2015-10-21, Denise Chavez, Dia de Muertos

President Alex called the meeting to order at 12:11 pm.  Bill Wheeler gave the invocation.  President Alex then led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Blaine, Elmer Fudd, and Jodie accompanied by Patty on the piano led us in singing “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” theme song for the television series Beverly Hillbillies.  The Sergeant at Arms declared Patty the mystery greeter.  President Alex led in the introduction of guests.  Blaine informed us that Paul Comeau was having hip problems and was unable to attend today.  He asked that we remember Paul in our thoughts and prayers.  

Happy $$$:  Jim Scott was happy for his wife’s 85th birthday with $8.50; Don Dresp: mighty happy for John Hernandez, his hero; Jim Maxon; happy for John also; Jodie: this week’s Don’t Meth Program had 300 students participating; Patty: happy that she helped Jodi with the Las Cruces Cleanup Day of Service.  She and Jodie had a contest to see who would find the “Best Stuff,” Patty found a set of keys, but Jodie found a pair of Pink Lacey Panties – we know who won that contest!!  Bill Harty: happy that he starts a new job at NMSU on November 1st: Director of Central Purchasing; Richelle: happy $5, she and Katelin attended the outdoor Jimmy Buffett concert in Albuquerque.  It rained before and after, but NOT during the concert; Fran: a happy $20 for the $20 raffle ticket she bought that won her a Lincoln MKZ!


President Alex announced a short Board of Directors Meeting immediately after our meeting.  He also announced the Rotary promotion at the downtown market from 8am-12pm on Saturday.  Patty announced changes in the weekly drawing to make it more interesting and to increase participation.

The Program

Sherry introduced our program speaker, Denise Chávez, award winning author, playwright, stage director and poet.  She is a native Las Crucen.  Denise graduated from Madonna High School in Mesilla. She received her Bachelor's from New Mexico State University and master's degree in Theatre from Trinity University.  She began writing dramatic works while still in college. Later she was admitted to the MFA program at the University of New Mexico and earned a degree in Creative Writing.  She is the Director/Bookseller at Casa Camino Real, a bookstore and gallery on Tornillo Street in Las Cruces.  Tornillo Street is on the historic Camino Real.  She states in her biographical sketch that she “believes in the power of writing to heal lives and heal the many borders between people, real and imagined.”

She started her program, “Dia de Muertos,” by showing us how to use the microphone like a “rock star!”  Next to the podium, she had set up an altar to honor her sister who passed away three years ago.  Dia de Muertos is not really a holiday, rather it is a tradition and a celebration to honor and remember those who have “gone to the stars before us; a beautiful remembrance of those who have passed.”  She told the story of how, when she was still a teenager, she was hired by the founder of La Posta, Katy Griggs.  She started as a greeter and then became a waiter.  She has written about some of the interesting experiences while working at La Posta.  She noted that La Posta has a Dia de Muerta altar honoring Katy near the east facing entrance.  She read us a piece written to honor her grandmother, Guadalupe Chávez.  Her grandmother lived to be “99.9” years and for about the last thirty years of her life, including her last days, when asked how she was doing, she would always say: “I’m better.”  She told of her grandmother examining the seams of visitors’ dresses to see if they doing well enough to afford “store bought clothes.”  She also read us a moving poem she had written to honor “all of the ancestors” – a “thank you” to those who have gone before.

After the Program

President Alex reminded us that there will be a short meeting of Board of Directors immediately after the meeting.  Executive Secretary, Patty Groth, announced that we had collected $82 in the can to support the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” cancer research campaign.  Mary Ellen won the drawing.  President Alex led us in the 4-Way Test.

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians



Ann Gibbs

John Hernandez

Gonzalo Soto

John Hernandez

Rita Schonhoff

Mary Ellen McKay

Jackie Tobin

Mary Ellen McKay

Visiting Rotarians


Home Club



Student Guests



Diana Guerrero

Las Cruces

Katharine Pryor


Savannah Bush









Submitted by Jay JordanJay Jordan