Posted by Jim Garrett
Art Benzel began with an invocation explaining the difference between “like” and “love.”  According to the teachings of Buddha, Art recounted, when you like a flower, you pick it.  But when you love it, you water it.  One who understands this, Buddha said, understands life.
Pat Love then led the meeting in singing “America the Beautiful.”   (Let’s hope someone follows Buddha’s formulation, and sends this corner of beautiful America some water.)
After the introduction of guests, including Sheriff Rich Valdez, Mr. R was revealed as none other than Bill Hubbard.  But only a paltry $2 was collected – Bill is evidently too gregarious to produce much revenue as Mr. R.  Next time, Bill, do your best for Rotary’s beneficiaries: suppress your instincts, sit in the corner, and frown.
Warren Brown then announced that the Special Olympics the prior weekend had been a big success, raising over $5000. 
Shellie Petersen followed with a solicitation for more volunteers for the Open World event, during which a group from Kyrgyzstan, the central Asian country astride the ancient “Silk Road” trade route, will visit Pagosa Springs for lessons on attracting tourists to remote locations.  The visitors will be among us for several days of visiting local attractions beginning this coming weekend, and Rotarians are being recruited to help host the activities.
[Note: I’m pretty sure that Krygyzstan is indeed a central Asian country, though I have been proven geographically dyslexic, by twice mis-identifying Senegal in writing for these pages as an East African country despite knowing that it sits on the Atlantic coast of West Africa (it’s simple really: when facing north, west is on the left).  Sorry, David.  My best defense was once memorably summed up by Ben Franklin: “Haste makes waste.”)
John Shepard then took the floor to solicit nominations for Grand Marshal of the Fourth of July Parade.  Voting to select the august dignitary (or is that July dignitary) will occur during the meeting of May 31.  John also dropped enticing hints of the possibility that much cherished opportunities for volunteers to help the Parade go off smoothly may soon be offered to a select multitude.  The exalted position of “go-fer” is rumored to be up for grabs.
Exchange Student Laura Delgado then expressed appreciation for the birthday greetings extended to her by Rotarians last week, and noted that she had gone rafting out of Salida to help celebrate the happy event.  Turning to past exploits during the year, Laura noted that she still had jellies for sale – but as of last week, only four were left.  Bring your money this week, in the hope that the train didn’t leave you stranded at the station. 
Lisa Scott then announced that next year there will be two “inbound” exchange students in Pagosa, one from Denmark, the other from Chile.  Likewise, she said, two Pagosa students will be “outbound,” one to Denmark and one to Romania.   In addition, Lisa announced that next school year Pagosa will have two pairs of “short-term” exchange students: two local students will trade places for two weeks with students from France and Italy.  (By this time next year, I suspect we may have enough jelly on our hands to open a jelly donut bakery.  Sounds like a great fund raising idea – you can’t beat a good jelly donut for pure enjoyment.)
Betty Switzer and her trusty bubble machine then presided over sunshine and showers.  Neal Johnson was first up, offering $2 for the microphone to tell the tale of his granddaughter’s recent eventful day: she graduated from college with a degree in aeronautical engineering, was announced as the top graduate in her field, accepted her boyfriend’s proposal of marriage on the stage after her degree was bestowed, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Airforce (by Neal, a former officer in the US Navy.)  He was only able to give $2 for his sunshine announcement, Neal said, because that’s all he had left.
Among several others who contributed, Dave Richardson reported also that he helped a grandchild celebrate a big event: he attended the wedding of his grandson, whom he said, cried (the bride did not, he observed).  “It will be that way for many years,” Dave quipped.  He also reported that Barry had rebroken his arm and needed another in a seemingly endless round of surgeries.  Nonetheless, Dave reported, Barry is recovering well.  Betty offered a shower of bubbles for Barry.