The Union has a young stringer, a reporter, fresh out of college, named Patrick Evans who occasionally writes for us, but rarely shows up at the office or calls on the phone. But, hey, he’s one of our writers so I put him on the Christmas Party invite list. The Union’s production manager and Scene editor, Lauraine Leblanc, used the subscription list to send out invites and found Patrick Evans’ address in McKinleyville. Patrick Evans sent an RSVP by email as instructed. He would be attending the party with his wife. Our young reporter, just out of college, has a wife? Who knew? I responded to Patrick Evans and told him I looked forward to seeing him.
Then, at mid-December’s lavish party, I noticed a gentleman at least twice the age of our reporter sitting at the Union's overflow table. I didn’t recognize him. He was the only one at the table, so I assumed he was just another Plaza Grill patron, taking advantage of an empty table. He was offered his entree of choice, along with as many cocktails as he could consume. As the party came to an end, the man walked over to me, introduced himself as Patrick Evans, shook my hand and thanked me for the dinner and drinks. “Do you invite all your subscribers?” he asked. Turns out this was a different Patrick Evans – not the reporter, but a long-time subscriber of the McKinleyville Press and, for the past three years, a subscriber of the Mad River Union. By accident, a single subscriber was sent an invitation to our annual Christmas party, sent in his RSVP and attended! And so begins what will become an annual tradition. Each year, a reader will be selected at random and invited to dine with our great crew. The party was great, the food and drinks were wonderful and the company was tremendous. We have such a diverse, interesting group of contributors. We at the Union take pride in this party, and every year we strive to make it great again. Guests fill themselves with good food and their choice of cocktails, without opening their wallets. Gluttony rules. Mission accomplished! Oh, and sorry to our reporter, Patrick Evans, for not being invited to the party. I hope your wife isn’t upset.