As they say, 'It's all in the numbers'

At this time, we welcome those readers who like to read this column from the beginning. We welcome also, and apologize to, those readers who read this column from the beginning but do not necessarily understand it until the end.

I'm with you on that.

Now that this column appears on the Internet at www.southwhidbeyrecord.com under the Opinions link, there is some concern as to whether our local focus will translate across the water.

Shall we give it a go anyway?

Last Saturday's Soroptimist Auction, "Puttin' On The Ritz," was the glorious and gala affair that these dynamic ladies had envisioned.

What a night! An extended applause please to bidder numbers 105, 106, 108, 110, 113, 115, 116, 119, 120 (both of you), 126, 127, 129, 134, 136, 140 (what a cutie), 141 (sorry you didn't get the club membership), 144 (one of whom was undercover homeland security for our auctioneer John Curley, Emmy Award-winning host of KING 5 Evening Magazine), my wonderful neighbors' 149, the incredible and talented 150, 151 (The Beauty and the Beast), 152 (looking elegant in civilian clothes), the always bubbly 156, 161 (wait 'til your husband gets back to see what you did), Dr. 163, 166, Dr. and Mrs. 175 (unbelievable donations!) and the lovely 176 who wisely had her purse locked and her bidder number shredded early in the evening.

It is no surprise that auctioneer John Curley excelled with this group of well-dressed funsters. Not only is John a street-smart Pennsylvania boy, he used to sell beer in Veterans Stadium

in Philly.

Curley was amazing. He sat down with bidder numbers 113 and 161 for almost 40 minutes reviewing the list of Useless Bay Country Club attendees. This man did his homework.

And John is certainly no stranger to Whidbey Island, proving once again to me that we are all connected, even if we think

we live on an island.

In 1971, when I was released 89 days early to begin law school at California Western School of Law in San Diego, most all of my fellow students were male and veterans in their mid to late twenties.

One of the first-year gentlemen who really stuck out was Brad Phillips, an older, quite intelligent and sophisticated man who always seemed to be hangin' with the Dean, almost as if he were part of the faculty. Brad always seemed to know the answers to the questions raised by the professors. He was particularly strong in his knowledge of real property and constitutional law. Not only could Brad spell "escrow" and "perpetuity," he knew what they meant.

It was not until I moved to Whidbey Island a decade later that I would learn that my classmate Brad Phillips was a major customer and friend of Freeland boat builder Matt Nichols. The connection continues.

Years ago, Brad designed and Matt's crew built the Klondike Express, one of several of Brad's catamarans, but this one, with a top speed of 57 miles per hour, was faster than any of the Coast Guard vessels on the West Coast. Carrying 346 passengers comfortably, the Klondike Express escorted over 38,000 passengers in 2003 on Brad's "26 Glacier Cruise."

What does John Curley have to do with all this? The Whidbey Connection, remember?

In the summer of 2001, Brad Phillips, Matt Nichols and 120 water-skiers attempted to set a world record skiing behind Brad's vessel on Lake Washington. John Curley got wind of this effort and broadcast the event on his KING 5 Evening Magazine.

As it turned out, Brad's vessel had plenty of punch with those big water jets to pull all the skiers, but the 7-foot shallow water of Lake Washington facilitated the unanticipated sucking of large amounts of mud into those massive jets. You get the picture.

Fast forward to last Saturday night and we see John Curley helping raise over $61,000 for Friends of Friends Medical Fund, Good Cheer Food Bank and the South Whidbey Soroptimists. At the same time, my law school classmate Brad Phillips was celebrating his 80th birthday cruising around Lake Washington with friends and family.

Thanks to Brad, Matt and John for boosting our local economy over the years.

Hope to see you today in front of the Smilin' Dog Café as Bayview Farm & Garden Feed Store join with Marty Fernandez and Peggy Moe of Smilin' Dog for their first annual Mutt Strut dog parade and costume contest. Registration begins at 1 p.m. The parade begins at 2 p.m.

Prizes and treats will be awarded for best dog costume, best owner and dog costume, best doggie smile and best trick.

The Apple Day Celebration begins with apple cider pressing and tasting at 9:30 a.m. Call Bayview Farm and Garden at 321-6789 for reservations. Admission to Apple Day is free and includes the Halloween Candy Scramble at 1 p.m. for kids aged 2-10, live music, apple wood smoked salmon at the Fishmonger, Oktoberfest menu at the Smilin' Dog and a great children's barbecue menu at the Star Store.

Have a great weekend!

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