Yacht clubs and sailing centers hold countless board and committee meetings to keep operations running smoothly-or at least running. Most of these sessions are organized and purposeful, but every so often such gatherings can become dysfunctional, emotional, and yes, even downright depressing. The agenda of some attendees can revolve around politics, social climbing, and even disruption. When such meetings go south, it torments officers and participants. I’ve seen my fair share and know how frustrating they can be. But
sometimes it’s easy to find humor when meetings take odd turns and twists. I was reminded as such with a recent literary discovery.
My father Thomas passed away last year after having enjoyed a rich lifetime around the water. His last boat was a Beetle Cat, which he kept at the ready, tied to his dock in St. Michaels, Md. In 1961, he served as commodore of the Beachwood YC, a small, non-descript boat club at the headwaters of the Toms River in New Jersey. I was going through his files and papers he left behind recently and came across a satirical essay that resonates in many of my own experiences. It made me laugh at the occasion that must have taken place to inspire this writing. There is something in it for all of us to ponder as I’m sure in one time or another you’ve been at this meeting already.
To the Commodore
Minutes of the meeting of the recreation committee of Pinecone Yacht Club held at 2 a.m., July 5, on the foredeck of the disabled Crosby yacht, Seaweed II, docked at the Pinecone marina:
Present: Lucian L. (Luke) Lukas, chairman, and Mrs. Maybelle Beaman, member. The third appointed member, Leroy Leiser, was not notified of the meeting because of his reactionary views.
Mr. Lukas called the meeting to order and asked for a call of the roll. Present were Mr. Lukas and Mrs. Beaman, both wearing stylish boating gear while leaning against the front of the cruiser’s cabin. He was sipping a beer and she a gin and tonic while slapping at an occasional mosquito passing by.
Mr. Lukas asked for a motion to nominate an acting secretary. There being none, Mr. Lukas appointed Mrs. Beaman.
At that point Mr. Lukas shouted aft to others aboard the disabled Crosby yacht, Seaweed II, to hold down their loud and boisterous behavior.
Mr. Lukas asked for a reading of the minutes of the previous meeting. Mrs. Beaman responded that there never had been a previous meeting.
Mr. Lukas asked for a motion to appoint an acting treasurer. There being none, Mr. Lukas appointed Mrs. Beaman acting treasurer.
Mr. Lukas then asked for a report from the treasurer. Mrs. Beaman said the committee’s financial balance was zero because the Board of Governors failed to appropriate any money. Mr. Lukas asked for a discussion. There being none, he ordered the treasurer’s report filed.
Mr. Lukas called for a report on old business. Mrs. Beaman said that because the committee had never previously held a meeting, there was no old business to discuss. Mr. Lukas ordered the report to be filed.
At this point Mr. Lukas admonished others aboard the disabled Crosby yacht, Seaweed II, to hold down their loud and boisterous behavior. When someone shouted back, “Shut up yourself.” Mr. Lukas ordered the acting secretary to mention the incident in the minutes.
Mr. Lukas called for new business. After an embarrassing silence, Mrs. Beaman suggested that the recreation committee formulate a recreation program for the Pinecone Yacht Club for the remainder of the summer even though it was late in getting started.
Mr. Lukas said he was reluctant to do so because adults already had scheduled their sailing, social and drinking events and the juniors had an exhaustive schedule intact, including a sailing program, swimming meets and social events along with the usual water fights and general horsing around, the latter taking up a good portion of their time, and messing up the clubhouse.
Mr. Lukas asked Mrs. Beaman if she had any ideas before the meeting came to a close. She recalled that someone had dropped off a used tennis net at the club one night during the spring. She added that the net looked too heavy to lug to the dump.
“We could have a tournament,” she said with glee.
Mr. Lukas said the suggestion should be recorded as a motion and he seconded it, calling for a vote. There were two ayes and no nays.
Mr. Lukas, losing his patience with others aboard the disabled Crosby yacht, Seaweed II, threw his empty beer can in their direction. It hit the boat in the next slip.
Mr. Lukas said Mrs. Beaman’s suggestion had considerable merit while recalling his glory days of tennis participation without mentioning he dropped out when competition became too stiff.
Mr. Lukas directed Mrs. Beaman to create a motion in any words she chose to incorporate the idea with a plea for funds from the Board of Governors for necessary equipment-perhaps tennis balls would be useful-and trophies to attract junior and senior members. Labor Day weekend was selected as the time for the tournament, giving members plenty of time to practice on the municipal courts where the event would take place. That would cause no problem, Mrs. Beaman agreed, because her husband Warren was the town mayor. Mrs. Beaman said she’d work on the motion at some future date after her computer was running properly.
(It should be noted that between the time of the meeting July 5 and the date the minutes were submitted to the commodore at the monthly club meeting, July 23, past Commodore Tommie Frey was asked to serve as tennis tournament chairman, Tommie Frey responded, “Pig Poop!” Mr. Lukas asked Commodore C. Bentley Brownstone to appoint a chairman. He appointed Luke Lukas who was all too willing to serve as now he had an excuse not to participate as a player.)
At this point, Mr. Lukas once more shouted at the other occupants of the disabled Crosby yacht, Seaweed II, to hold down the loud and boisterous noise. “Go to hell, Luke,” came back the answer. Mr. Lukas instructed Mrs. Beaman to include the anonymous remark in the minutes. He was sure it came from his skished wife Sallie.
Mr. Lukas asked Mrs. Beaman for any subcommittee reports. She responded there were no subcommittees thus no reports.
Mr. Lukas then opened the meeting for any more new business. Mrs. Beaman said she wanted another gin and tonic with plenty of ice. Thus, Mr. Lukas declared the general discussion closed and asked for a motion to adjourn.
Mrs. Beaman made the motion that was seconded by Mr. Lukas who called for a roll of members. There were two yeas and no nays. Mr. Lukas declared the meeting adjourned. He then instructed Mrs. Beaman to send members a notice of their next and last meeting in December but warned her not to send one to the third member, Leroy Leiser, because of his radical views. A light rain forced the two members into the cabin to join the others.
Lucian L. (Luke) Lukas, Chairman
Attest: Mrs. Maybelle Beaman, Acting secretary, Acting treasurer, Member