One Hundred and Twenty Eight people filled the Pacific Room at Anchors Catering for lunch today. It was a noisy crowd, a happy crowd. All the things they did over the past three days surpassed their wildest expectations. I say all these things, not to take credit for what Diane and I accomplished this week, but simply to echo the sentiments of everyone with whom we spoke. OK, it’s to garner a little credit, too, but mainly to revel in the fact that our mission was accomplished. We did it! It’s over, and we’re relieved. Everyone was able to get on the base, the buses got on the base, everyone loved thr USS Midway, the harbor cruise was a huge hit, and the lunch was totally awesome.
The day began normally with me limping down to the hospitality rooms to see who was there and to visit a little bit. And eat snacks. Diane spent just a little less than $300 on all those snacks, and made a number of runs to the package store and commissary to get them. What a gal. We were reimbursed for that, of course, but I had to have a bit of it myself. Good stuff, and nearly all of it was eaten. Very little waste. Just great.
Getting everyone to the banquet was far less of an issue than I had envisioned because everyone buddied up just like they were supposed to. That was a plus. We all got seats then started filing out to fill our plates at the all you can eat Prime Rib buffet … cost for normal people is $11.95. For us it was $17.50 because we had a private room. Still, to get the kind of food we had at a private dinner would have been $35 a plate, easy. It was a really good choice. In case any of you are ever in San Diego, anyone can eat at Anchors Catering. They’re open for lunch Monday thru Friday.
As everyone filed into the dining room they placed raffle items on the tables creating an incredible array of things from which raffle winners could chose. Everything was really nice.
Diane won three times. We got a set of shot glasses and a commemorative coin from the USS Midway, a really nice Carhart hoody, and a t-shirt with “Don’t Give Up The Ship” on the front in really huge letters. If I tucked it into my jeans you would only see “Don’t Give”. That’s the only thing I picked out … I limped all the way up to the table to do it.
Halfway through the raffle one of our shipmates auctioned off a terrific charcoal pencil drawing that was done by another shipmate. The auctioneer was just great. He started it off at $50 and finally sold it for $400. All profits will be donated with the exception of some seed money for the next reunion in 2014. It will be either in Charleston or Norfolk, east coast.
Here’s a picture of the artist, left, and the winning bidder, right.
Once the bidding was done, and the raffle was over, all of the crewmen signed the back of the drawing indicating their years of service on that ship. The winning bidder is a retired Navy Captain who plans to give it to the wife of one of the friends he made while serving aboard the Buckley in the early 60’s. This friend went on from the Buckley and eventually went on to receive his own command at sea. During his tour as the CO, he fell down a ladder and broke his neck, rendering him immobile. Everyone knew the CO, from his fledgling years as a junior officer so this tribute to him is a pretty awesome thing.
After everyone was done eating, for the 3rd, or 4th time for some, we had a meeting to determine where we’d be going in 2014. It will be either Norfolk or Charleston, depending on who decides to step up and coordinate the event. Once that was decided, everyone present humbled Diane and me by giving us a standing ovation for our efforts. That was very nice and made it all worthwhile.
Now it’s behind us and we can help mentor whoever decides to take on the east coast event. Diane was successful in keeping my arms out of the air, but she didn’t have to work too hard at it. We’re done, for at least a while.