|As the only "public dissenter" among the 207
"Fellerites" and friends who showed up at the reunion I feel I would be
remiss if I were to not post my feelings and comments to this MSN site.
For those few who might perhaps be hoping I would report all the horror
stories and tales of woe and major dissatisfaction, Iím sorry to have to
So, to start with, permit me to summerize my feelings about the entire reunion weekend in as few words as possible (a difficult thing for a person as verbose as I am):
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE HAD A BETTER REUNION!
For those of you who were unable to make the reunion for a variety of reasons, here is a summary of the events that transpired. I arrived in Saint Jean Friday afternoon after a mere 41 year absence, and this alone brought a lump to my throat.
The reunion registration took place in a room adjacent to the front desk. Committee members manned this room constantly through out the weekend. In addition to the registration table, there was another table selling Feller memorabilia which was also staffed throughout by very tired committee members. These few, despite their many, many days of pre-reunion got no break to sit back and enjoy the results of their efforts - they worked right through!
The actual registration was completed in about 90 seconds and I was off to meet other alumni and linger over much Feller memorabilia that was spread around the registration room and two other hospitality suites on the second deck.
The Wine & Cheese meet & greet Friday evening was fantastic including a buffet table to die for! In theory, there were only a couple of glasses of "free" wine each, but so many like myself donít drink wine so there was virtually all you could drink for anybody interested.
Saturday only had one "scheduled" activity during the morning and the rest of the day was free time. I confess that I had some doubts about the basketball game and no schedule on Saturday, but the game went off without a hitch played by 16 players all older then me, believe it or not! All who attended the game as a player, cheerleader, or spectator had the opportunity to have lunch at the former CMR for $5.00 and apparently this went very well and was enjoyed by all who attended.
Maps were supplied at registration to "Feller" plus the quarry, and thus during Saturday afternoon many visited the Feller site. Arrangements had been made to have the church, the museum, and Massy Hall open to visitors and Jocelyn Auclair gave 15 to 20 minute lectures in the church which outlined the history and other interesting facts about Feller over the years. [ An aside, for the record here - there is a large (about 1 inch by six inch) carving of "HORSE Ď59" carved into a pew in the church. It was not done by me. Not that in those days I wouldnít be prone to such behaviour, and in fact I was punished for its occurrence, but I never sat in a pew in the church - I spent all my time as part of the choir!]
The Saturday evening pre dinner cocktail-party was also superb, including not only virtually all the punch one could drink (with or without alcohol), plus of course the many, many trays full of hors díoeuvres passed among us by perky ladies. The first "oops" of the weekend took place here, no fault of the committee planners - dinner was late - but since we were being supplied with much refreshment nobody noticed nor cared!
Despite the fact it started late, supper was more then could be desired. Although not listed in the previously published menu bottomless glasses of free red and/or white wine continued through the entire meal and the cash bar remained open in the main dining area.
Next were some speeches, all but one of which were appropriate. I think if the committee could wind back the clock, we might not have had somebody read poetry and other ramblings when the chairman was promised he would be explaining why Feller had to close down! Oh well, live and learn.
As expected B&B put on their very professional show tailored to the correct generation. Sadly, the fact that not only did the dinner start late, but due to insufficient waitresses it got later and later and by the time B&B started, combined with the speeches, the evening was now about 2 hours behind schedule. Consequently not as many people hung in for the dancing as were originally anticipated.
I missed Sundayís church (too old, too tired, and still too much a sinner!) but it was probably just as well as Iím told there was virtually standing room only! Iíve never seen so many cars lining the road and driveways outside the church, even on the final day of Feller each year! Apparently the bilingual service ran about an hour and 20 minutes and was enjoyed by those in attendance.
I donít know who had the idea of recreating the Feller Sunday lunch routine but it was a stroke of genius and to me was the highlight of the weekend, only toped by the power point presentation after lunch. It really brought back memories. All we needed to have made it really perfect was Lucy glaring at all the boys as they made eyes at the girls. I think everybody who went to Feller really enjoyed every minute of this fine roast beef dinner and it definitely gave a real feeling to guests of what meals were like way-back-then. The main difference here vs the "good Ďol days" was that there literally was all that you could eat including dessert! In addition, a cash bar was available throughout for those that wished.
The piece-de-resistence was the 20 minute "Feller Revisited" power-point presentation put together by Rick Elger. Without any hyperbole, there was no way that anybody who went to Feller was able to watch that and end up with dry eyes. Wow! BRAVO ZULU Rick (thatíís Navy talk for "Well Done"). Iíve watched my copy a few times, and except for Rickís obvious "fetish" for Lucy (she appears much more than I care to remember) it is just as powerful each time I see it!
I was trying to decide whether to broach the following again or not, but since it came up so many times on the weekend from several people with whom I conversed I feel it is necessary. Although I was severely chastised by some committee members prior to the event for voicing an opinion different then the committee, I would like to reiterate the only negative comments that I had, and perhaps clear the air amongst us once and for all:
1. I suggested "Country Style" supper vs an individual plated Saturday dinner. Ironically, in retrospect, since the hotel supplied insufficient wait-staff to ensure timely service (no fault of the committee) the dinner, and hence the entire evening ran much later than was expected.
2. I was opposed to a B&B concert as part of the reunion. This tailored, very professional show was well received by all. Rick & George are just too good and their show generated the expected excellent results. Despite how much I enjoy B&B, nothing has changed my opinion that it was not appropriate for a Feller reunion. Iím sure if the committee had brought in a top Las Vegas showstopper which was free to us it too would have been enjoyed by all, but as part of a Feller reunion? Now if Rick had run his 20 minute "Feller Revisited" presentation show here it would have generated discussion into the wee small hours and all of Sunday instead of Wow! That was fabulous! Oh, by the way, I gotta run - good bye! Again, ironically, because things were running so late by show time, many were too tired to stay for the dancing.
3. The chairman and I have had lengthily discussions WRT meeting number 5 and he has yet to convince me that such draconian measures were required. I shall put this issue to bed for good (from my point of view) by just saying that if those committee members who stayed and ended up doing ALL the work to make this reunion the success that it was were happy with the decisions , whom am I, who did nothing, to complain. As they say, the proof is in the pudding as the reunion results so vigorously illustrated.
Finally, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to each and every committee member for everything he or she did, and especially the hard-working and supportive spouses who didnít even attend Feller. Not only did all these individuals bust their respective butts for weeks and weeks leading up to the event, but as mentioned earlier, their work continued right through the reunion itself - while the rest of us partied they worked! Also a few facts of which some might be aware, but most are not:
- to ensure that all deadlines and commitments were met, one committee member took a two month Leave-of-Absence from the job to work full time on pre-reunion activities which meant no work, no pay!
- despite the work put into the project to make sure that everything would be perfect, there were no free-beeís - all committee members and their guests still paid the full 95 dollars each!
- many trips were made to Saint Jean by various members to scout out the perfect site and to ensure everything was as planned without any compensation provided!!
- another member contributed 30 to 40 times the cash donation value that was originally requested as non-refundable start-up money!
- and still another member worked tirelessly throughout the period despite the death of a close relative plus a house fire that destroyed the principle residence days before the scheduled reunion!
- finally, as there was no up-front cash to produce the Feller Revisited tapes, in addition to the time sacrificed, Rick had to pay all the costs out of pocket in order that the tapes might be available by Saturday night!
To reiterate, I can think of no way in which it could have been done any better, and damn it, Iíím a nit-picker, especially with my 20-20 hind-sight!
Andy "Horse" McCullough
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