At least it seemed that way over the past few days, as Dharma the Wonder Dog and I careened throughout the Catskills (I drove most of the time), working our way through the New York side of the Upper Delaware River region. I snapped scores of photos of deserving folks being recognized by the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) at the Eagles Nest in Bloomingburg; inspiring women and girls of all ages making a difference while advocating “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in Rock Hill; and a parade of ghouls, unicorns and dreadlocked butterflies parading through town in Callicoon. All the while, I was dressed in a sports coat, tuxedo and delivery-man uniform, respectively.
The common thread last week was that Sullivan County was brimming over with awards, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to observe from the sidelines, sampling some tasty hors d’oeuvres along the way. There was an abundance of bacon-wrapped scallops and pigs-in-a-blanket at the 2019 Sullivan County Pride Awards where Lee Karasik (Young Emerging Leader), Bruce Davidson (Township Award, Liberty) Sheila Lashinsky (Distinguished Service), Mark McLewin and Christina Aby-Azar (Distinguished Achievement) and Randy Resnick (Business Person of the Year) were all honored for their respective contributions to Sullivan County. The annual gala is always pretty classy, so I felt slightly out of place. I have great respect for the award recipients, their hard work and dedication, and therefore did my best to fit in with the crème de la crème of Sullivan County society.
Karasik’s acceptance speech was laden with sincerity, emotion and appreciation, and Davidson’s words were meaningful and down to earth. McLewin was as charming and affable as always, while Lashinsky made me feel just plain lazy, since she accomplishes more in eight hours (of retirement, no less) than I do in a week. And then there’s Business Man of the Year Resnick, who had the sold-out gala roaring with laughter, expressing himself in his usual bawdy, raucous, one-of-a-kind form. Resnick’s workaholic, entrepreneurial endeavors include restaurants, hotels, a grocery store and energy providing businesses, to name but a few. Giving credit where credit is due, Resnick made sure to highlight his coterie of staffers and acknowledge his family, all of whom were either laughing or crying during his lengthy acceptance speech, most of which I informed him was “unprintable” in pure Resnick style.
On the other hand, all of the ladies were classy and quotable as the Miss Breast Cancer Awareness Pageant unfolded at Resnick’s Sullivan Event Center in Rock Hill, NY where more awards were passed out, even though all of the contestants were clearly winners. Having been asked to be on the judging panel provided me an opportunity to chat with each of the ladies, in groups ranging from Tiny Miss to Miss Teen to Ms., all of whom comported themselves with style and composure. Following the interviews, categories including the requisite evening gown, talent and Q&A all comprised a far-too-long (I was there for eight hours) but clearly worthy event. It gave the crowned ladies a chance to carry their message out into the world, raising awareness and making a valuable contribution to society.
No one (including myself) was making any valuable contributions to society at the annual Western Hotel’s Halloween bash, but there were some pretty cool costumes and some major moves on the dance floor; 95.3 DNH radio’s DJ Adam Owens kept the party going, even after someone fell flat on her face during the conga line portion of the evening. I won’t embarrass her by naming names, but it rhymes with Fancy Pace. As master of ceremonies, I got the opportunity to chat with revelers and hand out awards for best male, female, couple, group and the ultimate Best in Show, which went to Jack Skellington and his rag doll girlfriend Sally this year, in addition to an award winning pair of passive-aggressive unicorns, a jilted dead bride and “the Lone Ranger” who ironically took home the trophy for “Best Group.” Hostess Irene Nikolai knows how to throw a party, and (IMHO) everyone (even whiny, annoying, complaining me) had a hell of a good time. I hope Nikolai invites me back next Halloween, if only to see a good conga line mishap. Maybe we’ll give an award for that next year.
To see more photos from all of the events listed above, visit our Facebook.