St. Andrew's Society honors Robert Burns
Beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) was born 250 years ago, and Ian Greig, historian for the St. Andrew's Society of Tampa Bay, knew just how to celebrate. He proposed that the club replace the busts of Burns that disappeared from the four Tampa area libraries funded by Scottish-American steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie.
"I've been searching for them for five years,'' said Greig, explaining Carnegie's requirement that all 3,000 libraries he made possible display a bust of Burns and stock his complete works.
Members sent in donations, and board member Chris Richards commissioned a friend, sculptor Linda Ackley-Eaker, to cast the 18-inch life-sized bronze portrait bust. The former Channel District resident halved her usual fee in exchange for the rights to promote the bust to other Carnegie libraries.
Ackley-Eaker unveiled her work to 100-plus guests at the club's annual Burns Supper on Jan. 16 at the University Club.
"I see romance and passion in his face," gushed Laura Barber.
Over haggis, filet mignon Balmoral, shortbread and good scotch, members read Burns poems, and Dr. John Miller sang Aye Fond Kiss. All joined in to sing his most famous, Auld Lang Syne.
The bust was to be installed Wednesday at the John F. Germany Public Library, with the stipulation that the society may borrow it for 48 hours every year to take to the annual dinner.
The society plans to continue to raise money to replace the other three busts, said society president Steve Barber. Other Carnegie libraries are the West Tampa branch at 1718 N Howard Ave.; the Old Tampa Carnegie Free Library at 102 E Seventh Ave., now the city's Business and Community Services Department; and Mirror Lake branch in St. Petersburg.
Krewe of Venus coronation ball
"An Evening of Enchantment" was a fairy tale come true for King Venus XLIV Max Register and family. The Brooksville Chevrolet dealer, a charter member of the Krewe of Venus in 1965, was crowned Jan. 10 along with his granddaughter, Queen Venus XLIV Kristie Lynn Morrill, who represented Cinderella in the coronation ball's fairy tale theme this year. Granddaughter Monica Morrill was one of her maids, who portrayed the Princess who kissed the Frog Prince.
Other royal maids represented storybook characters Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Swan Princess; each was escorted by an ROTC midshipman from the University of South Florida.
Kristie, 23, sales and catering coordinator at Hilton Avion Park, is the third Queen Venus in the family. Her mother, Lynn Register Morrill, reigned in 1979, and her aunt, Debra Register Smith, did in 1976.
Two pairs of dukes and duchesses attend the 2009 court: John and Sam Sweger from The Princess and the Pea, and Richard and Susan Vickers from Rapunzel. The 41st King of Venus, Bill Calderazzo, emceed; his wife, Dianne, chaired the ball at the India Cultural Center.
Krewe of Sant' Yago coronation ball
The Krewe of the Knights of Sant' Yago saluted its multigeneration membership with the theme "The Future Is Our Past" at the 37th Coronation Ball. Indeed, the new king, El Rey XXXVII Bernardus Geradts, was nearly upstaged by his royal attendants: five of his eight adorable grandchildren. The Dutch executive is retired after 35 years in international business. Two fraternity brothers came all the way from the Hague for the festivities.
His queen, La Reina XXXVII Desiree Marie Rodriguez, is the daughter of Carol and ball chairman Bert Rodriguez.
Former barons Dan Haya Jr. and Joe Pando emceed, beginning the colorful ceremony with the retelling of the Latin club's history and a slide show of royal portraits. (Made me realize that this is the 23rd St. Yago coronation I've covered.)
Crests of the five founders flanked the stage, including El Rey XXV Joe Lopez, who had four grandchildren in the court, and El Rey XIV Daniel Martinez, whose grandson Drew was a squire.
Some 40 knights marched in wearing sequined velvet tunics and tights, and took their seats at banquet tables on the dance floor. Baron John Madiedo Jr. dubbed two new knights: Rolando Luis and Ruben Calles, then robed longtime member George Salazar and named him an honorary knight.
Abdication speeches by the 36th king and queen, Dr. Ignacio Armas and Courtney Parish, added humor. Parish must have made her mother's night when she noted how "my reign and your menopause corresponded."
A La Carte Pavilion served a "medieval" buffet dinner Saturday, and the Fabulous Rockers lived up to their name.