The Star-News


A sucker for ceremonies

Sat, Oct 02 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Pena

I have from time to time, written about my affinity with ceremonies. For much of my adult life, it seems I have made an effort to attend any kind of an event that has some sort of ritual to it, a ceremony, so to speak, that follows a pattern that is long-established. In other words, the procedure was devised by someone else, or some other culture, and through the years it has proven to be something orderly, something that is embraced by most of the folks that it touches. It is what I believe to be the difference between an orderly society and one bordering on chaos.

As a result of this type of thinking I have attended more graduations than I can remember and probably an equal amount of Change of Commands. I have been known to sit through a couple of hours of high school commencement exercises when I did not know a sole in the graduation class. I suppose I had some sort of satisfaction in knowing that the class was going through a ritual that had preceded them by countless generations but was still as genuine and original as if it had been devised for their particular class.

Back in my education career days I was involved with many a sixth-grade class. We would emphasize that the end of school ceremony was not a graduation but simply a promotion to a different school, a step higher in their quest for learning and we should not make too much of it.

That was a little bit like talking to those blackboards that we had in those days. The students, backed up by the parents were going to have a graduation. We knew we were beat so we went along with the masses. Out came the graduation marches, rehearsal on the school song was intensified and we were in full swing. The kids did their part. On graduation day they showed up in their Sunday finery and put on airs not seen in the previous nine months. The timed, orderly ritual took place from beginning to the end and was climaxed by a large sheet cake and the customary lemonade or Kool-Aide.

All of this is leading us up to a banquet/ceremony affair that we attended this past weekend at Anthony's Fish Grotto. This was the installation of the president and other officials that will lead the Bonita Kiwanis through the next year. In keeping with a time-honored Kiwanis custom the installing officer was the present Lieutenant Governor Tom Teagle. In this post Teagle is the overseer of 11 clubs like the Bonita club and lends assistance where needed. He is a member of the Chula Vista unit, the leading club in the division.

Installed as president was a long time member, Bill Sears. We have written of Sears in this space a number of times.

He is an extremely active member of the unit who served as president ten years ago. He has also served as the Lt. Gov. of the division.

Sears and his wife, Meli, are here like many others, courtesy of the U.S. Navy. He had a military career as a helicopter pilot and as is often the case, he was assigned here to duty. And like many others he came back on retirement to make this his home.

I must confess that although I have been a Kiwanian for about 40 years I am no longer as active as before. It, therefore, was extremely pleasing to see some of the fellows that I used to know way back when. There was Bob and Vanessa Chicca, (Bob spent some time as a prisoner of war in Korea and is still active putting out the club newsletter), The Rambling Rhetoric. Peter Matz, a recently retired school principal was installed as the president-elect. Then there was a long time friend and teacher, Vern Von Sydow and his wife, Gayle who was installed as the vice-president.

Much of the discussion was of the recently completed golf tournament that was staged on the 26th at the Bonita Golf Club. The perennial chairmen, Dale Godfrey and Mary Cruz were present with a report on the success of this activity.

This Kiwanis club is one that has had a reputation for many years of doing things for others less fortunate. This objective has not changed. There are a very few things that can equal the good that a young man or woman can do for others when they are Kiwanis members. It would be my recommendation to such people to investigate this club.


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