Visit #35, Mayville-Portland Lions Club, Tuesday evening January 24, 2012

It was just a short jaunt for us to Mayville—maybe 45 minutes. This club holds a special place in my heart. Our club re-sponsored them just three years ago and I was present at their Charter Night. I invited them to visit us whenever they are able.

The Club meets at the National Guard Armory in a bright cheery room. Brenda and were greeted with plenty of friendly handshakes and welcoming conversation. I was glad to see a Lions banner on the wall and an American flag and a Lions bell and gavel on the table…all the tools. I think they said they have more than thirty members now.

Brenda was over-the-moon happy that sloppy joes (AKA BBQs) were served for supper. They are one of her favorites and she seldom gets them at home. Kudos to the M-P cooks.

I was embarrassed during tailtwisting that my ability to match famous movie quotes with movie titles was more than just a little bit rusty. There were a couple of folks who got almost all of the answers right. M-P Lions were kind and didn’t ask me to disclose my score.

I found these Lions an attentive audience, open to new ideas. They were optimistic about the fundraising possibilities associated with the summer festival and the May-Port all-school reunion. I’m not sure why they care about fundraising since the club treasurer informed them that the club has “tons of money!” I think the characterization was subsequently withdrawn.

It was clear and starry as we headed home. We were surprised to be able to see the overhead glow of both Fargo and Grand Forks in the opposite night skies.

Mileage for the visit: 79
Mileage for the week: 300
Mileage for the month: 955
Mileage for the year: 7,623

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Visit #34, Leonard Lions Club, Monday evening January 23, 2012

We gassed up the Subaru Forrester and got on the road about 4 p.m. headed south. The road reports were uncertain so we factored in some extra travel time in case we needed it. Turns out conditions were on the good side and we were even able to accommodate a brief stop at MacDonald’s in Fargo for refreshments and updating our emails.

We were fortunate to arrive in Leonard in time for their board meeting, which preceded the regular club meeting. I immediately noticed the large ceramic lion in front of the speaker’s podium and asked about it. Apparently a club member had purchased the imposing figure at a garage sale so long ago that no one could remember its history. They picked it up and read the handwritten inscription underneath; if I recall correctly it was made in 1950. I’m sure everyone but me has previously recognized that the first three letters of Leonard are “Leo”. We should consider it a real Lions town.

The current group of leaders in Leonard is a bunch of young fellows. Their response to my voiced observation: “We’re young?” During the meeting they shyly explained what they have to do sometimes to get service projects accomplished and jokingly instructing us that, “What happens in Leonard stays in Leonard.” I assured them that when it comes to good deeds I wasn’t an ask-questions kind of guy.

The meal was a wonderful roast beef dinner with all the trimmings and a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie to follow it up. There was lots of good-natured banter and the President’s gavel temporarily disappeared during meal. It was later discovered under the big ceramic lion.

I was informed when we scheduled Leonard that they would be honoring their local Peace Poster Contest winners and parents that evening. This is a long-standing tradition in Leonard. One parent mentioned that this was their fourth child who had entered and received an award in the contest. It was a privilege to meet and hand out monetary prizes to three deserving young women. One was left to conclude that all of the outstanding youth artists in Leonard are female.

The club has an upcoming White Elephant sale and there was much conversation about planning, selling tickets, and visiting other Lions clubs. They are serious about making the most of this fundraising opportunity.

It was pitch dark when we left Leonard (hint: It’s winter Steve and it’s been like this for months now; what did you expect?). I made a wrong turn onto Highway 18 and if Brenda hadn’t been alert we may well have visited South Dakota. Actually, the GPS wench never hesitates long to express her opinion so we had backup. The roads were clear and we were home by around nine p.m.

Mileage for the visit: 221
Mileage for the week: 221
Mileage for the month: 876
Mileage for the year: 7,544

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Visit #33, NDSU Campus Lions Club, Wednesday evening January 18, 2012

Brenda and I ran a few shopping errands in Fargo before heading out to the NDSU Student Union early in the evening. It was cold and windy and the walk from the car was brutal. I had apparently mistaken the meeting time as we arrived an hour before the meeting began. We went downstairs to the food service area and “relaxed” for a while.

When we came back to the room a number of Lions were there, including Guiding Lion CC Robert Littlefield. We introduced ourselves and had several fun and interesting conversations before the meeting started. We discovered (remembered?) that the club was serving pizza for supper. It would have undoubtedly been tastier than our Memorial Union salads.

During the club meeting there was lots of conversation and decision-making regarding service projects and fundraisers. The NDSU Campus Lions have great young, enthusiastic leadership. They made quite an impression on other Lions at the state convention last year. Even though neither of us won the Snickers Bar prize, Brenda and I enjoyed the creative rock-paper-scissors elimination contest put on by the tailtwister.

I felt really fortunate to attend this meeting where the club was inducting new members…seven if I recall correctly! It reinforced my decision to carry spare new member packets and membership pins with me wherever I go. I was also able to replace a lost charter member pin which made for one happy Lion.

The Campus Lions were an attentive audience for my remarks which I modified especially for them to include reasons why they should remain actively involved in Lions after they leave college.

By the time we left the meeting the wind had died down some. The drive back to Grand Forks was pleasant and we arrived in time to catch a little TV.

Mileage for the visit: 99
Mileage for the week: 231
Mileage for the month: 655
Mileage for the year: 7,323

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Visit #32, Arthur Lions Club, Wednesday noon January 18, 2012

After being home (from Larimore-Turtle River) about an hour it was time to get back on the road to Arthur for their lunch meeting.

We arrived at Kelly’s Restaurant a few minutes early. The meeting was actually held in the bar part of the facility—larger and more private. We met a number of friendly Lions. In the process we noticed a table of men, all wearing Lions vests. Reading the back of one of the vests and talking with those guys we learned that they were from West Fargo Lions Club and were doing an official visitation…and they were passing on the Enderlin fundraising stuffed baby lion.

I was impressed that Arthur Lions had such a good turnout and that the club had members of all ages—quite a few younger ones. I made a comment about young members and typically they all looked at each and asked, “Who’s he talking about? Not me.”

We had lunch before my remarks. I told Brenda that I thought Kelly’s meatloaf was perhaps the best I’d ever eaten. I told the Arthur Lions how much we appreciate clubs that meet at noon because they facilitate attending more than one meeting in an area. I told them they were the “meat” in our Lions sandwich that day.

I think the club abbreviated their usual meeting agenda to allow more time for me. In my remarks–as I always do–I suggested the club include contributions to LCIF in their annual giving and I asked if anyone present had been recognized with a Melvin Jones Fellowship. Much to my surprise, four of the five visiting Lions from West Fargo raised their hands. I was then able to use West Fargo as an example of clubs who acknowledge their outstanding members and at the same time do good in our world.

In talking with some of the Arthur group Brenda and I were impressed with the community pride associated with their new consolidated school facilities. We had driven by them on our way. A number of Arthur Lions have volunteered to take part in a service project trip to Minot for post-flood reconstruction work.

After this enjoyable lunch stay we were on our way to Fargo for an evening with the NDSU Campus Lions.

Mileage for the visit: 64
Mileage for the week: 132
Mileage for the month: 556
Mileage for the year: 7,224

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Visit #31, Larimore-Turtle River Lions Club, Wednesday morning January 18, 2012

Today we scored a hat trick. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means for a single player to score three goals in a hockey game. Brenda and I didn’t play hockey today, but we managed to score three Lions club visits.

We were out of the house and on the road to Larimore, ND by 6 a.m. I think we were both hungry and looking forward to breakfast at The Scoop. The Scoop is a small dairy-type drive in with a few booths and tables inside. It’s a great service to Larimore to have this facility open all winter for breakfast and coffee.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Lion President Charlie Murphy and almost a dozen hardy Lions. We each ordered the breakfast special and were handed nice full cups of hot coffee.

Usual club business and officer and committee reports came first. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I got a look at the printed list of local groups that receive assistance and donations from the Larimore-Turtle River club and I said so. Then the treasurer proceeded to read a second list. This Lions club is a “pillar” in their community. Of course, they reach out and support state and international Lion causes as well.

I was amused to hear that some in the club were slightly at odds with local school administrators for not being able to get the high school gym opened in the evenings for use by groups needing the practice time and space. I’m pretty sure—given the level of support that the club provides—that they’ll be able to gently convince those officials to see things their way…or at least take another look.

Full of ham and cheese omelets, buttered toast, fresh fruit, orange juice, and coffee, Brenda and I headed back to Grand Forks having already enjoyed 1/3 of the day’s adventures.

Mileage for the visit: 68
Mileage for the week: 68
Mileage for the month: 492
Mileage for the year: 7,160

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Visit #30, Sheldon Lions Club, Monday evening January 9, 2012

We departed from home in the early afternoon. Another great North Dakota highway travel day—I don’t want to jinx it, but we’ve had absolutely unbelievable weather this winter. I don’t understand it; I just really appreciate it. We stopped for gas and refreshment at our usual gas station south of Casselton on I-94. Maybe I said this before, but I think Brenda and I will deserve to be part owners by the end of my district governor year based on how much money we’ve spent there…or at least they ought to put up a plaque.

We arrive at the meeting place in Sheldon a few minutes early, but club president Gerald Sletmoe (PDG) already had the venue set up and was ready to roll. From the second we walked into the room there was never a doubt that we were in a Lion’s den. All the club paraphernalia was on display.

I can’t say enough about this club and President Gerald’s leadership. Every Lion (man and woman) wore a pin-filled vest to the meeting. Brenda and I were introduced personally to every member of the club. What a nice touch and good manners. I have to admit that one aspect of those introductions was slightly confusing…half the clubmembers were either Bartholomays or Kruegers!

I was pleased to induct new member, Chuck Lemna, to the Sheldon Club. Lion Chuck’s wife will also join, but she was busy this evening playing in a woman’s pool tournament next door.

I can’t remember being so engaged by a group of Lions during a visitation. They kept us around chatting and telling Lions stories for 45 minutes after the meeting. They would have had us stay longer, but we needed to get on the road. The trip home was uneventful and relaxing.

Mileage for the visit: 272
Mileage for the week: 272
Mileage for the month: 424
Mileage for the year: 7,092

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Visit #29, Fargo Gateway Lions Club, Friday noon January 6, 2012

We launched out of Grand Forks mid-morning for the relatively short drive to Fargo. It was a beautiful bright, sunny morning with a brisk wind. The Fargo Gateway Lions meet in the Community Room at Cashwise Foods and their noon meal is catered by the deli department of the grocery. We suspected we’d eat well and weren’t disappointed.

President Gelaine Orvik is a relatively new Lion, but a quick study. He runs a lively, fun meeting and gets members out and on their way back to jobs on time. Of course, everyone’s mind and conversation was on the hometown NDSU Bison playing for the national championship the next day. The tailtwister conducted a “happy thoughts” exercise asking each Lion in turn to mention something in their lives they were happy about and thankful for.

My district governor remarks I believe, were well received. President Gelaine seemed proud to receive International President Tam’s pin. There was discussion about upcoming projects and success in past fundraising.

It was a big pleasure to induct three new members and recognize one member transferring in from another Lions club. Two of the three new members are women—firsts for the club, I believe.

After the meeting Brenda had a number of must-do stores that we needed to shop at in Fargo. We stayed in Fargo and that evening watched at a sports bar my alma mater, Kansas State, lose to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. It was a sad late night drive home.

Mileage for the visit: 152
Mileage for the week: 152
Mileage for the month: 152
Mileage for the year: 6,820

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