Category Archives: Weekly Programs

Nat B. Reed recites Robert W. Service

Our stimulating program was given by Mr. Nat Reed  and started by his reciting the entire 770 word poem the Cremation of Sam McGee, then a summarization of the history of Robert Service.

Born in Lancashire, England to a bank cashier and an heiress, poet Robert William Service moved to Scotland at the age of five. He wrote his first poem on his sixth birthday, and was educated at some of the best schools in Scotland, where his interest in poetry grew alongside a desire for travel and adventure.

He worked in a shipping office and a bank, and briefly studied literature at the University of Glasgow. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson, Service sailed to western Canada in 1894 to become a cowboy in the Yukon Wilderness. He worked on a ranch and as a bank teller in Vancouver Island after the Gold Rush, gleaning material that would inform his poetry for years to come and earn him his reputation as “Bard of the Yukon.”

A prolific writer and poet, Service published numerous collections of poetry during his lifetime, including Songs of a Sourdough or Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses (1907), which went into ten printings its first year and Ballads of a Bohemian (1921).

He was a correspondent for the Toronto Star during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, and served in World War I as an ambulance driver in France. After the war, Service married Germaine Bougeoin and they resided mainly in the south of France until his death.

Nat ended his presentation by reciting another of Robert Service poems, inspired by a request to write a poem for a church social resulting in The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

What follows is the entire Cremation of Sam McGee:

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows. Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows. He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell; Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail. Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see; It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow, And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe, He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess; And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan: “It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone. Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains; So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail; And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale. He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee; And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven, With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given; It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains, But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code. In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load. In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring, Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow; And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low; The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in; And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay; It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.” And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum; Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire; Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher; The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see; And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so; And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow. It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why; And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear; But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near; I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside. I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door. It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm— Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

Special Awards and Contests Night

February 9, 2018

By Teri Muse

On February 9, the usual noontime meeting of the Arcadia Rotary Club moved to an evening of “Special Awards and Contests” program held at Arcadia High School.  This event was an opportunity for our club to showcase all the wonderful programs we do for our schools including the Teacher Mini-Grants, Student Mini-Grants, Dan Stover Music Contest and the 4-Way Test Speech Contest.

Interact Club members from Arcadia High School served at greeters along with Brent Forsee and Ray Bushnell.  Francine Chiu and Dave Totten provided a table of information on our Rotary Club and membership information to attract new members.    A special slide show was running as the guests arrive to showcase our Club.

Arcadia Unified School District Superintendent and Rotarian David Vannasdall served as the emcee of the evening.  Dave Freeman, Rosie Mares and Dan Place served as judges for the Dan Stover Music Contest.  Brian Hall, Bob Harbicht and Dick Martinez served as judges for the 4-Way Tet Speech Contest.  Ashley Smith was the very important time keeper of the event.

In addition to the competition for the two contests that happened that evening, the winners of the Student Mini-grants were introduced.  Six grants for a total of $1745 was awarded for this year.  Kathy Ellison, Jim Rider, Aaron Rose and John Wilson served as judges for that contest.  The winners for the Teacher Mini-Grants that totaled $4,000 were also introduced.  Judges for the Teacher Mini-Grants were Yvonne Flint, Mike Hoey, Teri Muse and Mike Real.

This event has proven to be an excellent way for the students and teachers to have a larger audience of family, friends and Rotarians for their performances and allowed the community to see all the wonderful ways the Arcadia Rotary is supporting students and teachers in the Arcadia Unified School District.

Special kudos to Larry Callaham, Chair of the “New Generations” section of our club for his leadership and dedication to these programs.

Adventure in Climbing in Nepal

Our speaker today was Richard Durant, both an electrical engineer and an attorney who represents Southern California Edison as his career. Richard focused on some serious training in preparation for this trek. He hiked the Mt. Wilson Trail everyday at 4:30 a.m. for three months with a backpack and accomplished the routine in four hours, up and back. Six years ago Richard climbed Mt. Rainier, at an elevation of 14, 441 feet, and Mt. Adams, at an elevation of 12,280 ft (known as a Stratovolcano, potentially active). Both are located in the state of Washington. He presented a fascinating adventure of trekking in Nepal. His group flew from Katmandu to a tiny airstrip in Lukla eastern Nepal, aka, Tenzing-Hillary Airport and landed on a 1729ft long runway. It is considered the most dangerous airport in the world due to, not only the length of the runway, but there is a 9,000 foot cliff at the end with a straight drop off. It can get fogged-in at the drop of a hat so that even helicopters can’t see it.

The elevation at Lukla Airport is 9,334ft. The official name is the Tenzing-Hillary Airport after a Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest. It is the place where most people start their climb to Mt. Everest Base Camp. On this trip the group experienced beautiful weather and so after an initial gear-up and planning meeting they began to trek. Your trekking starts after breakfast at mountain lodge. You cross a long suspension bridge over the Dhudh Koshi River, which is originated from Khumbu glacier. From there the trail moves to a steep staircase through the pine forest. After about a half hour of steep walking you will see Mt Everest (8848m/29029ft). The trail ascends until you reach Namche Bazaar through the alpine forest. The Namche Bazaar is the getaway of the Everest Base Camp trekking. The stay is typically two nights to acclimatize. This small town has a few shops, tea houses, even a small Internet Café.

Yak’s are used to help carry much of the heavy supplies but you have to make sure you stay out of the narrow paths that they use, they are a pretty wide animal and have been known to push trekkers off the trail. In addition Sherpas usually accompany those who trek as guides and are known for their mountaineering expertise. There are many hazards along the way so one must be very careful where to step and how to step. Rocks, ice, and even an occasional crevasse all had to be recognized along the way.   There are only two ways to cross a crevasse, one being to jump over it or if it is too wide, build a ladder, with ropes for handrails, it is also good to have some type of webbing on the ladder as well. Richard’s group included two physicians and one paramedic by chance, but at least it was comforting to know they were available in an emergency.

On their final descent the group left at 2:00 a.m. to ensure they could make it in one full day. They arrived at 3:00 p.m. to find the entire area socked in with dense fog. Waiting for the fog to lift meant no flights in or out of Lukla so they began walking out until a helicopter could come to rescue the group at lower elevation. Trekking through ice fields, snow, rocks with dangerous twists and turns and back again is a great accomplishment. Richard and his group now have this amazing memory to share and we at Arcadia Rotary thank him for sharing his experience.

(Pat Dolphin)

Mt. Lowe Brewery

Programs Report
January 19, 2018

Mike Reiling and his business partner loved drinking and brewing craft beer and figured the only way their wives would let them drink beer in the afternoon would be if they opened their own brewery—and so Mt. Lowe Brewery was created. There probably is a lot more to that story, but Mike jokingly shared this with us as our featured speaker at our January 19th meeting.

When the two friends set out to open their brewery, they wanted to have a name that was from local history. They considered several names such as Arroyo Seco, but decided on Mt. Lowe which has quite a colorful history. Back in the late 1800’s the Mt. Lowe Railway went from Lake Avenue in Pasadena to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains. At Mt. Lowe there were two structures called Alpine Tavern and Echo Mountain House. There also was a zoo! Fires and natural disasters such as a flood destroyed the buildings and railway but pictures from it’s hey day depicts quite a remarkable location.

Mt. Lowe Brewery is Arcadia’s first Microbrewery which offers 20 beers on tap after just one year in business. Many of their beers are named after Mt. Lowe’s historical features such as “Alpine Lager”, “Inspiration Point” and “Red Line Barley Line.” They are served in over 15 restaurants including BJ’s and Wood Ranch in Arcadia. They just obtained a canning line machinery and will be distributing their beers at the local Grocery Outlet and other stores. While they do not serve food at their family and pet friendly location, they have different food trucks come to the brewery offering customers a wide variety of food choices.

Mike also explained how beer is made from taking the malt grain thru filtering, boiling, fermentation and everything in between until you have the finished product. We learned that an IPA takes about two weeks to make, while a lager takes about 3 week and that yeast is the magic ingredient to all beers. Craft beers make up about $22 billion of the $106 billion overall beer market. We are quite lucky to have our very own microbrewery in Arcadia.

The Economy and Investing Today and the Near Future

The January 12 program was presented by past president Bob Novell and Bob Hoffman.

Bob Novell began by challenging Rotarians to think of the changes that will occur in our nation and economy in the next 20 years. Some mega trends including: a low birth rate in the US, immigration challenges, income disparity between the rich (income growing) and the less rich (income declining) and how employment is being impacted by the efficiency of robots and increasing computer technology.

The overall economy is also influenced by aging Baby Boomers going into retirement, challenges with health care, not only with the elderly but with uninsured.  The economy is full speed ahead now, however, worries of another recession and for inflation persist. The Federal Open Market Committee has been raising short term rates and promises to continue to raise rates in 2018.

Will we have another recession like 2007?  Bob thinks not, however, he thinks there will be some pull backs in the market perhaps 10 to 20%.  Other concerns are promises state and local governments have made to retirees that increase pressure on future workers to pay for the retirements, the $20 Trillion National deficit and Student Loan debt. With regard to Student Loan debt, concern is both for the borrowers and the lenders (will some of that debt be forgiven).

Bob Hoffman talked about the importance of diversification in our investing, while we can’t predict exactly what area of our investments will perform best, having diversification in our portfolio assures us that when one area is negatively impacted other areas pick up the difference.

Bob also reviewed Bitcoin a newer digital currency or Cryptocurrency. Bitcoin balances are kept on a public ledger in the cloud. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.

Bob concluded by answering questions about alternative investments, the impact of the legalization of Marijuana and other non traditional investments. Overall it was a very informative program by our two Rotarians. Many thanks to you both.

Foothill Unity Center

Betty McWilliams, Executive Director of the Foothill Unity Center joined us today for a holiday update on the recent progress the Center has made caring for the homeless in the area. The Center is currently assembling food boxes at the L.A. County Arboretum to be distributed to needy families. In fact, a thousand boxes for a thousand families, says Betty, with the help of two hundred volunteers this morning and another one hundred volunteers to relieve them this afternoon. Joining Betty was Mary Ann Lutz, a Monrovia Rotary Club past president and current Board President of the Unity Center. Betty and Mary Ann shared that the Center serves eleven San Gabriel Valley cities, serving the working poor, retired, disabled and homeless community. The Center provides food, health services, temporary crisis care and even a pet food bank. Oh yes, they also provide tax assistance to those seniors and others in need. It not only takes a “Village” to accomplish it, last year 6000 volunteers helped make it all happen.

In their current location, they work out of three cramped buildings, two in Monrovia, one in Pasadena, having to conduct daily case management, etc. while other clients are in the same office waiting for service. Recently the Center, Betty, Mary Ann and Raina Martinez, Development Director, along with their Board, made a real estate purchase of one of the vacant World Vision buildings on Chestnut Ave. in Monrovia.  The building is really a solution to the cramped quarters and a dream that is quickly coming true.   The new location is two-story, 28,000 square feet with warehouse space, office space, job training, conference rooms and three kitchens where they plan classes to instruct basic food preparation and nutrition. Even the volunteers will have their own office. “From Dream to Reality” is the new building campaign slogan and rightly so. World Vision generously financed half of the purchase price for the Foothill Unity Center new building while the Center has raised the other half through professional fund raising efforts. We wish the very best of the Holiday Season for our friends at the Foothill Unity Center. Congratulations on achieving your goal and taking it, “From Dream to Reality”.

(Pat Dolphin)