From the Governor’s Desk:

June 15, 2012

I walked a tiger!  A real, live, 450 pound , fully grown adult, male, Tiger! . . . on a leash!  With my hand on his back! Yes, he had all of his teeth!. . and as we walked the thought came into my mind that indeed this could be the very last thing I ever do on the face of this earth!

And at that moment I thought, “at least it can never be said that I led a humdrum life!”

The very next thought was, “This tiger smells . . . and now I’m going to smell just like him.” . . .and the only reason it mattered was that I was in Bangkok, Thailand and just a few days away from representing all of you on stage as RI President Kalyan presented the top 15 districts in our Rotary world!

Well, showers in Thailand work very well, and by the time the stage day came, I no longer smelled like a tiger! . . . but as I exited the stage I realized that in many ways, I have been walking a tiger all this Rotary year!.  . .




You see, walking a tiger requires you to be certain that you do not overtake the tiger – that you stay behind his shoulders keeping your hand on his back while holding the leash, without lagging behind. It requires your full concentration as you try to anticipate what the tiger will do next; and then you need to quickly respond to the situation so that you do not become a tiger-toy – as tigers seem to have a sense of humor and enjoy playing with anything nearby that looks like it could be fun.  The problem is that the tiger is 450 plus pounds, with five extremely sharp claws in each paw and 30 razor sharp teeth in his mouth – so minding the rules while walking the tiger is crucial to success.  For me, keeping up with my tiger was the challenge . . and my tiger seemed to have an inner sense that I needed to slow down just a bit, so he decided to stop and take a good long look at a tree he had probably seen every day of his tiger life!  Until the day I die, I will be certain that his instincts told him that I was a tiger-walker, but a slow one!

It is my opinion that this is what the entire Rotary year has been about – trying to keep up with all of you as you did the work of Rotary in our great district!  Sometimes you moved so quickly that I wondered if I would be able to keep up - -but it was always all of you in the lead, out front determining the pace and the work to be accomplished.  Sometimes we had to act quickly – so that the “claws and teeth” of needs in our world did not overcome the good we wanted to accomplish!  But like the tiger, your clubs move fast when hunting down the needs to be met in order to make our world a better place – and together you have all worked to help take down some of problems in our world, problems that require the strength of Rotary to overcome. 

Much like the tiger, our Rotary clubs are extremely powerful – and Al and I have been privileged to see how each active club in our district has used the power of Rotary to work to help meet the problems of our communities both at home and afar. And like the tiger with its flexible backbone, we have enjoyed seeing the various ways you all have “reached within to embrace humanity” by staying flexible and  ready to respond to the needs at hand.

Of all the qualities of a tiger, though, I am most struck by the eyesight– the tiger sees as well as a human during the day, but at night the tiger sees 6 times what we can see.  You all know I believe that Rotarians do not see the world the way the rest of humanity does – I believe we see it 6 times better – like the tiger does at night!  We see the world the way it ought to be, the way it can be and will be because we use our tiger-like clubs to move, to observe, to respond and react as we work together to make the world a better place.

And as I write this final newsletter article of the 2011-12 Rotary year, one thought comes to my mind –

“No one can say Rotarians of District 5840 led a humdrum life this Rotary year!!”