What does it cost to be my friend? | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 7/21/21

My wife BJ and I are pretty friendly people. We enjoy most others and make an effort to enlist their trust and friendship. 

However, some of our friends will tell you there is a real price to …

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What does it cost to be my friend? | Life in Ludlow

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My wife BJ and I are pretty friendly people. We enjoy most others and make an effort to enlist their trust and friendship. 

However, some of our friends will tell you there is a real price to pay for that relationship. Sometimes the price is high.

Back in Kansas City, Missouri, we were involved with a charity, the Love Fund for Children, and the Porsche Club. As you may have experienced, charitable organizations like the Love Fund for Children are always looking for ways to raise money. 

Back in those days the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders had a responsibility to support a local organization so they held an annual auction that benefited the Love Fund for Children. The events and items they were able to collect from the community and the Chiefs players for the auction were astounding, from signed helmets to game tickets. Even more notable was the money they were able to pull in from the folks attending and bidding at the auction because of the connection to the Chiefs. 

We confess to cajoling some of our friends to buy tickets and come to the auction because, let me assure you, it was also a party.

The Porsche Club also held an annual charity auction in a local auto museum with the Love Fund as the beneficiary. Predictably we invited friends to attend and bid on the wide array of car products from a bottle of car-washing liquid to a set of four tires, thank you Bridgestone.  

Shortly after we moved to Port Ludlow I joined the East Jefferson Rotary Club. Soon after I heard from my friend John Erickson that the real mission of Rotary is to extract as much money as possible from members and the community. 

Let me assure you, all that money is going to the right places from local projects too numerous to name to the eradication of world-wide polio. 

But I digress. My membership in Rotary has given me the opportunity to sell raffle tickets at either $100 each or $50 each depending on the year. Vic Draper, Steven Gross, Ramsey Smith, and many others have taken the opportunity to win the prizes which have been as much as $10,000. The only person winning anything from one of my “Pot o’ Gold” tickets was BJ. My friends loved that one. 

There were 17 prizes one year which included a 10-person wine tasting at Fair Winds Winery in Port Townsend. The winner of the prize did not imbibe so he gave it back to the Rotary Club to auction off and thereby generate more funds. I bought the wine tasting and hosted several of the fine folks who had bought raffle tickets over the years without winning. I was hopeful the wining might suppress the whining. 

And then there is the Rose Sale. 

My friends, there are actually folks here generous enough to call me and order roses during the Rotary Club’s annual effort to pretty up Eastern Jefferson County. Janet McKinnon, Ron Racki, Bev Rothenborg, Polly Peters, Richard Smith, Lloy Drinkard, Donna Etchey of this fine newspaper, and Mike Kenna of the Printery plus many others bought roses. Don’t get me wrong, even though I write this column for Donna and work for Mike I had to personally get them and watch them write the check. Actually, as the CFO for the Printery I wrote the check. 

How about the flags the club erects on holidays through the year? There are more than 100 of your friends and neighbors donating to the club and getting those flags put up and taken down on those holidays. That program nets over $10,000 each year for local scholarships. 

Several years back I was contacted by Carla Caldwell and Herb Cook of the Jefferson County Community Foundation and asked to join the board of directors. I did join and now can claim that some of the contributors to the foundation are actually friends of mine who might tell you that their arms are still hurting from the twisting I gave them. 

Now we come to the Rotary Club’s upcoming Sept. 25 car show in Port Ludlow across the street from the Yacht Club. (The historically inclined know that location is across the street from the old Harbormaster.) 

Pat Cooper and I have been soliciting sponsorships for this event from local businesses and have been blown away by the response. We have contacted 15 businesses and I know of only one refusal, a real estate agent in Port Townsend who suggested I contact Karen Best of Best Homes. I did and she contributed! It seems as if businesses are ready to join the citizens and do something other than deal with the problems of the pandemic. Frankly, it is looking like fun!

Yes, being my friend and occasionally BJ’s may cost you real dollars sometimes. 

Nonetheless, as Winston Churchill is reported to have said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give!” 

Thanks to all the generous folks in this generous community, particularly those who have given dollars or volunteered in support of all the worthy causes. Hey, anybody want to donate to DePauw University or Wabash College? 

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week. 

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident. He also wants it known that if he ever twists your arm he will try to do so with a smile on his face. Reach Ned at ned@ptleader.com.)

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