Thursday 19th May, the final preparation day for that long awaited 50th Annual North South Conference had arrived.
Sitting at my breakfast table I pondered over the list of jobs to do, scolding myself for not having some of them already done, checking my e-mail, reading the last of the reports for the AGM while taking phone calls and answering e-mails to Soroptimists who are hoping that we can still find place for them at the conference.
For so long we in SI Mullingar wondered who will come, how many will come, will enough come to make it a success – and now the worry is how can we accommodate everyone, are the registrations right as the numbers are getting higher and higher. Soroptimists words still ring in my ears “Sarah the Delegates List has to be finalised now, it has to go to print… we have 38 clubs represented”.
Valyrie rings me to say the signs are up with blue and yellow balloons to show soroptimist the right exists to take on the roundabouts, surely no one can get lost. Josephine rings to say we have another sponsor something else for the goody bags and Mary tells me the early golfers are checking into the hotel. We are on the count down, one more sleep to go!
Friday morning arrives, it is the long awaited day, the start of the weekend that brings alive all the hard work and planning for over a year. Everyone asks – President Sarah did you sleep – Yes I sure did but not enough hours in that night!.
The golfers took to the course at 10 a.m. with the golfing committee having everything so well in hand but no control over the weather – it could have been better, much better! The winners a very well kept secret until the presentation that night at the social dinner.
I take a trip to Bloomfield, all is relatively calm. While the golfers played away our many exhibitors were busy setting up their stalls and displays to tempt the visiting Soroptimists to spend some money with the local traders. Let’s hope the temptation worked!
I arrive back to Bloomfield (after the hairdressers where my phone never stopped ringing everyone looking for me) at 4 p.m. for the Pre AGM meeting. I pushed open the door to enter the foyer full of Soroptimists. Registration is a buzz, soroptimists are in a queue at the hotel check-in and there are smiling faces and laughter all around. I can hardly believe my eyes as I observe the blue jacket of International President Yvonne Simpson, all the way from New Zealand chatting to Federation President Margaret.
I glance to my left and see Immediate Past Federation President Jenny Vince, Past Federation Presidents Pat Black, Maureen Maguire, Joan Smith all in different groups chatting to many Past National and Regional Presidents and many long standing members.
I pass a smile to my Mullingar Soroptimists working so professionally checking names and handing out registration bags. There is always excitement in getting the registration bag… any surprises… oh yes – good lots of surprises including “Ask me why I am a Soroptimist Note Pad” with a specific North South Pen… a snickers bar, some healthy snacks! One hopes all are happy and that soroptimists give a thankful thought to President Sarah and Mullingar Soroptimists who organised these gifts and packed the very reusable Conference Bags.