12-14 OCTOBER 2007

I arrived at the hotel at 1:30 PM on Thursday, October 11th. During the course of the afternoon several BFEC'ers also checked in, Chuck and Jeannine Edmonson, Dave Huff, George Bishop, Barry and Louisette Scruggs, John and Betty Bennett, Cliff and Carmen Jobes, and several others. During the afternoon the bar was well attended by our group. In the evening we walked over to the Charter House restaurant, located across from the hotel on the St. Johns River, and enjoyed a good dinner while catching-up on the news since the last reunion. The river was beautiful with a profusion of lights twinkling on the water.

Friday morning, October 13th , I had a meeting with Lou Ann Griebel, the Meeting Services Manager. We toured the hotel facilities we would be using and discussed arrangements and time frames. The hotel made available a Hospitality Room for our use. Don Calp arrived with a car load of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. He and Ed Briggs proceeded to set-up a drink and snack bar in the Hospitality Room with the assistance of Jim O'Daniell. What a group! I set-up some posters containing photos of the old days, other photos, and photo albums of past reunions and my trip to Madagascar in 2006. There were also some "For Sale" items displayed there. The Hospitality Room soon became a very popular hang-out for everyone.

Friday evening, from 6 to 9 PM, was check-in and reception time. There were 127 registered for the event and almost everyone were present. We had a cash bar at the reception but the ole' BFEC'ers, being wily and devious, figured out it was cheaper to sneak back to the Hospitality Room and have a drink on Don Calp. The finger foods consisted of a cheese and fruit display, heavy on the cheese and light on the fruit. There was so much cheese I think there were many BFEC'ers constipated the whole weekend. It was wonderful seeing so many of our BFEC friends and associates again. After the reception most people drifted back to the Hospitality room to continue socializing or went to a restaurant for some real food.

Don W Hill arrived at the hotel in a bus around 8:45 AM, Saturday morning, to escort the people who wanted to tour the Marine Corps, Blount Island, facilities. BFEC won a contract with the Marine Corps at the facility a few years back and Honeywell is continuing it. Thanks to Don the tour was a great success.
(See Photo Below)

We had a group photo shoot scheduled at 4:30 PM Saturday afternoon. Clint Tuminella and Don Calp did the honors. Clint took a photo in the lobby of the hotel and then moved outside by the river for another shoot. When I get a copy I will make them available to anyone that wants one.

Saturday night was the big night with our banquet and dance. The doors opened at 6:30 PM and we began eating at 7:00. The dinner was served buffet style and the menu was exceptionally good with an abundance of food. An exception to the quantity, but not the quality, was the desert bar. There was a run on deserts but truthfully, those that came up short probably didn't need it anyway, including me. The coffee service was less than desirable, being slow to materialize, not enough coffee stations, and an inadequate supply of coffee at the ones that were there.

Around 8:30 Don Calp, the MC, kicked off the welcoming and entertainment activities. The reunion was dedicated to the memory of Less Graffis who died in July. Murray Weingarten and Joe Engle, former Presidents of BFEC, addressed the gathering. We were honored to have them speak and really enjoyed their trip down memory lane with us.

The group was privileged to have John Laverty perform his original songs, "Mad Air 51" and "510 Blues". Chuck Edmonson did his originals about a market in Saudi Arabia and "The BFEC'ers Song". I played my guitar in the background, not wanting to be left out of such a momentous event. We had a good time and hope everyone else did also.

Next on the program was the cash drawing. We sold enough tickets that we split the drawing between three different people with $90 plus dollars going to each winner. A prize for the first to register was won by Don Calp and a prize for the farthest away went to Cliff Jobes who came all the way from Quito, Ecuador.

After the cash drawing several door prizes were given out. Many thanks to Fred and Gerd MacInnis, Chuck and Jeannine Edmonson, John and Dorothy Gale, and Clive and Marjorie Pinsker for contributing money and items for the door prizes. Thanks again, if I left anyone out I apologize.

At the conclusion of the cash drawing and door prizes the real serious business of the evening got started, dancing. We were fortunately to have an excellent DJ that kept the dancers hopping with an occasional slow number throw in for people like me that have slowed down a bit. There were parties on each side of ours so we had a battle of the DJ's. I think our DJ won because some of the gals and guys from next door joined our high steppers for a few dances. A few of our group crashed another dance until they were asked for money. The ole' BFEC'ers just don't have the staying power they had in their younger years, the dance started breaking up around 11:30.

The Sunday morning brunch was scheduled from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. I thought there would be a lot of late arrivals due to the strenuous and late activities of the night before. Not so, I guess everyone was hungry because a lot of the group were there before the doors opened. The breakfast was good with the exception that they did not serve toast or rolls with the food and again the coffee service was below par. Some good breakfast rolls and butter with good coffee, expediently served, would have turned a so so breakfast into a very good breakfast.

The brunch closed out our weekend activities. The attendance was down a little from past reunions but what was lacking in attendance was made up in congeniality. Of all the past reunions this group seemed to really hit it off with each other and have a great time together. Joe Engle echoed our sentiments completely, "we must keep the BFEC flame burning".

My heartfelt thanks to all that contributed to making this a very good BFEC Reunion 2007. If all the chips fall into place, San Antonio, Texas will be the location of our BFEC Reunion 2009. Ed and Jean are scouting out the hotels as I write this.

Ira C. "Sam" Bass
BFEC Reunion 2007 Coordinator

CLICK HERE for the list of attendee's to Reunion 2007

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