Early evening and the crowd started to filter in. Faces from the past appeared and long-enduring friendships shook hands, hugged and greeted each other. Music started and in the background the crack of melting ice cooled the liquid amber to a drinker’s taste. Dancing flames of a wood fire accompanied all and weaved a feeling of relaxation. Laughter and chatter floated around the friendship.
Soon, lines for food radiated out from the serving tables and plates filled to appease the appetite. The folk were eating, drinking and sprouting merriment. Having a good time was a requirement. Speeches were made and promotions presented.
This night was extra special as the Adelaide branches were celebrating twenty-five years as part of the body that is the academy.
To commemorate the occasion the academy presented a plaque to the South Australian branches.
One particular presentation of the night stood way above the rest. This was the awarding of life membership to Colin Essery. To receive this acclaim a person has to donate at least thirty years of continuous service to the academy and be of an exemplary character. Colin more than fits the mould for such an award.
Colin’s reaction when the award was announced was “oh sh*t”. He had been taken completely by surprise. This reaction was so Colin that all that were there just laughed.
Colin made a very emotional speech that tugged at the heartstrings and, looking around the room, many people shed tears as he spoke of some of the physical hardships he had endured in the past. It was not a sympathy speech but one that demonstrated that a person should never quit or just give up. Those that heard it will always remember it and hopefully they were inspired by it.
After all the seriousness the night got into party mode and it did not quit until the wee hours of Sunday morning.