Serving up pancakes, patriotism

Alicia Durkim and Hannah Keener load up on toppings at the eighth annual Rotary Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Rotary Park before going to work on a landscaping job. Enlarge photo

ISAIAH BRANCH-BOYLE/Durango Herald

Alicia Durkim and Hannah Keener load up on toppings at the eighth annual Rotary Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Rotary Park before going to work on a landscaping job.

Good gravy! Thatís what attendees said at the eighth annual Rotary Club of Durangoís Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast on Wednesday, where the biscuits and gravy, courtesy of the Strater Hotel, were such a hot ticket, they ran out ... again. Yep, every year they make more gravy and biscuits, and every year ... well, you get the drift.

Also on the menu were the eponymous pancakes, scrambled eggs (plain and with chiles), ham and red, white and blue toppings such as strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, peanut butter (OK, not red, white or blue, but All-American nonetheless) and of course, syrup for the traditionalists.

Paulette Church led the organizing committee, which started with Holly Laird and Chessa Gill, and ended up including pretty much every member of the club. They fed between 700 and 800 people. (Children eat free, so it takes a little while to get the plate count.)

Some members of the club took on the decorating, with a motif that was predetermined by our Founding Fathers. The tables were festooned with bunting, confetti and those whirly things we all loved as kids, which helped everyone get into the patriotic spirit.

As is always the case with fundraisers, it takes a lot of people chipping in. The event was held in Rotary Park, whose landmark gazebo and landscaping were donated by this club. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031, which neighbors the park, lent the Rotarians its folding chairs, the city of Durango lent its three big pop-up tents and chairs, and Durango Party Rentals gave them a deal on the tables.

Various Rotarians took turns spinning the Rotary wheel on Main Avenue to entice breakfasters, and The Wine Merchant graciously allowed folks to park there while they ate. (I hope at least some stopped by for some spirits for their own celebration later at home.)

Some folks made it a twofer, with the younger generation participating in the Freedom 5K sponsored by the cityís Parks and Recreation Department, while their elders enjoyed coffee and conversation until the whole family could eat pancakes together.

Members from both the High Noon and Durango Daybreak Rotary clubs supported their sponsoring club in its biggest fundraiser of the year. (Iíll have more on both of them in columns coming up shortly.)

How do they spend the money? The park is a good example. They collaborate with the other clubs to provide third-graders with a dictionary as a gift each year, give money to organizations such as the Durango Discovery Museum and the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County and help several graduating seniors each year pursue their dream of a college education by giving scholarships.

Rotary is a powerful force for good in the world. Most well-known is its Polio Plus Program, which is just three nations away from eradicating polio. It used to be four, but Dorothy Tarpley told me that India had just passed the one-year mark with no cases reported, so itís considered polio-free now.

Rotaryís Youth Exchanges and Group Study Exchanges build bridges between nations one person and one club at a time. This club has sponsored exchange students since 1969. Thatís a lot of bridges.

The memory of those pancakes is even sweeter now, isnít it?

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Grateful for slightly cooler weather and maybe, just maybe, some precipitation for their birthdays are Joyce Wood, Priscilla Shand, Drew Downs, Vicki Lynn, Joni Bender, Adonai Zafranco, Chris Atchison, Sam Atchison, Madison Dickson, Mary Hudson, Diane Knutson, Clark Lagow, J.C. Ellingson-Condie, Bonnie Jung, Freddie Mickel, Jessica Miller, Deck Shaline, Buster Weahkee Jr. and Jerry Sheldon.

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Xena may have the heart of a warrior princess, but she was no match for the red-tailed hawk at Dalton Ranch, who thought sheíd make a tasty morsel for dinner.

Xena, if you havenít figured it out yet, is a dog, a small dog. Iím not good at identifying breeds Ė except the well-known ones such as poodles, dachsunds and German shepherds, and thanks to my friend Ginger Jenks, Samoyeds Ė so Iím not going to even venture a guess as to her origins.

A whole family of red-tailed hawks has taken up residence at Dalton, so this story is a warning to all owners of small dogs and cats in the neighborhood. The hawk already had taken a couple of dives at poor Xena, who had wandered out onto a fairway, when golf professional Grant Bradshaw, who was working the Bag Drop, realized what was happening.

Letís just say knights in shining armor come in all kinds of conveyances, including golf carts. He swooped down and grabbed Xena before the hawk could strike again.

I donít know who her human companions are, but Iím sure theyíre happy Xena is home safe and sound Ė and so is she, having made a new friend in the process.

Thanks to Cathy Gaskell for sending in the tale of Xena and her hero.

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There are high school and college reunions and now a proposed club reunion, a reunion of former Kopy Katt Club patrons, to be exact.

Ignacio teacher Danny Jaques, who worked as a disc jockey at the 3.2-beer bar, said the club was the hub of older teenager and young 20-something revelry from 1980 to 1984. It was located near the spot where the current Sonic Drive-In is.

Jaques is organizing a reunion to be heldJuly 14. Call him at 749-9387 to relive good times and good music.

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The bunting has been taken down for another year, but that doesnít mean the celebrating is over for these folks who are marking their anniversaries this week Ė Jerry and Joyce Wood, Dean and Sandy Brown, John and Laura Lewis Marchino, Scott and Cindy Atchison, Lee and Debbie Van Winkle and Tony and Nancy Stohl.

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Hereís how to reach me: neighbors@durangoherald.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high quality, high resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory).

Cypress Schaff, 3, daughter of Sharon Sears and Cody Schaff, digs into a pancake at the eighth annual Rotary Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Rotary Park. Enlarge photo

ISAIAH BRANCH-BOYLE/Durango Herald

Cypress Schaff, 3, daughter of Sharon Sears and Cody Schaff, digs into a pancake at the eighth annual Rotary Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast at Rotary Park.