Alannah Vickery was the Toastmaster of the day and introduced the theme, “Health is the real wealth, not pieces of gold.” Throughout the meeting Alannah shared health tips to go along with the theme. One tip was that we should floss, because not doing so might result in the loss of a jaw!
Mo Yakubu was the Grammarian, and his word of the day was “salubrious”. Several speakers dropped the word into their speeches, indicating that they had listened well to Mo.
The first speaker was Mark Smith who delivered his Icebreaker speech, “This is Your Life.” Mark spoke about his early life growing up on a sheep farm before moving to Christchurch. In the big city he bounced from school to school, always mixing with the wrong crowd. He was thrown out of a Catholic boys’ school in first term for drinking and using drugs. From there he went to a co-ed school where he lasted only two terms before being forced to leave again. Landing at Burnside in term four, he found himself among the same type of crowd, headed down the same path. A teacher asked him if he’d like to go along on a wilderness adventure with the school, and he responded with very little thought about it. “Ah, yep!” That response changed the course of his life. After his adventure, academics and sports became more important to him. He stopped using drugs and adopted a more salubrious lifestyle. He finished school successfully, and has continued to do well for himself since then. He was salesman of the year last year! For Mark, an “Ah, yep!” moment changed his life. Congratulations Mark!
The second speaker was Rachel Walton, whose speech, “It’s Not Okay,” was project four from the Storyteller Manual. Rachel told a story of an older couple who have become entangled in her life. The woman is a career government employee while the fellow is a businessman. He’s losing his hair and not attractive. Rachel finds the relationship with them uncomfortable. There are rumours that the woman is a dirty dealer, and her partner is publicly critical of her. A week ago he even beat her up in front of a crowd! Rachel feels powerless to do anything in the situation; she’s stuck with it for four years. The couple is Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton! Rachel tells us things are not always what they seem, and it’s not okay.
The third speaker was Rodney Ford, who revisited a speech he had originally given in 2002. His speech was from the Competent Communicator manual, and it was called “Everything is Going My Way.” Rodney opened his speech by singing the song of the same name, which was from the musical “Oklahoma”. He delivered the sad statistic that 500 New Zealanders commit suicide every year. Happiness is fleeting and disappointment is inevitable. Having just been rained out during a trip to Abel Tasman, it certainly would have been easy to sustain that point of view. Rodney reflected on an experience that demonstrated how a person’s point of view can change over time. He shared the story of a family trip he had taken years earlier to Vienna when his daughters were quite young. He had a plan of how he would like to spend his day in Vienna, but when his daughter saw a poster advertising the Spanish dancing horses, nothing would dissuade her from insisting they go. Rodney resented his daughter’s disruption of his plan and sulked all day. The sulking ruined his time in Vienna! Rodney regretted his reaction. More recently, Rodney made another trip to Vienna with his second wife. What a coincidence; she also wanted to see the dancing horses! This time, Rodney went along and enjoyed the experience. He had a much better time by not giving in to the sulk. So when he was in Abel Tasman and it was too wet for the tramp he had planned, he decided to enjoy drinking wine and coffee instead. And when the earthquake happened, trapping him in Nelson for an extra couple of days, he focused on enjoying the extra time with his family rather than bemoaning the disruption of his plan. At the end of his story, he led the meeting once again in the song, “Everything’s Going My Way.” Thanks Rodney!
Terrelle Hegarty presented an entertaining and interactive session of Table Topics. To help speakers to be mindful of fillers such as “Um” and “Ah”, she had the audience respond with a sound whenever they heard one of these. Topics were simple. Caleb was given “Trump”. Danny de Hek got “First Love.” “Christmas Shopping” was Kevin Cusack’s topic. David Cooper used “Childhood Mishaps” as a jumping off point. I was given “Outdoor Adventures.” Terrelle had given me the topic in advance, and I was so nervous about it that I barely heard any of the other speakers. I heard plenty of laughter and sounds of enjoyment, though, so I’m sure everyone was great.
It was another salubrious Friday morning at Toastmasters!