Good spirits reign at Parkrose business group

From “saluting the tie” to humorous tales spun by a political insider, to a gourmet wine and food fundraiser, see how the jovial Parkrose Business Association seriously helps its community‚

There wasn’t an American flag in the room‚ so, resourceful and fun-loving members of the Parkrose Business Association pledged allegiance to our nation’s colors by saluting the red, white and blue necktie worn by association president Mark Eves.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
When one thinks of a business association meeting – images of a stodgy bunch of flint-hearted tycoons come to mind. But, if you need a mid-month lift, consider visiting the Parkrose Business Association (PBA).

Although the attitude at their luncheon meetings is light, jovial, and packed with good humor – the Parkrose business folks provide considerable and significant help to their community. They work to beautify the streets, lower crime, and provide multiple yearly scholarships for graduating Parkrose High seniors.

Salute the…ah…tie
To start off the March meeting, association president Mark Eves was about to lead the group in the “Pledge of Allegiance”‚ only to discover the American flag was missing from the room. Without missing a beat, Eves held his red, white and blue necktie aloft‚ and members saluted our country’s colors metaphorically.

Immediate past president Wayne Stoll then told how the association’s members were working to improve the “traffic triangle” where NE Sandy Blvd and NE Portland Boulevard split.

Kerry Tymchuk warms up the Parkrose Business Association audience.

Talks about humor in politics
The group’s featured speaker was Kerry Tymchuk, the Oregon Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Gordon Smith.

Tymchuk, an Oregon native, has been the State office director for Smith for 10 years. In addition to working for Washington D.C. movers-and-shakers, he also helped Gert Boyle write her book “One Tough Mother”‚ and, was a four-time “Jeopardy” game show champion.

His topic is also the title of a book he authored:  “Great Presidential Wit”.

“I watched auctions for historical memorabilia play out on e-Bay,” quipped Tymchuk. “I found it curious that original photographs of three American Presidents sold much less than ones of The Three Stooges.”

America’s funniest presidents
Tymchuk listed those he believes are the funniest U.S. Presidents. “By the way, I don’t think it is a coincidence that, when historians list the presidents considered being the most successful, they are also the funniest.”

Tymchuk relates stories depicting the humor of US Presidents.

Here are Tymchuk’s “Top 3” humorous presidents:

Number 3: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tymchuck told how, during a difficult time in our nation’s history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt displayed his lighter side, including conducting a daily cocktail party he dubbed “The Children’s Hour”. We learned this president enjoyed writing topical limericks and poems, and Tymchuck offered one, written about the man in charge of WWII wartime rationing, Harold Eckies:

“There was a lady of Ashion,
Who had a particular passion,
As she jumped in to bed,
She was heard to have said,
This is one thing that Eckies can’t ration!”

Number 2: Ronald Reagan
“Reagan had a joke for every holiday,” Tymchuk continued. On St. Patrick’s Day, he often recounted, “A man walks into an Irish bar. He boasts, ‘Show me an Irishman and I’ll show you a wimp’. Well, a strapping 200-pound workman walks up to him‚ and the challenger quickly adds, ‘Take a look! I’m a wimp!'”

Tymchuk said President Reagan also loved jokes told to him by Russian people during his visits, and often repeated this story: “In Russia, long lines are part of the culture. Citizens must line up to buy food and clothing, or get almost any kind of service. One man, disgusted if waiting in a long line stormed off, shouting, ‘I’ve had it. I can’t take waiting in line any longer. I’m going to kill Gorbachev.’ Within the hour, the man returned with a sheepish look on his face. When asked what happened, he replied, ‘The line to kill our beloved premiere was much longer than the bread line.'”

Number 1: Abraham Lincoln
“Lincoln was not only our most humorous president, but one of the funniest men in our nation’s history,” revealed Tymchuk. “During the dark days of Civil War, Lincoln relied on humor to get him through.”

Being a self-made man, Lincoln didn’t like pompous self-important people, explained Tymchuk. To wit: In one of his famous political debates with Stephen A. Douglas, a prominent attorney, Douglas pointed out that Lincoln sold booze. Lincoln was said to reply, “It is true, good sir. I occasionally worked as a store clerk and bartender. I sold cotton, cigars, and candles. Sometimes I sold whiskey. Mr. Douglas was one of my best customers. I was on my side of the counter; he was on his. The difference is this: I left my side of the counter. But I’m told that Mr. Douglas is still a good, regular customer.”

The political insider tells a story about his boss, Gordon Smith.

Humor of Sen. Gordon Smith
Tymchuk couldn’t get away from the meeting without telling a story about his current boss, US Senator Gordon Smith.

“In 1996, Smith was named to the European Affairs Subcommittee. President Bill Clinton invited Smith to fly back to the states after an overseas meeting. Making conversation, Clinton asked Smith where he was living while serving in the nation’s capitol. Smith stated he was staying with his mother; his wife would move east and join him after their new east-coast home was completed.

“Clinton remarked that he and Hillary had never built a home together and mused, ‘I think it would be fun to plan and build a home together.’

“Smith responded, ‘Mr. President, I’ve been married to the same wonderful woman for the last 20 years. Together, we’ve built 3 homes. I can’t think of anything that causes more stress in a marriage.’

“Clinton smiled, sat back and replied, ‘Well, I certainly can think of a few things.‘”

The Sip of Parkrose
To help raise funds for its scholarship program, the association’s Foundation created a new event, “The Sip of Parkrose”, which takes place on May 5.

“This is a deluxe all-inclusive evening of gourmet food and wine,” explained the event’s Chair, Gail Bash. “Wine expert Dr. Thomas Taylor III‚ a man with 20 years experience pairing fine wines with gourmet food‚ will demonstrate the art of enjoying fine wine‚ from glassware, to wine selection, to savoring the aroma and taste, to storing wines.”

The four-course dinner will be cooked to perfection by internationally-recognized chef Edgar Stocker. The entrees feature Grilled Wild Salmon, Cajun Style, or Sauted Medallions of Pork Tenderloin. Wine will be paired with each course.

“You get the entire evening of fine wine, gourmet food, and learning about wines, all for just $75 per person,” Bash exclaimed. “And, the proceeds go to help fund scholarships for Parkrose High School seniors through the non-profit Parkrose Business Foundation!”

This new event on May 5 starts at 7:00 p.m. at Steamers Restaurant and Lounge, 8303 NE Sandy Blvd. Order your tickets today by calling Call Gale Bash at (503) 740-6984.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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