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The Buckhorn

Copyright (c) 2010
Winters Express
312 Railroad Avenue, Winters, CA 95694
(530) 795-4551
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When do you volunteer your time?

You can call it giving back, stepping up, or just doing your civic duty, but everyone needs to volunteer to keep the world turning.
Last weekend I ventured down to San Luis Obispo to visit with old friends. I was in a fraternity that no longer exists, along with other campus clubs that have folded over the years. Times change as well as students and the hazing we took, passed on to other students isn’t tolerated today. I wasn’t there 10 years ago when the fraternity started falling apart, but it is gone, but not forgotten.
We bought the fraternity house when I was a student somewhere around 1972, when the landlord passed away and his wife didn’t want to be bothered with a rental. The fraternity had taken over from a women’s boarding home in 1957. Mr. Porter told us he liked the guys better than the women. “You never call me when something is broken, you just fix it.” He joked that we were probably afraid he would raise the rent if we called him.
One winter when the house was leaking so badly that we couldn’t stand it any longer, we made the call. Mr. Porter showed up, looked around, didn’t say a word and walked out. We didn’t know what to think about his behavior, but about an hour later, he returned with a bottle of bourbon, apologized for the condition of the roof. He told us the roofer was on the way and asked if we had some glasses. He drank his bourbon neat.
Years would go by and I never visited the house, then we started having regular reunions every five years, celebrating the founding in 1957. The fiftieth was a grand affair with over 200 people in attendance. Cal Poly has Poly Royal, like a big Youth Day, Davis Picnic Day, and that is when most people show up.
This year there was a smaller crowd at the back yard barbecue. The fraternity is gone, but the house is still there. We rent it out to our children and their friends at a discounted rate, I’m told. A few years ago we rented it to another fraternity and they had a small fire. It is all rebuilt now, at a cost of over 1⁄2 million dollars. It looks the same from the outside, but inside it is more like a house. The upstairs bar is gone and there are a few more bathrooms.
We were joking about how many people we packed into the house, usually 11 or 12. Now there are five. Everyone gets their own room. When you hear about the high cost of going to college, remember that students spend more money now than when we were young. We would have never considered living in a room by ourselves. One room we called the quad, and you’re right, there were two sets of bunk beds in there. Perkinson built himself a room in a closet one year so he could have a bigger desk and no one thought much about it.
A strange thing is happening with my fraternity brothers, they are moving back to the San Luis area. Over the past couple of years, as they retire, they are buying homes in Morro Bay, Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo and Cayucos. The best man at our wedding, Randy Fiser, still lives in Grover Beach and, so far, there is always a room for me at the Fiser Hotel. Even his wife, Patrice doesn’t seem to mind my visits.
When I ask my friends how their retirement is going, I’m not surprised to learn that they are volunteering their time and finding plenty to keep themselves busy. There is also a lot of golfing going on. The first blood donor I knew lived in the house and he encouraged all of us to become donors. Student clubs are usually well run and fully staffed, by volunteers, but times change. Maybe life got in the way for some of us, but most of my college friends are still holding up their hands, stepping forward when asked and living a good life.
Someone asked me to put out the word that Winters needs more volunteers, I told them all they have to do is ask.
Have a good week.