone who put on seminars to help people reduce "executive stress."  He had never seen the presentation, but it seemed apropos for our club.  The day arrived and the member introduced the speaker.  The speaker then introduced his assistant, who was a lovely young woman (well endowed) in leotards.  She then produced a small trampoline and began to jump up and down, demonstrating how this would relieve our stress.  The speaker was selling trampolines!!!  We don't sell things in Rotary (with the occasional author who speaks on his subject of expertise and then is available to autograph his book).  Members were rolling their eyes and whispering under their breath.  Object lesson:  Vet your program ahead of time.  It might be better to get the Empty Coke Bottle Award than to introduce an embarrassing program.  I wonder if any of the members still have their trampoline.


Bill Stubblefield