On arrival, luncheon attendees were greeted in the beautifully appointed surroundings. The bright, high-ceiling ballroom was aglow as late morning sunlight streamed through the large windows that wrapped around the room. A full view of the marina was enjoyed. The mocha-skirted round tables were overlaid with white linen cloths. Each table had a centerpiece of a black wrought-iron footed plate with filigree edges which held a glazed ceramic vase filled with artificial grasses. The room buzzed with voices of happy, peppy people.
At noon, Mary Jo Butts, 2008-2010 chairperson, welcomed everyone. Pat Shanks lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag and the singing of the National Anthem. Ross Emmert gave the blessing for the food. Tables were called to the buffet by a numbered draw. The hot and delicious food consisted of Mattison's house salad, herb-crusted chicken breast, sliced pork loin, seasoned green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. The dessert station was loaded with a variety of large cookies and brownies. Guests were invited to go back for "seconds," and enjoy as much food as desired from the plentiful array.
Hot rolls and unlimited beverages of iced tea, coffee and water were served at the tables. The servers, attired in black slacks, long-sleeved white shirts with black bow ties were attentive throughout the meal. After luncheon and dishes were cleared from the tables, the wait-staff was called forward. Mary Jo thanked them for the diligent service given to our luncheon, and they received a thunderous applause from the crowd. However, the servers stayed in the background throughout the afternoon to serve the attendees anyway that was needed.
More announcements were made, and the name of each door prize provider was read. A large tri-pod board also displayed the names of each Clay County business or individual donor. Then the first group of door prizes were drawn and distributed by Allen McKamey and Julia Emmert.
First-time attendees were asked to stand and be recognized. Also, Happy Birthday was sung to those who had January birthdays. It is always good to see who is the oldest attendee. This year, three people were recognized and awarded for being 90-years-old or older. Recognition was also given to Lois Ruggenstein Foster, Raymond Kerr, Pat Shanks and Sue Edwards Myers for their years of service as past Clay County Day chairmen.
For entertainment, Centerpiece Bingo was enjoyed. Each person was supplied with a bingo card. Individual favor cups of M & Ms were at each place setting to be used as markers for the game. Mary Jo explained the rules with each winner taking home the centerpiece of his or her choice. Virgil Butts, Bingo master for the afternoon, began the first session of games.
Clay Countians always enjoy bragging-rites to their former alma maters. As the names of Ashboro, Bowling Green, Brazil, Clay City, Cory, Staunton and Van Buren were read, graduates were ask to stand and give their school colors and mascot. Then people in attendance who were not Clay County graduates were ask to give their schools, colors and mascots. This brought back many memories as the formers schools in Clay County and surrounding areas were cheered.
More door prizes continued to be distributed and another round of Bingo was played. Then the annual meeting was conducted. Everyone agreed they were pleased with the new location, the food and the service. They voted to come back in 2011. After some discussion, Mary Jo asked for someone to take the reins as next year's chairman. She said she had enjoyed planning and executing the past three events beginning in the spring of 2007, but the chairmanship needed to be shared. She then invited Betty (B.J.) Hofmann to the podium and introduced her as the 2011 chairman. Mary Jo also thanked those who had helped with the 2010 event and gave praises to everyone who helped her along the way during the past three years.
The third and final session of Bingo was played. Then more door prizes were distributed. After Pat Shanks led the attendees in singing, "God Bless America," it was time to close another successful reunion. Mary Jo thanked everyone for attending the event, and wished each one a good year, safe travels and invited them to come again next year.
Clay County Day is held each year on the third Thursday of January. Clay County "snowbirds and transplants," travel from the north, south and east regions of Florida and all regions in between to attend the Bradenton reunion on the west coast.
The next event will be held Jan. 20, 2011. Reservation letters will be sent out in mid-November. Watch for announcements in The Brazil Times and Clay City News regarding all details.