We got there early. So we headed to the kitchen. Mama La Malfa was cooking away. Lots of rice, appetizers, chicken, beef, salad….Kitchen was crowded with her close friends and family, including Doug or Senator Doug as we call him.
We chatted away. As it got closer to the time for the guests to arrive, we headed to the barn which had been transformed into a veritable first class ballroom – or harvest diningroom.
We helped put up the silent auction items and tasted the food. As people came in, some did a double take, and asked, Are you really Chuck Yeager? They couldn’t believe they were meeting this almost mythic figure.
A couple of speeches – by Senator La Malfa, and another by Jim Nielsen – good speaker, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem beautifully sung, an invocation, and we were sent to the buffet line.
The rice from the La Malfa farm was excellent. I’m not a big rice eater – but I did have seconds.
After everyone was seated and eating, Senator Doug got up and spoke a little. Very down home and untainted by politics. He introduced his hero, General Chuck Yeager.
Gen Yeager got up, gave a little of his history especially as related to the area. It was in Oroville that he met his first wife, Glennis. He was stationed at the army base there, went over to the USO office and asked the pretty young woman to set up a dance for his fellow airmen. She said incredulously, You want me to find 30 girls for a dance tonight with your buddies.
No, said CY. Only 29, because I’m taking you. He knew a good thing when he saw it.
For more re his early courting days with Glennis, read Yeager or go to www.chuckyeager.com
As he talked a little bit more about his history, he then brought everyone current:
I was just flying an F-16 a couple weeks ago. And you won’t believe it – I don’t believe it myself – I’m 88 years old!
I had gone to the back where the buffet table was for my seconds on the rice. I gave him a few thumbs up – which apparently did not go unnoticed by one of our good friends.
When General Yeager thanked Senator Doug for inviting us and thanked the crowd, they gave him a standing ovation. Outstanding.
I went out to where the dessert was and grabbed a couple cupcakes – cannoli cupcake and coconut cupcake. Delicious. I had jumped the gun but it was getting close to closing time and I sure didn’t want to miss out on dessert!
We chatted a little more with more kind people who wanted to get a photo with they’re hero and eventually headed out the door and drove on home.
Nice night. Actually met some good elected representatives.