GETTING STARTEDPerhaps nothing is more nerve-racking than waiting.  The examples are legion:  Waiting in line (at the grocery store, at the Post office, at the DMV) behind someone who is "difficult;" waiting for the grade after the final exam; waiting for the doctor's report; waiting for your cue to enter stage right.  Any of you who have served as a Rotary President know the uncertainty that awaits when you convene your first meeting.  The year-long wait end and you make a leap that you hope will lead to where you want to go.  It's a throw of the dice.  Although it's not a game,but like so many games it begins with a dice throw.  So let's roll.

PAINTING A PICTUREPresident VICKI WHITING started by telling us we are the face of Rotary.  Like all good artists she subtly used an array of colors and perspectives to help us see ourselves.  She showed us that we are joyful, that we have been, and we shall be, busy, that we are more than a "club,' and that she has a plan to make us even better than we already are. Let's analyze this work of art.

SMILE, SMILE, SMILENo work of art springs from nothing. Tradition always plays a role. The best art finds its basis in the past where the artist stands on the shoulders of giants.  So President VICKI employed the long dormant concept of "happy dollars."  You responded gleefully to the opportunity to tell us about the recent positive events in our life.  Remarkably, there is happy news to report that is devoid of the cloying smirkiness so apparent in the world of usual broadcasting.  You have experienced weddings, births, fruitful sales of business, theatrical pursuits, prize winning athletic feats, and the general fol-DE-rol that makes life fun.  It enhanced the coffers of the club treasury, too.  To top it off we re-inaugurated GINNIE NICHOLS as a member.  That alone is enough to bring a smile to any dour face.  Hence the face of the Sonoma Valley Rotary is decidedly cheerful.

AH! TRADITION!  Coming off the madcap debunking of the most amazing year of past president VALERIE PISTOLE (RICK WYNNE just knows how to do it), we have continued our Fourth of July celebration by feeding a whole bunch of celebrants with the good old American hot dog.  In reporting the success of the event, FRED MERRILL was more effusive than his almost always taciturn self in thanking those who participated.  RIA CASALES (whose outstanding direction contributed greatly to the day) quickly and rightly pointed out that the normally phlegmatic FRED was there from sun-up to the close of business, including the clean-up.  This early affirmation of our tradition is an omen of the beneficial effects of how we rely on each other.  Are you getting the picture?  Do you see your face?     

IN THE BACKGROUND.  With the forceful energy of RICH LEE (who also relies on the tradition of our indispensable HOWIE EHRET) this club has made great strides in its contributions to the Rotary Foundation, i.e. the arm of Rotary which strives to promote peace, friendship, health, and education on an international level.  Last week we were reminded that the Sonoma Valley Rotary Club has its Foundation set up some years ago by another bygone ion of our club, TOM BARNES.  For the last few years DAVE MEEKS and GARY SCOTT have sat on the Board of the Foundation of the Sonoma Valley rotary Club with the immediate past president, current President, and the president-elect.  By virtue of being a memeber of this club, you are alos a member of this Foundation.  DAVE and GARY are stepping down.  As a result of our election last week, RON LAWSON (a most deserving Rotarian of the Year under VALERIE's regime) and GAIL MILLER will take their places.  Sometimes a picture will bring into focus the background that gives the picture a deeper meaning.  Of course, the purpose of this background is to remind you that donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible.  So most of our fundraising money will be filtered through the Foundation.  Not only is this a more complete picture of who you are, it will enable us to be more appealing to those who want to support our own efforts to promote peace, friendship, health, and education on a local level.

THE MOTION PICTURE.  Lest you think this picture is full of inert, frozen faces, President VICKI quickly panned around the room last week to invite those who head the four Avenues of Service to move us  -- into action.  Most importantly, because it is most immediate, is our fundraiser, known this year as "Applause Sonoma."  in case you've been on vacation or ensconced in a vacuum, we will host this attractive event on Saturday, August 25.  BILL O'NEILL is doing his usual imaginative job at promoting the event.   GEORGE MERRICK wants your silent and live auction items which are coming in at the usual glacial pace.  This needs to emerge as a group portrait that has every face that makes up our face; the face that the public sees as instrumental to making the Sonoma Valley picturesque and an even more worthwhile place to live.  If we're going to be a great work of art, we best give heed to President VICKI, the prominent painter of this picture.