Life­time of sto­ries

Women’s aux­il­iary re­calls spe­cial sto­ries dur­ing likely fi­nal meet­ing at le­gion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY MITCH MAC­DON­ALD news­room@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/PEIGuardian

Adapt­ing to dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions and over­com­ing chal­lenges has never been a prob­lem for mem­bers of the Char­lot­te­town Le­gion's Ladies' Aux­il­iary.

Mary Kick­ham, a nine-year mem­ber who has served as sec­re­tary and trea­surer for the group, re­called one mem­o­rable story that hap­pened while serv­ing a wed­ding ban­quet sev­eral years ago.

While serv­ing more than 150 peo­ple at the Char­lot­te­town Le­gion was not un­usual for the group, but it soon be­came a lit­tle more com­pli­cated when the power went off in the mid­dle of the meal be­ing cooked.

"We had no lights, we had a propane stove so we could cook but we didn't have any light," said Kick­ham.

How­ever, the black­out wasn't enough to stop the ladies.

"We used the street lights and we put out can­dles all around for peo­ple to see. What was hi­lar­i­ous was that we had no wa­ter so we couldn't wash the dishes af­ter," said Kick­ham.

"That was prob­a­bly the most hor­rific of all the ex­pe­ri­ences I've been a part of… but we pulled it to­gether and the show went on. The peo­ple at the wed­ding en­joyed it so it was just mag­nif­i­cent."

The story is one of many that aux­il­iary mem­bers re­called fondly dur­ing their an­nual tea at the le­gion and char­ac­ter­ized the group's de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue their work sup­port­ing vet­er­ans and the com­mu­nity.

The build­ing has been home to the aux­il­iary for years, with the pic­tures of for­mer mem­bers and past pres­i­dents dec­o­rat­ing the halls.

Pres­i­dent An­nie Bar­ratt said she be­lieves the de­ter­mi­na­tion of the aux­il­iary mem­bers means the group will go on even af­ter the build­ing is sold.

"It's sad be­cause we aren't sure of what comes next but we're not dis­band­ing by any means," said Bar­ratt.

"I'm an­tic­i­pat­ing change is good. There is sad­ness mixed with happy an­tic­i­pa­tion too. You've got to adapt."

Gail Fee­han, a mem­ber of 41 years, re­mem­bered work­ing dur­ing another es­pe­cially busy wed­ding ban­quet.

While work­ing "be­hind the scenes" pre­par­ing and dish­ing out food, Fee­han ran into a prob­lem.

While the power re­mained on this time, the group no­ticed that they were get­ting very low on pota­toes. In fact, so low that they wouldn't be able to serve the en­tire crowd.

Un­able to make more, the group scram­bled to­gether be­fore mak­ing a phone call to The Golden Wok.

"Sure enough they did have mashed pota­toes. So we col­lected money amongst our­selves and I ran up," said Fee­han.

"It was in the mid­dle of win­ter and I ran up the street as fast I could . . . We didn't want to let any­one in the din­ing room know what was hap­pen­ing and in the end we pulled it off."

Fee­han said there has been no short­age of spe­cial mem­o­ries and sto­ries for the group.

In fact, it's those mem­o­ries and friend­ships that have kept mem­bers com­ing back.

"Ev­ery­one was very friendly to work with," said Fee­han. "We had a lot of laughs and a lot of good times."

MITCH MAC­DON­ALD/ THE GUARDIAN

Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis, from left, Char­lot­te­town Le­gion Ladies' Aux­il­iary pres­i­dent An­nie Bar­rett, mem­bers Gail Fee­han and Shirley MacMil­lan, and MLA Richard Brown stand out­side the le­gion build­ing af­ter the group's an­nual tea re­cently. The an­nual meet­ing was likely the group's last time meet­ing in the le­gion build­ing, which is for sale.

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