Even though we don’t get a white Christmas here in Miami, we still celebrate the holidays – all of them – with friends, food, and fun. This year’s AACA South Florida Holiday Party was all of that, thanks to the efforts and creativity of Millie Garcia, who earned the honor of Most Valuable Member of 2018 in no small measure due to her enthusiasm and cheerful attitude in planning all the club events.
The party was at the Renaissance Ballroom with plenty of great food and room to mingle with friends who share the hobby, plus new members of the Board of Directors. In our traditional bit of business, we swore in the Board for another year including new members Rudy Rodriguez, Al Padilla, and Timothy Merriman, Jr. President Manny Garcia thanked all the board members for their efforts this year and looked forward to the events coming up, including Art Deco in January and the Coral Gables Show in March.
Then it was time to get down to the real business: the gift exchange, done in our new tradition of passing our presents along to the dulcet tones of Ken Kurtz as he read “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore. On every “and” the presents were passed, and we all had visions of sugar plums – or something – as the poem reached the end: “Happy Christmas to all AND to all a good night!”
By Philip Williams
Photos by Jean Hawa, Ron Mitro, Philip Williams Oren Wunderman
Our Holiday Party was held at the 94th Aero Squadron this year. Forty-six of our members filled the room with conversation and laughter while a slideshow of our many events rolled in the background. President Ron Mitro awarded our Member of the Year Trophy to Jean Hawa and turned over the gavel and steering wheel to incoming President Manny Garcia. Manny’s first act as president was to thank Philip Williams for his many contributions to the club and to thank the members for coming to the party and encouraging them to participate often in the club’s activities. Then we got down to the serious business of eating. Table by table members went to the buffet and came back with plates heaped with an array of delicious foods. After everyone had finished dessert the new board was sworn in. We than formed a circle of chairs, grabbed the presents we brought, and passed them around every time the word “and” was said in a theatrical reading by Ken Kurtz of A Visit from St. Nicholas. We had lots of laughs and good times.
Bob Mayer’s 1970 Buick Skylark custom
John Putz’s 1976 Chevrolet Corvette
Gary Shanock’s 1984 Chevrolet Chevette
Philip Williams’ 1988 Pontiac 6000 LE Safari
Paul Cotner’s 1991 Oldsmobile 98 Regency
Tim Merriman’s 1997 Rolls Royce Silver Spur
Maurice explains something to Cathy that apparently doesn’t interest George
Jean Hawa receives Most Valuable Member award from Ron Mitro
Changing of the gaurd.
Manny Garcia takes the gavel of office from Ron Mitro
Manny gets the steering wheel – the true symbol of power- from Ron
Philip being honored by Manny
Ted, Mike and Lenny
Luis, Maria, Millie, Manny and Richard
Gary, Ron and Judy
Al, Miriam, Maria, Jorge and David
Maurice, George, Ralph, Nancy and Carlton
Kim, John, Gary and Ron
Cheryl, Jay and Ken
The Board – L to R – Luis, Mike, Jean Manny, Cindy, Bob, Gary, Philip, Tomas, Millie, Ron
Ken – I did say theatrical
Happy New Year
The weather outside was not frightful so we did not need a fireplace to make everything delightful at the Holiday Party; all it took was friends, presents and a good meal to make it a great time. The room at La Isla in Kendall was festively decorated thanks to Jean Hawa and all the tables had sprigs of evergreen and ornaments. It was fun to see our old friends and meet new ones who were joining the club.
It was also time to recognize the club’s Most Valuable Member, and this year it was two: Manny and Millie Garcia who work so hard to provide for us at times of social and club events: the picnic, the Progressive Dinner, monthly meetings, and of course making all the arrangements for the Holiday Party. Congratulations to you both from all of us.
The Board of Directors did their official duty of being present and sworn in for another term, even those who still have a year to go. We welcomed our new board members as well.
Then we got down to the real business of the gift exchange, done to a turn by the reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” as read by Ken Kurtz. We hope everyone ended up with something fun, useful, or tasty. But that wasn’t the only gift: Ira and Susan Shapiro were the lucky winners of the drawing for a weekend at the Costa del Este resort, generously donated by Luis and Maria Quevedo.
Thanks again to Manny and Millie, and best wishes for a happy holiday season and a prosperous and safe New Year.
By Philip Williams
Photos by Bob Squier
Most Valuable Member Award
Manny and Millie Garcia receive their award from President Ron Mitro.
The Officers and Board – L to R – Mel, Ira, Jean, Mike, Manny, Cindy, Bob, Mille, Gary, Ron, Philip, Gary, Tomas, Luis
Yovanna, Ralph and Carolyn
Millie, Manny, Tomas, Yovanna
Illiana, Carlos and Miille
Jean, Ralph, Philip, Ken, Carolyn and Maurice
Starting to settle in.
Table claimed by Ron, Ken, and Gary
Kelly, Oscar, Carlton, Nancy Carlos, and Illiana,
Al, Joyce, Carolyn, Ralph, Jean, Maurice, Paul, and Saundra
Cindy, Susan, Ira, Timothy, Freda
Mike, George, Cathy, Gary, Ron, Ken, Gary, Mel
Tomas, Yovanna, Maria, Luis, Al, Miriam, Millie, and Manny
Philip, behind the camera-Bob, Ken, Annick, and Marcel
Two tasks – eating and passing gifts
Looking at what everyone ended up with.
Paul was very happy wlith his gift.
Ira, Susan recieve the Grand Prize from Manny and Ron
Ira, Susan, Manny, Ron with Luis and Maria
This year’s Holiday Party was like a visit to the old home. It was held at La Isla in Kendall, which long-time club members will remember as the former Tony Roma’s where we met every month for many years. Now the place has been renovated and redecorated and the room sparkled with friends and stacks of gifts. We all enjoyed a great meal and lots of stories of car shows past and those to come.
The Holiday Party is also time for a bit of club business: the Board of Directors for 2016 was sworn in, welcoming new members Cindy Endres and Millie Valiente. Past President Jean Hawa passed the symbols of office – the steering wheel and gavel – to incoming President Ron Mitro.
The club also honored our Most Valuable Member of 2015: Guy Lewis. He has been a staunch supporter of the club for many years, has opened his house for national and local club events, found and encouraged new sponsors of the club, and can always be counted on to share his collection of fine cars for shows.
We also had a first: the circular gift exchange. Everyone was told to bring a wrapped gift. We all sat in a circle, got a gift, and then as Ron Mitro read the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“’T’was the night before Christmas…”). Every time the word “and” appeared in the poem, the gifts were all passed to the right. Everyone got something!
Thank you to Manny Garcia and Millie Valiente for putting together such a great party. If you couldn’t make it, enjoy the pictures.
Photos by Bob Squier
Richard and Jean listening to Philip
Table decoration and door prize
Our new president, Ron Mitro, with the gavel and steering wheel of his office
Ron and Gary
Richard and Philp still going
Guy with Maurice and Philip
Julia, Phiiip Earl Cindy, Greg and James
Guy recieves the Most Valuable Member Award from Mel Mann
Guy and Mel pose for me
The Board (L-R) Gary Shanock, Ira Shapiro, Luis Quevedo, Mike Penn, Guy Lewis, Cindy Endres, Manny Garcia, Millie Valiente,Thomas Hernandez, Ron Mitro, Philip Williams, Jean Hawa, Mel Mann and Bob Squier
Yovanna, Tomas, Manny and Luis
Table decoration and door prize
Manny and Mel
Bob, Philip Ken and Ira
Greg, Cindy and James
Luis, Maria, Danny, Yovanna, Tomas Luis, Tommy and Melba
John listens to Guy and Mel
Harry Goebel, caretaker Anna Sotomayor (winner of grand prize drawing of three day-two night stay at the Ocean Reef Club) and Manny Garcia
Ron with gift giving instructions
Getting the insturctions
The gifts for the exchange
Our holidy cake