2013 REPORT ON THE REUNION HELD IN GREENWOOD/KINGSTON NS

Submitted By George Borden

Initially, we came to the 5th East Coast PE&R Reunion - 2013 to see "old buds," meet a few "new ones" and enjoy the camaraderie associated with "a beer, a meal and a game of golf.

Instead, we individually and collectively dedicated all of our energy and emotion to the memory of the 35 or so recently deceased PTI’s, Rec Specs and PERIs whose names were tabled at the opening dinner on Thursday. Imagine, 35 out of a mere 500 or so total membership, that’s a sizeable percentage and a personal loss to everyone of us, having known them, played with them or against them and all the other times in their company. That’s heavy!

Well what did we do those four Dog Days of August 2013 (21st - 24th) down in that beautiful valley area of Nova Scotia, Kingston, you may ask? Bottom line, we had a ball!

The "Meet and Greet" on Wednesday evening, witnessed a surprisingly large turnout of "early birds." The seafood chowder made it worth the effort. As well ending the night with a singsong established just the right "beginning" for an anticipated "good time."

We were loud and noisy on Thursday morning as a busy yet efficient Reception Staff, collected registrations, confirmed meal choices and handed out bags, (each containing a personalized bottle of wine). There were kisses, hugs and back slaps galore, accompanied by surprised looks, expressions of elation and laughter aplenty.

At Thursday’s brunch a slide show of past gatherings brought lots of questions and observations of who, when, where, what, why and how? Keep in mind the "Old Memory" ain’t what it used to be! Reflection was a great morale booster for us all.

Oh, by the way, we were hosted by the Kingston Legion’s exceptional staff and membership throughout the four day gathering. It is a truly fine facility in every regard, with the most splendid Trophy (Quiet) Room I’ve witnessed of any Legion across Canada. Bravo Zulu to Kingston  Legion!

I must tell you, there was lots of food at every chow-down and "seconds" were encouraged, that is if you could manage your first helping.

Thursday’s Karaoke was a blast as Master MC George Knickle provided a Las Vegas like afternoon. He was ably backed-up by Bill Compagnon, "Deac" Hendrican (aka Elvis Presley).

The Thursday evening dinner of Sea Food Platter or Roast Beef was a culinary delight of the first order. A choice of white or red wine topped off the meal. Of special mention, was the leafy entree covered by a sweet tasting sauce, "bon-appetite." Dessert was delicious blueberry cheesecake (to die for). I must tell you that while many of the jocks appeared in normal T-shirt & shorts, their ladies were stunning in casual by designer apparel.

The hosting Legion President, Dave Geddes and the eldest legion member, Clyde Goulden, (WWII and 94 years old), were guests of honour, proudly representing their active and exciting Legion Branch #98.

Bright and early on Friday morning, sixty (60) confident yet realistic golfers hit the links all full of anticipation and sour wine. The donated prizes displayed were a treat for any golfer. So, when all the cards were turned in (and properly checked for error and intentional bad math) everyone was called forward to seek out a prize. A good time was had by all as the lies and exaggerations lingered well into Saturday morning.

While the golfers were doing their "stick swinging", twenty-five (25) thirsty hearts adventured out on a bus provided Winery Tour. And to our great surprise, all returned appearing "none-the-worse" for their experience. Some credit must go to Winery host Peter Luckett.

The Friday afternoon began with a Mussel Boil and the Karaoke was again punctuated by a variety of vocals and selections by MC George Knickle, Billy Compagnon, Deac Hendrican, Peter Ripley, Rick MacNaulty and Al MacPherson. A special duet by Glen Paul and Doug Carpenter (Legion Staff) wowed the gathering with an emotional rendition of "Seven Spanish Angels." They did Ray Charles and Willy Nelson proud! The finale in the form of a skit titled "Celebrities Under Hypnosis - featuring: The "Great Heraldo" - Gerry McGarry; two "attending ladies"; Betty Ripley and Val Ruston, Ray Shanks- Canadian Military Champion; Harry McIntyre ("International Fastball Umpire");" Sonny MacLean (Dog the Bounty Hunter); Deac Hendrican (Escape Prisoner) a mystery Sumo Wrestler and Gary Bettman, AKA Don Cherry also was in attendance promising to put an NHL team in Cuba.

As one would expect, the Friday evening closing Banquet of Lobster or Turkey capped off four days of dining the likes of which you’ll find no equal. Note: Imagine, six meals of mostly seafood (to die for) Christmas like Turkey with trimmings; Lobster dinner and complimentary table wine, all rolled into a Gourmet Delight. Bravo Zulu to the Planning Committee.

It was mentioned that hobbled and disabled PERI’s tend to return to their former glory whenever good dance music is played. Yes sir! All hands were on the dance floor, ‘movin’ and ‘a groovin’ in three-quarter (maybe half) time.

Saturday morning farewell breakfast found everyone in high spirits and greatly rejuvenated. All were sent off with a Hungry Man’s breakfast to satisfy even Paul Bunyan.

Again, hugs, kisses, backslaps and promises to meet again in Ontario (location to be determined) in 2015 for a National PE&R Reunion, brought a great reunion to a fitting close.

It bears mentioning yet again that Dwight Richardson, Gerry McGarry along with their able committee of Kathy Richardson, Nicole Peppard, Dave Ogilvie, George Knickle, Marsha England and Dean Peach did an "outstanding" job of organizing and conducting a "time to remember."

Epilogue: Those 35 or so fallen members would have been proud of our humble tribute of “Old Memories" to them.