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Lincoln Day: A very special evening

Sondra Hillary, right, chairwoman of the Churchill County Central Republican Committee, presents a plaque to Edna Van Leuven for her contributions.

At last Saturday evening’s Lincoln Day dinner, even though I was exhausted, my son, Doug, kept telling me to stay a little longer when I wanted to leave.

Sometimes, he doesn’t understand that I simply fold after the sun goes down this time of the year.

For years and years, until I was almost 80 years old, I had to get all gussied up to go to work every morning. You ladies understand … it was up before dawn, shower, put on the nylons, the nice work clothes, high heels, then make up and head out the door. And now, finally, I don’t have to do all that nonsense and can dress in jeans and slip around the house in bedroom slippers.

That’s until I’m good and ready to “dress up” for some fancy doings or perhaps dinner out somewhere on a special holiday. First of all, if you’ve ever been to any of the previous Lincoln Day Dinners — done by one of our local caterers — you understand about the terrific food and service. This year when we sat down to our table, it already contained pitchers of ice tea and ice water, a bowl of cornbread, a plate with butter and one with horseradish.

Along came a young lady bringing a large bowl of delicious salad made of soft assorted greens topped with a fabulous poppy seed dressing. We all helped ourselves.

Then came the main course. Doug and I had chosen the prime rib — done to perfection — and accompanied by those special little red potatoes and beautiful green sections of broccoli. Everything was perfect. Off in one corner the caterer had set up a dessert table.

It contained coffee, tea with all the gismos needed for those particular beverages, and an assortment of cookies and fancy cakes. I loved the way this was handled without a waitress having to come and bring everything one by one to the table. It gave us extra time for what followed. Now folks, this was the only time before the election this November that those running for office get a chance to speak to a large local audience.

Those who attend to this type of affair tend to take voting seriously and, consequently, we had a large group of current legislators and candidates who spoke. The keynote speaker was Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who was given a plague in honor of his years of service. Then there were presentations by Churchill County Republican Chairwoman Sondra Hillary. LVN’s editor Steve Ranson received special recognition, honoring his national award-winning reports while embedded with troops in Afghanistan.

My being exhausted needs an explanation. The day before, Friday, I had been ill and had to cancel a luncheon with a dear friend. It had been one of those terrible days we old people have when you want to just curl up in bed and forget the whole world. I couldn’t do that; instead, I had to go to town for medicine. That night I don’t think I had slept two hours.

So here I was, trying to pay attention earlier to the speakers — what they have to say was important — and trying now to get my son to take me home. And then Sondra said something about the “Now and Then” column and she called my name. OK, I cry a lot, and I don’t think I stopped crying for half an hour. Everybody stood up and clapped.

My son, who’d just been told earlier about all of this and was desperately trying to keep me in my seat, now guided me up on to the stage. Doug was talking, as somebody handed me a plaque that says, “Thank you for your years of donating your time, talent and treasure to CCRCC.” Doug mentioned something about my principles and how we all need to get busy and get involved. Then I poked him.

I said to quit hogging the microphone, stating that I was the one getting the plaque, not him. Everyone roared with laughter. The rest is a real blur. I said something about Fallon being our home and those attending our friends. All that applause made the entire long night’s activities worth the wait.

One thing I’m happy for when I think about it, I’m an old lady and I kind of do as I please with some things. Looking back at myself smiling at that august company, I’m especially glad that before I left home, I remembered to put in my dentures.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.