Meeting of 6/2/16: ‘India By Train’

SRC Minutes LogoMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
May 26, 2016

Members Attending (21): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A. J. Amato, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan, Carole Spencer, Roberto Martinez, Ron Annis, Monika Annis, Carol Orvis, Rommel Tolentino, Stewart Wagner, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Julius Frankel.

Guests (3): Maryann Hannan, Ed Hannan, Effie Frankel.

PROGRAM: “India By Train”

India 2
Carole Spencer describes a festive scene on the Ganges River near Delhi.

Club member Carole Spencer introduced her traveling companions Maryann and Ed Hannan, who accompanied her on a seven-day journey through India by train.

She explained the zig-zag route they took from Delhi southeast to Module, traveling mostly at night so they had their days to visit various locales en route. (The trip of about 1,472 kilometers — or 915 miles — would take about two hours by air or just under 23 hours by car or bus.)

Among the scenes presented were the juxtapositions of lush interiors of the train and several hotels compared to the crowded, hectic street life in cities along the way, and the majestic architecture of the Taj Mahal and other palaces compared to the primitive scenes of bathing in polluted water and open-air markets looking the same as they did centuries ago.

What was perhaps most striking were the scenes and descriptions of the daily open-air cremations along the Ganges River — despite the availability of nearby crematoriums that go unused, and the nightly festive celebrations giving thanks to “Mother Ganges,” with boats decorated in bright colors and candles.

Carole also spoke about festive dinners, riding on an elephant, an unpleasant encounter with a camel, visiting a rather shocking place called the Rat Temple — just what it sounds like — which was an enormous contrast to visiting the Taj Mahal, seeing grass-roofed huts on farms, entering shops offering brilliantly-colored garments and fabrics, the bustle of city traffic that included cars, trucks, motorbikes, and elephants side by side.

Screen shot 2016-06-03 at 10.19.14 AM
Map shows travel time via plane or car compared to the 7-day train trip.


Monika Annis
SRC Board member Jim Leyhane inducted Monika Annis into Rotary membership. Her sponsor, husband Ron, is seen at left.

NEW-MEMBER INDUCTION — Our latest person to officially be welcomed into Rotary was Monika Annis, inducted as is our custom by SRC Board member Jim Leyhane. President Terry Brewer noted that other new members will officially be inducted at our June 23 meeting when District Governor Milan Jackson and DG-Elect (for 2017-18) Fred Daniels will attend. Monika was inducted in advance because she and Ron will be headed back for Sweden before that session.

DRIVER TRAINING — Jim Leyhane, who is coordinating an insurance premium-reducing driver training course, said the event will begin at 11 a.m. this Sunday at the Community Care Physicians building, 81 Miller Road, Schodack.

belyeuSUMMER CASUAL SCHEDULE — One of the three remaining open dates on the schedule has been filled, our annual outing to the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham. We will be attending the opening night of “The Addams Family,” with Gabe Belyeu (seen here) in the role of Gomez Addams that was first seen in Charles Addams cartoons, then made famous on TV by John Astin and played in the film version by Raoul Julia before the family moved to the stage. Our only remaining open dates are July 28 and August 4. Anyone wishing to host a picnic or arrange a family-friendly field trip on either of those dates is asked to contact Debbie Rodriguez ASAP. Check our “Calendar” for details on all other events.

MEMBER CONTACT DATA — Webmaster Bill Dowd asked everyone who has not yet done so to check the “Member Contact Data” web page to be sure their information is correct and complete. Any changes should be emailed to him ASAP. He noted that once everyone has responded, he will convert the listing to a password-protected page with only members given access to the information (a roster of our members’ names already is available as a public page). … President Terry again gave high praise to the website and the wide variety of information it provides, and urged members to make a practice of visiting it on a regular basis.

Screen shot 2016-06-03 at 11.08.24 AMSCHOLAR RECOGNITION — Our June 16 meeting will be “Scholar Recognition Night.” We expect to be providing $1,000 scholarship checks to students from Maple Hill, Columbia, and Rensselaer high schools. We’re hoping for a strong member turnout since so many of our members are in the education field.

ASSISTANCE FOR SPEAKERS — Roberto Martinez shared a proposed information sheet that will provide our after-dinner speakers with all the technical assistance they need to set up their presentations. It will make its debut as a new page on the club website on Friday. Members may print out copies for their speakers, or simply give them the Internet address — — that will allow them to access it directly.

PRESIDENTIAL CHANGEOVER — President Terry urged all members to make an effort to attend the annual Presidential Changeover event, when he will be turning over the gavel to President-Elect Debbie Rodriguez for the 2016-17 Rotary Year that commences on July 1. The event will be held at the Forth residence in East Greenbush. Guests are, as always, welcome.

Screen shot 2016-06-03 at 11.18.38 AMDUES PAYMENT REMINDER — Treasurer Murray Forth reminds everyone that dues for the 2016-17 Rotary Year are due no later than June 30, the last day of the current fiscal year. Annual dues are $125 for the first year of membership, rising to $150 in the second year, and $175 thereafter. They may be paid in two equal installments by June 30 and December 31. Dues help support the public service efforts of the club, the district and Rotary International. Checks should be made payable to “SRC Rotary Club.”

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at Quigley’s Food & Drink. The speaker will be Peter’s and Debbie’s grandson who just returned from a stint volunteering at an orphanage in Zimbabwe. That has the makings of a fascinating talk.

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