Monday, July 28, 2008

SMIA Convention

SMIA CONVENTION UPDATE

Ladies, I am happy to report back from the first annual Saturday Morning in America convention. I must first say that the Philly girls went over and beyond our expectations. We were greated with a fantastic reception to get to know each other. Everyone recieved a goodie bag with our schedule, name tags, Betsy Ross flag, maps and tastey cakes. We also had a surprise guest of Lloyd, his wife and Morgan Oceana. You would have thought a rock star visited us! Morgan was just as adorable as could be and she enjoyed the little bikini the Philly girls bought her.

I believe 13 of the 16 chapters were represented. All of the ladies were quickly like old friends and much like everyone we've met in our meetings.

Bright and early Saturday we met at Mrs. K Coffee shop for breakfast. The Philly girls had made arrangements and this little diner was ready to take on our large group (about 40). We even got some of the "regulars" involved in our conversations.
After that Janet (from Philly) led us on a little tour of a beautiful restored neighborhood called Society Hill. Many of the houses are very old and the area was in great disrepair just a few years ago. The restorations are gorgeous and it was so nice to see the row houses, cobblestone streets and tree lined views with American Flags everywhere. We did pass a lot of Obama signs and we booed loudly at them. Our tour took us to the harvest market where the colonials did their shopping. Now it's an artist's market.

The Convention officially began at the Constitution Center, across from Independence Hall. The room was lovely with view of the mall. We started with the pledge, greetings, announcements and then we began our chapter reports, in alphabetical order. We got to go first and the little video I made (with the help of all of you who submitted photos) was a big hit! Each chapter had a unique presentation and everyone had wonderful ideas. Most of the chapters support a military charity and or a book project similar to ours. The chapters seem a lot like ours in the make up of members, numbers and discussions.
The Savoy group, a Gilbert and Sullivan opera company performed our national anthem.

Some of the great ideas to come out of the chapter reports include sending drill bits to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Maybe they'll get the message. Louisville supports Honor Flight, since one of their members is a nurse and heard from a patient how much the trip meant to him. They then decided to support that cause. The Dallas chapters meet at the airport and welcome home R&R flights. San Antonio supports Soldier's Angels and the wounded warriors foundation. There is a military rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio for wounded, burned and disabled soldiers. They take care of the men and make sure their physical and emotional needs are met. The slim Southern California Chapter also supports Soldier's Angels and an organization that makes welcome home kits for returning soldiers. I find it amazing that no one planned it or suggested it, but it's obvious all of our hearts are in the same place by those we choose to honor.

We didn't stay serious for long... we had an awesome sing-a-long of the song's the Philly girls wrote, and you've probably heard on the show. We also did a variety of patriotic songs and a spontaneous singing of "Your a Grand Old Flag". Our Audio Visual man probably thought we were a little nuts, but we didn't care. Then we had a lovely tribute to the troops. 3 of the Philly girls have sons serving in harm's way. They had the pictures you don't see on the news of soldiers holding hands with Iraqi children, handing out candy, giving medical attention to Iraqi locals, keeping the peace and such. These pictures made everyone so proud of these brave young men and women. We took time to remember those who didn't come home and then we sang "God Bless the USA" and then we were supposed to take a group photo. We were far to teary eyed for that, so we went on to sing "Dancing Queen" in honor of those going to see Mama Mia, and did a fantastic Congo line! Jenny from Philly recited the Ride of Paul Revere. She's a mom of five, but she's also a gifted performer and a talented singer. We were luckly to have such a presentation.

Constitution Hall has a multi media presentation. We went to that. It was nice, but some of us objected to the revisionist history. We then took our group photo in front of the flags then in signers hall, which has bronze statues of every signer of the Constitution arranged in a scene setting. It's quite something.

Some of us went on walking tours, some went on a riding tour, but we got a good taste of historic Philadelphia. Marian and I had an encounter with Benjamin Franklin just feet from where he's buried. He was in great character, but dropped character to agree with us on the direction of our country.

Saturday night we had a lovely dinner at City Tavern, a restored historic tavern where they've taken great care to maintain authentic colonial settings. We dined by candlelight, with costumed waitstaff and an authentic menu. Our great surprise was a visit from Thomas Pain, in character. We had a nice long visit with the author of Common Sense. I think he was thrilled to have a group of people who knew who he was and appreciated his contribution to our history. After that we took a light tour of the historic spots with projected pictures and an audio tour with sound effects and music. Quite special and entertaining.

Sunday some people went to church services, I went to Independence Hall and the Liberty bell. It was humbling to be in the very rooms where so many important decisions were made. The Liberty Bell is something to see because it's obvious from the foreign tourists, that it is a symbol that touches everyone who sees it. It means so much to those who don't have it.

Back at the Omni hotel we had our luncheon with Lloyd. He came out in an afro wig and '70s costume. We sang some more golden oldies with Lloyd and he shared a little about how he got into radio and TV. We presented Llyod with a signed group photo and some other gifts. We also sent back a birthday present for Bill. Since he likes things on a stick, we are sending a Betsy Ross heart flag on a stick. Everyone signed a their name to a placcard for the stick. I hope he likes it.

We crammed so much into so much time, I feel like I have only skimmed the surface. I was most impressed with each and every one of the ladies. We talked serious issues about the election, the war, drilling and the general turn to socialism we all see coming. It was a privlege to be in the company of such smart, creative, passionate, conservative women. Those proud to sing God Bless America, recite the pledge and openly pray for our country.

We all agreed we want to do this again, probably on a bi-annual schedule. Jenny from Philly suggested forming a Board of Directors, We talked about a cookbook to raise money for a military charity and many other things. We have much more to discuss for sure.

At our next meeting I'll have pictures!
See you in a couple of weeks. -Eve
PS- then all of our flights were delayed forever and I got in very late, as did Marian and most of the girls. Please forgive an spelling or grammar errors. I wanted to get this up tonight, but my mind is not fresh by any means.

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