We had a good turnout Tuesday evening and enjoyed the fine hospitality of our friends at The Wood River Inn.  Next week will be our last visit for this year as we return home to Richmond Country Club on April 5th for our Board Meeting and Regular Meeting. 
We had a few guests join us.  Our guest speaker Donna Anderson and Westerly Club President and Voice Extraordinaire, Bob Elmer.  Bob has graciously accepted our invitation to act as our auctioneer for our upcoming Gala, April 2nd at Lake of Isles. 
We opened up the evening with a rousing song led by that wonderful baritone, Dr. Dunn.  Could it have been the wonderful acoustics, or the matching baritone of our colleague Bob Elmer, or did we just have enough inspiration that we were all in fine tune.  Whatever it was, the singing was extraordinary!! 
It must also have been inspiring as we followed with a plethora of Happy Bucks, and a few Sad Bucks.  Jen is hoping for success in her bid for West Kingston, Jeanne was happy for her Birthday, as were Ed and Merrill, Dick Gray was happy for Rae Anna’s Birthday, Larry offered a few dollars for Pat’s Birthday and recognized his good singing.  Gary was good enough to provide a phone Flag we used for the Pledge.  However, Jeff would be happy to salute the wonderful stories and pictures that reside on Ed’s phone.  Merrill offered a few dollars for his anniversary with Margaret.  Sheri was happy for an upcoming visit by her son and for the fact she is knocking out those tax returns like a pro!!  Stu offered a few sad bucks for not being with us last week as he and Lance couldn’t find a parking spot.  Gary offered a sad buck in honor of those lost in the Belgium Terrorist Attack.
We covered some Rotary Business.  Ed reminded us that our Golf Tournament is right around the corner.  We need tee sponsors, hole sponsors, donations, golfers, and good weather prayers!!  We received an update on the Gala from Liz and Kim.  It sounds like we have a great evening planned with some stellar entertainment.  Unfortunately, our ticket sales are lagging.  We had 122 tickets sold.  We had a target of 250 and a minimum of 175 to pay for.  There may be a balance due if we cannot meet our minimum sales target. 
We spent some time discussing the event, the history of how we got here, and the expectations for support of the club events.  A number of good points were brought up concerning the expenses associated with supporting these events, particularly with people on fixed incomes.  We heard feedback that some former supporters were not happy that the Club was bringing their venue outside of the Chariho area.  There were concerns expressed regarding driving distance.  All points well taken and to be included in our critique when this event is finished.  It appears we are also facing significant competition with other events that evening.  There is an event for the YMCA, an event at the Westerly Armory, and the Chariho HS is sponsoring Artessy (an all-day event for our teacher supporters).  All these pull key supporters from our event.  However, with that being said, the consensus was to rally behind the committee and the event and to make it as successful as we can.  We faced the uncertainty of weather when we had SYD, and we will face unknown or unforeseen challenges with events like this.  I am confident we will have a great evening and a successful Gala. 
Our speaker gave us some insight into the challenges and opportunities of learning to thrive as we age.  There are a great number of Chariho Rotarians that expect to see their face on a Smucker Jar as they turn 100 years old.  The question asked was how you will look when you get there.  Donna spoke about laying out a plan to insure your independence, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and save money and time.  She touched on the importance of Exercise, Nutrition, Sleep, Lifestyle, and Cognitive Stimulation (Brain Exercises & Life Long Learning).  We had some great questions and a number of Rotarians are ready to reach out to Donna for a new plan.  You can reach Donna at 203-470-4566 or www.encorefitwell.com.