Meeting Report: Annual Picnic

My first lunch in Durham since high school was about this time of year in 1984 with Past President Bill Burns in the Hope Valley dining room with a view of the green on the 18th hole. During the conversation about moving to Durham to work for Bill at CCB, a ball landed on the green and rolled within a couple of feet of the hole.  Good omen I thought and decided to do it.  A year or so later Bill sponsored me in Rotary.

I noted that that view hasn’t changed much in the 34 years as my daughter, granddaughter and I joined the festivities at the First Annual Durham Rotary Family picnic at HVCC, while Durham and the Rotary Club certainly have.

Of the country clubs in Durham, HVCC strikes me as quintessentially Southern, and is my favorite by being elegant but not ostentatious. On this day it was also the perfect place for the picnic. There were tables set on both the covered portico to catch a breeze or a step into the dining room by the buffet if it was too hot for you.

The food, although picnic fare, also had a country club flair. The salad was beautiful, the hamburgers and hot dogs were oversized, the grilled chicken was just right. There was an impressive fruit platter that left me wondering how they left the little rind handles on the watermelon slices. And the deserts…wow. And all set on linen covered table cloths. The great HVCC staff hovered over it to make sure everything was going well.

The practice putting green, cornhole games and the swimming pool were open for our group to use and I confess I spent a good deal of time at the pool watching my granddaughter. Maddy is six and a half and starts 1st grade at Hope Valley elementary next week.

All great fun, but the primary reason for the picnic was the opportunity for fellowship and the casual interaction of members and their families. In my observation that made the picnic a great success and verified the leadership’s desire for more fellowship opportunities where we can get to know our fellow Rotarians outside the constraints of the jam-packed regular meetings.

President Brady and an ad hoc committee that included Arthur Rogers, Savannah Lennertz, Gin Jackson, Julie Wells and Elisabeth Wiener pulled the event together with the HVCC staff. 

I have another confession to make.  I was going to take pictures and I forgot. The only pictures I got were of my granddaughter. Maddy is fearless. After jumping off the diving board a couple of times, I dared her to do a flip. She’s never attempted one before, but she didn’t even stop to think about it. She did a half dozen or so and was getting a little better each time but the lifeguard, who seemed even more amazed than I was but more concerned, stopped her.

If anyone else got any pictures, if you send them to me I will add them to the post on the website.

– Jay Zenner


  1. Kay Gresham says:

    Such a fun event – enjoyed by all!
    Great to see the “kids” who will grow up to be new Rotarians!

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