Secretary/ Treasurer (Incoming VP - "IVP") KEN LEVER presided over Hump Day, and in his first official act, asked Prexy TED to lead us in the Pledge. Whoops, turned out there wasn't a US Flag in our usual stand, but a California State Flag instead. This didn't seem appropriate, so after some scrambling around, IVP KEN first found a Confederate Flag, (no doubt in honor of Prexy TED'S southern roots), and then came up with a real U.S. Flag - about 14 by 20 inches in size. Holding this across his chest, Prexy TED then did, indeed, lead us in the Pledge, including that controversial phrase, "Under God."  Being somewhat inexperienced in these podium matters, IVP KEN then allowed us to be seated - upon which, I must confess, I commented to my seatmates "This won't play - we still have a song and Invocation ."

Sure enough, when PP STEVE DAY and keyboardist PP JIM DOWNIE were in place, we were instructed to restand (as in, stand up again, right?)   Before this extra exercise, PP STEVE volubly introduced the song, which was Old Folks at Home, by Stephen Foster. Among other tidbits of history, we learned that there were no copyright laws when Foster was alive, and thus he received no royalties for his compositions - dying broke in New York City in 1864, sad to report. With song sheets in hand, we got through the first verse and chorus, but were not required to complete the entire opus of three more verses plus choruses. Prexy TED did comment, before we began singing, that Georgians don't really consider Florida to be part of the South - another bit of history that some of us didn't know before. Anyway, PP STEVE SCHERER returned us to a more reverent atmosphere with an excellent Invocation, thanking our Lord for the opportunity that Rotary provides us to serve others.

PP TOM LENEHEN provided us with introductions of several visitors, some of whom might even be Fellow Rotarians. But before PP TOM began, IVP KEN announced that WVRC had a guest, Steve Lavin, who was there so we could tell him goodbye. Actually, first up was someone named JOHN SINGLETON, who seemed to know and be known by several others who were present. YOE feels certain that he has known this person from somewhere, but anyway, JOHN said he felt like a "Guest": Former member Bert Kreisberg was with his wife, Vera. Next introduced was Candy Ihnen, an exotic dancer from the Reno Club (and related to Prexy TED, apparently)- but PP TOM then explained her absence at that very moment since she was changing into her costume. At this point, IP KEN interjected that he had heard that her changing would be very brief…

Moving right along, PP JIM SUMNER was with Warren Dodson, who is known to many of our members - and they had their usual difference of opinion as to who actually paid for Warren's lunch. Since in my other life I collect such monies, I must come down in favor of Warren - he did, indeed fork over the cash, although it is also true that if PP JIM hadn't invited him, Warren probably wouldn't have been there - thus there is something to be said in favor of his being PP JIM'S guest! Our sometimes Member JAY HANDAL brought along the Membership Chair of the WLA C of C, John Close. Moneybags (who would perhaps prefer to be known as Executive Treasurer) DON NELSON had as his guest Suzanne Karpilosky, a former Ambassadorial Student who has recently returned from France. Suzanne will be our speaker on February 20th - save the date, as these reports are always interesting and worthwhile. STEW GILMAN (and all along I thought his abbreviation was STU - but that would be for Stuart, right?) Anyway, his Special Guest was Steve Lore, a local contractor. TONY MARRONE brought Bob Wilson, a major player among UCLA alumni who has recently moved to Rancho Santa Fe, but maintains a townhouse at Mountaingate,

IVP KEN then proved that he is a man of unquestioned courage (not to be confused with good judgment) by asking PP ERIC LOBERG to handle the Announcements. This of course was a reward for PP ERIC, who has been known to rant, guffaw, or sometimes just belch when the subject of announcements comes up. He did allow as how we would soon (in two weeks, to be exact) be hosting Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul at dinner at Riviera Country Club - and we need your checks in advance, please. (A quick Editorial comment here, if I may - Every member of WVRC is responsible for one ticket, costing $75.00. Executive Treasurer DON NELSON will credit the cost of our regular lunch that day, so the net cost is just $48,00, plus the full $75.00 if you bring a guest, of course.) PP ERIC then alluded to the forthcoming Sweetheart Brunch, which he feels will be sometime in February. That being that, YOE hisself struggled to his feet to announce that the Board of Directors for 2003-04 has now been filled out, with CHARLES MAGNUSON agreeing to be Youth Service Chair and MICHAEL GINTZ serving as Vocational Chair. This news was greeted with applause, and Congratulations to both these new members - you will enjoy the ride! And two final notes, please: Rotary is seeking home hosts for the Incoming District Governors who will be assembling in Anaheim from January 26th through February 2nd. This is a real opportunity to meet Rotarian from around the world - please call Prexy TED for further details.  And we are reminded that donations to the Westwood Village Rotary Foundation in honor of our departed DOUGLAS DELL DESCH are always most welcome.

At this point there appeared to be something going on (as opposed to the usual silence and frequent boredom at the podium), with PDG BILL GOODWYN huddling with IVP KEN. Between them, they concluded whatever in hell they were talking about, and PDG BILL explained that he had received an emergency message from RI to pick up an important visitor arriving from Evanston (and you all know, certainly, that that is where Rotary begins and ends). This visitor turned out to be Rajiv Mehra, a Rotarian from India, who had been dispatched to 'check us out' as to our likely ability to truly and well host RI President Bhichai when he is our guest on January 23rd and 24th. A person of this importance (who was left standing below the podium while the exchange between PDG BILL and IVP KEN went on) then demanded to be seated at the Head Table. Since the only present occupant was Prexy TED, there was indeed room, and Indian Rotarian Rajiv flounced into a seat at the very end of the table, as far away from Prexy TED as was possible. He was sufficiently outraged that he petulantly refused to make the prepared statement he had been dispatched to deliver!

This public embarrassment was fortunately interrupted by the loud and rowdy arrival of THREE of Prexy TED'S relatives from good ole South Carolina. In whatever order, they were Edweena, Ned and Jed, and they happily filled most of the remaining empty chairs at the Head Table - which unfortunately left good ole boy NED sitting next to our IP (that's Important Person) from RI, Rajiv. There was some 'catchin up' by our three new guests, who sort of explained how they were all related to Prexy TED. To quote, "Ted's ant is my uncle's sister, and she un' got hitched to Ted's uncle. After Ted's grandpaw dun foun' out 'bout that hitchin', he dun had to remove him, ya might say." During this same time, they also explained how they became Prexy TED'S first cusin, three times removed - (but you get the idea, OK?)

A further educational tidbit was the description of a conversation you might have in South Carolina with the hotel clerk - if you called him to report a leak in the sink, his reply was likely to be, "Go ahead". They also explained how the drinking age in South Carolina came to be set at 32 - there was a grass roots movement to do away with drinking in High School. A final tidbit explained the three million-dollar lottery in South Carolina - the winner received three dollars a year for a million years.

As this elucidation continued, a large dog could be seen chasing a swan, if you happened to look through the plate class window behind the head table.  Turns out this was L'il Teddy, "Ted's true and Ted's only true love". Soon, L'il Teddy arrived at the meeting, and squeezed in next to Prexy TED. You knew he would express his great joy at seeing his favorite relative once again - and we are pleased to report that the two of them were truly inseparable thereafter. (It must be noted that the 'swan' got into this act because someone told someone that Prexy TED needed a 'swan song').

The three relatives 'fell to' as far as relishing the vittles they were served, but it must be admitted that their table manners were perhaps of a different standard than Indian Rotarian Raja was used to. This inevitably led to a minor food fight, in which Raja was pelted with several tasty morsels that could have perhaps better been eaten. Rajiv leaped to his feet, loudly stated that he would see to it that the charter of The Rotary Club of Westwood Village was terminated, and left the room - pursued of course by PDG BILL. Somehow, this caused the three guest relatives to leave, also.

But alas, it was all a hoax! The 'Relatives' returned to be identified, and while they did wear wigs, etc, it wasn't difficult to recognize MARK BLOCK, ELLIOTT TURNER, and of course, LILLIAN KLIEWER. Somewhat more disguised was L'il Teddy, who turned out to be LEE DUNAYER.  A good job was done by all - and Prexy TED should remember that it's all downhill from here.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe