I've written about Rainbow Omega many times in the past, but, in case you are new or need a refresher, Rainbow Omega is an organization that provides assisted living to the mentally challenged. It is a wonderful organization and a very worthy cause. Jackie's cousin, the beloved Little Mickey, lives at Rainbow Omega which makes it all the more special to my family and hers as Little Mickey holds a special place in all of our hearts.
This year the dinner was once again at the Davidson Center at the US Space and Rocket Center and the speaker this year was Bobby Bowden. Jackie's dad bought a table and along with Jackie and her dad were her mom and step-dad, our friends Christa and Jason and my dad and me. I met my dad there at about 6:45 - the dinner started at 7:00 - and was surprised to find him waiting on me when I got there since he is usually always running behind schedule. We went in and spoke to the folks we knew and soon after, the opening prayer was said and we began eating. The dinner was salad, chicken with a creamy sauce that had mushrooms in it and small potatoes - both yellow and purple; and, it was all delicious! Dessert was raspberry cheesecake which was also quite good.
After dinner, Coach Bowden got up to speak to us and my dad and I were both looking forward to hearing him speak. We were both, however, quite disappointed. I guess I was expecting some great motivational speech that would make me want to jump up and try to conquer the world, but that couldn't have been further from what we actually heard. Coach Bowden's speech was a rambling of a bunch of different stories, some of which made no sense and some which took a good 15 minutes to make sense. He had a couple of good points, but other than that, I was not impressed. In fact, the longer he spoke the more I had to resist the urge to look at my watch. Then, instead of signing autographs, and mingling with folks after the dinner, he bolted out of there as fast as he could, another move which I found to be kind of strange. I realize the man is on a schedule, but would it really hurt him to stick around for a few minutes?
After Coach Bowden's speech, Stentson Carpenter, the founder, got on stage and gave his appeal for donations. I don't know what it was about Mr. Carpenter's speech this year but for some reason it touched my heart more than usual and when he asked people to double their donations, that's exactly what I did. The crowd was much slimmer this year than it has been in years' past which is a sure sign of just how bad the economy has gotten here in the North Alabama area. Last year, for example almost half the room was filled with tables and this year there was maybe one fourth of the room full if that. Still, they were able to raise what I hope to be a large chunk of money for this great cause. This is one of my favorite nights of the year and hope the organizers are able to continue to hold this event. Mr. Carpenter alluded to the fact that he hopes the dinner will be possible to have in the future which is another indication that support was way down. So, here's to hoping the dinners will continue for many years to come so that funds can be raised for this great cause. For more information about Rainbow Omega, click here.
Me and Little Mickey - it's a little blurry, but still a good photo