Up & Coming Weekly

January 19, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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8 UCW JANUARY 20-26, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM My Kiwanis adventure by MARGARET DICKSON Somewhere in the mists of time of the late 1990s, two friends, both Southern gentlemen and long-time Kiwanians, asked me to be the second woman to join the storied Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville. Not the first woman, mind you, but the second, because, as they told me right up front, "it's gonna be hard." e situation, it seemed, was that Kiwanis International, the club's parent and chartering organization, was more interested in a diverse membership than the local club was. Ultimatum: e Fayetteville club could continue as an all-male club, but not under the auspices of Kiwanis In- ternational. ankfully, logic and common sense prevailed. Local Kiwanians made one of their century's best decisions and stayed with Kiwanis International. Diversity got underway, and while there were several resignations over the change, it did not take long for members to realize they made right decision. I was honored to join, in part because my pa- ternal grandfather, Dr. Seavy Highsmith, who died before I was born, was a charter member in 1920 and president of the club in 1935. Another part of me thought "it's gonna be hard" had an element of challenge to it. It mattered as well that members of the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville have traditionally been the movers and shakers of our community's civic, business, professional, educational and cul- tural life and that they were a bunch of fun guys. e club traditionally meets on Friday after- noons for lunch at the Kiwanis Recreation Center at Honeycutt, and woe to anyone who is late. at is because the only thing left to eat might be a piece of cornbread and ice tea. It is almost always a hungry crowd, depending on the menu, of course. Lunch is followed by club announcements and then a program on a person or topic relative to the club mission or to our community. Some are memorable for being excellent, and an award is given annually to the member who secured the best program of the year. Other programs, not so much. A frequent target of ridicule is a program from so long ago very few members actually recall it, but it had to do with the Lone Ranger and was apparently terrible. Nodding off has been ob- served during some programs, and snores have been detected from time to time as well. Many of the programs are sports related, and when it was my turn to secure programs I threatened a runway show of women's office fashion. at never hap- pened, but if it had, I am confident there would have been lunch leftovers. Occasionally, when members get a bit riled, biscuits have been known to take flight. By the time I joined, the first woman member had left town, so I was on my own, and boy did my fellow Kiwanians give me a fit! "Laws and Regula- tions," loosely defined as a quarterly roast of vari- ous Kiwanians instead of an actual program, rarely failed to skewer me. I was lucky. It was almost always in good humor and with a light, affection- ate touch. Two of the most notable "L and R" writ- ers and emcees have been Danny Highsmith and John Holmes, who is especially fetching wearing a turban as Karnak the Magnificent, a la Johnny Car- son. Both are generally hilarious. I remember well Karnak's dinging a Kiwanian known to enjoy the company of younger women as the only member who had to tell his dates to do their homework. No member misses a "Laws and Regulations" Friday if he or she can possibly help it, mostly out of self-defense. My fellow Kiwanians eventually warmed up to me, and I proudly became the first woman to serve on the club's board of directors. In the months and years that followed, other women joined as well, among them Eva Hansen who became the club's first woman president in 2014 and who was recently installed on the 2020-2021 board of direc- tors of the Waynesville Kiwanis Club. Other wom- en members include former state Representative Diane Parfitt, Donna McCollum, who climbed Mt. Everest twice, Caroline Whitley, Cynthia Wilson and Debbie Cooper. From the business world came Barbara Briggs and Kristie Meave Allen, and from higher education Deb Friedman and Lavetta Henderson, pioneers all. Today, women from all segments of our community are working hard to fulfill the Kiwanis mission of "building a better world one child at a time." ree of them currently serve on the fifteen-member board. e Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville has been en- riching our community for a century now, both as an organization and as individual members. e club and its members deserve thanks and con- gratulations on this fantastic milestone. It is also a group that has had great fun along the way, and I am thankful for having been a part of the club and its work. Congratulations on 100 years! Kiwanis 910-433-4433 115 E. Russell St. Fayetteville, NC 28301 Happy 100 th Birthday FAYETTEVILLE KIWANIS CLUB Diane Parfitt City Center Gallery & Books Thank you for all you do for the children of our community! MARGARET DICKSON, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. (910) 484-6200. KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL Charter member Dr. Seavy Highsmith. John Holmes (left) performs as Karnak the Magnificent with then-President Frank Till (right).

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