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Orchid Dinner, a quick report

To the myriad of Orchidians that were too far away from the Orchid
Dinner at Tucson, let me share a bit of it with you.

First the incredible popularity of Orchid and its wonderful members
are the catalyst for this gathering. Hanuman, Dr. Ed Aspler with the
assistance of Charles Lewton-Brain have made possible the communion
of many into a Horn of Plenty. Dave Arens took the Hospitality reins
and made it possible to share time and a meal with one another.

Tucson can only be described as an orgy of gems, in every form, for
every pocket book. Piles of rough from every exotic rough, through to
highly processed gemstones in exquisite settings.

Some shows are exclusively for the high end retailers, and persons
without the proper credentials are not allowed in at all. Others are
also classified as “wholesale” but anyone with a resale license can
get credentials to enter.

There are many hotels and motels hosting sellers, some with
ballrooms, some with tents on grassy areas as well as parking lots.
Several attract primarily one type of venue such as Minerals and/or
Fossils, others are a meld of everything. There is also a strong
influence of Crystals for both specimens and health.

Along I-10 on the frontage road between hotels, there is a vast sea
of tents and booths with an eclectic mix of offerings from round the
world. Carvings, Brass, Fabrics, Clothes, Drums, Metals Beads and
similar. This area is unique and it would be rare to leave without a

There are tools to bog the mind, and then some. Cathedral Amethyst
Geodes over six feet tall, by the large quantity. Then there are the
languages and the dress. Many persons are from cultures that still
use National Dress, Flowing Robes and Tall Turbans are many. It was
very interesting to watch a front desk clerk try to assist a
non-English speaking guest, quite tactfully done. There is color
everywhere, from gemstones to dress to language, a veritable Rainbow.

Now to the Orchid Dinner, last year we were 46, this year we were
over 70. Once again there were squeals of delight when introductions
went around the room. Many persons sought one another out, and as is
typical of Orchid, great was shared. Where to find great
Druzy, stones and tools. The praise and pleasure flowed like water.
Ahmed Shareek with his generous offer prepared 50 Orchid badges, he
ran out, as he had left Sri Lanka before Dave Arens got the latest
count to him.

Judy Willingham was wearing a great Tee Shirt with the logo on the
front as well as a lovely pendant she had made for herself with an
enameled logo.

I happily found a group of fellow San Diego Countyites to enjoy.
Collected hugs from quite a few including Karen Christians and Susan
Ronans. Got an autographed photo of Charles Lewton-Brain, actually I
asked for it, and Strawberry Ceylon Tea from Ahmed.

Now a bit of serious stuff. Charles made an impassioned plea to
giving Hanuman a break. He mentioned the many hours he dedicates each
day before leaving for work to get this wonderful forum out for us.
There are now 2,500 subscribers that receive these messages. There are
some several hundred messages sent daily that are moderated and then
posted. This is a monumental task. As many of us know there is an
attempt ongoing to make this less of a financial strain on Hanuman.
Hard for me to believe but there were some negative posts sent about
this, talk about biting the hand that feeds us.

Charles calculated that if each of us were to send $25.00 to Hanuman,
that would enable him to work on the list for about a year and get it
up to the standards he and Charles plan for it. As an aside, Charles
suggested $30.00 per person to make up @ $5.00 per for the ones who
will not send any at all. I personally feel I have received many times
the value of this amount in assistance and friendship over the years I
have loved and enjoyed Orchid. A very generous pledge of $1,000. was
made at the dinner. My check will be in this weeks mail.