As our first November meeting began, the assembled members surveyed a big pile of mystery bags and wrapped parcels, which ranged from the size of cigar boxes to that of a normal cooler. Each item had a little tag attached to it. The herding of the White Elephants was complete.
So what’s a White Elephant? It’s something big or small cluttering up your closet, crawl space, basement, or garage, which you no longer need and would likely like to be rid of. The basic rule was to disguise your “treasure” in some way and then make up a little poem or stanza, or verse giving some hint as to its being or use. Then, tote it to the meeting, and sneak it into the pile where it would be auctioned off to other members of the club. The bidding for each object was really a pledge to donate that amount of money to the Foundation, if one ended up being the successful bidder.
Our auctioneer was the most capable town crier of Sidney (also a member of the club), who read out the clues for each object and then cajoled, teased or extorted pledges from the assembled group. As the saying goes: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” So, much “treasure” was swapped that night, and it was a fun event, giving all of our Rotarians a good laugh: “Darn, wish I’d won that one” to “Whew, sure glad I didn’t win that one!” Even a couple of “What the heck is this?” comments. And the “treasures” ranged from microwave potholders to old dictionaries to portable coolers to a toy Rooster, who sang and did the chicken dance on prompting.
At the end of the fray, the club had raised $1950 in pledges to the Foundation, plus another $160 in straight donations. Many thanks to our wheeling and dealing auctioneer, Kenny Podmore, and to all club members for supporting the Rotary Foundation.