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Ode to a Headingley Rotarian – 40th Anniversary Recollections

Forty Years On

How do forty years pass by so fast?

How can we record just what has passed?

How forty presidents have come and gone

And now already there are forty one.


So many friendly meetings have gone by,

So much indulgence over apple pie.

Members have retired, but here’s the crunch,

Retirement is for ever but not for lunch.


Tuesday is a day when wives can meet up,

Or simply have a rest and put their feet up.

We’ve tried to show our altruistic side:

‘Service above Self’ is still our guide.


Charities at home and overseas,

It would take too long to detail these.

In terms of years it took us thirty four

To welcome three brave ladies through the door.


We claim we have not changed how we behave;

Or is there just a hint of aftershave?

We’ve been abroad to Bruges and Amsterdam,

To Prague and Nice and Scotland for a dram;


In Dublin we drank Guinness, be assured,

Though afterwards our speech was slightly slurred.

This year the President has changed the scene,

Revealing the delights of the Forest of Dean;


He disclosed the secrets of his former life,

Of how he traded eels and gained a wife.

Though spreading knowledge like a true insider,

He failed to warn us of the false-widow spider.


The Gruffalo might catch us unawares,

But remember not to ask, ‘Who killed the bears?’

The speakers’ talks have been on every topic:

Anecdotal, informative, moving, or just philanthropic.


One member, once, was seen so sleepy eyed,

The speaker was convinced that he had died.

We’ve walked and sung and danced and barbecued,

Insisted on three courses for our food.


Sadly we’ve lost some members on the way,

But memories will last for many a day.

Next year, we’ve heard, there’ll be a French invasion;

We’ve all prepared our bikes for the occasion.


So if a mist descends on t’ Yorkshire mooers,

They won’t know which are theirs and which are ooers.

New members still continue to arrive:

Amazingly the Club appears to thrive.


Some members reminisce, but what is worse,

One or two insist on writing verse.

And so we are aware our years are mounting,

Just like the Club’s, forty years and counting.


Michael Coles


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