I Got 21 Happy Dollars


Linda, Carly, and Yours Truly at the Piazzale Michelangelo overlooking Florence.

Happy Dollars is a Rotary Institution that adds a lot of fun to Rotary meetings.  In this particular ritual Rotarians offer a dollar to celebrate whatever has happened in their personal and professional lives that makes them….well…..happy.  It is a great way for everyone in the club to be kept up to date on the latest and greatest going on with their members, and it’s a great way to raise money for charity.  Clubs typically set aside Happy Dollar proceeds for a specific goal or community chest and the dollars can add up in a hurry.

The actual implementation of Happy Dollars varies from club to club.  The Sergeant at Arms experts at the Columbia Patuxent Rotary Club (which I humbly maintain are the best in the business – shout out here to Dean of Sgt.’s Roy Felipe and Dave Bittner) are adamant that Happy Dollars are best collected at the end of the meeting, if for no other reason that the level of pandemonium that typically ensues makes it difficult to settle everyone back down to listen to the speaker, and because you raise a lot of money because members give Happy Dollars for “The Program.”  On the other hand, in my club visits around District 7620 I have seen several clubs do Happy Dollars at the beginning of the meeting.  They claim it gets everyone “loosened up” and ready to have a good time for the rest of the meeting.  Either way, you can learn a lot about a club by the number of Happy Dollars, and the volume of the Happy Dollar proceedings.  Raucous laughter is preferred.

So with that in mind, I got twenty-one Happy Dollars for my recent trip to Italy with Linda:

Here’s one dollar for Italians.  There seemed to be a lot of them in Italy.  And the ones we met were all very kind to us.

Here’s a buck for gelato.  Especially lemon gelato.  Awesome.

Here’s a buck for Apollo and Daphne by Bernini.  I can die now.

I got another buck for high speed trains.  They are REALLY cool.  (That is when the train employees are not on strike, which I found out at 11PM one evening.)

Here’s a dollar for….dollars.  Euros are too expensive.

Oh, here’s a buck for a long-dead relative of Orioles owner, Peter Angelos.  This guy, Michael Angelos, did a lot of the statues and paintings back in the day.

A buck for the full moon we had in Praiano on the Amalfi Coast.  Spectacular.

I gotta sad dollar for all of the life changing art we saw that I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of.  What a shame.

Here’s a dollar for Easter in Florence.  You had to be there.

And here’s a buck for calling pizza “pizza” and not Margheritas.  I like Margheritas frozen with no salt.

Oh…a dollar for the symphony concert we lucked into inside the Cathedral at Orvieto.  I don’t much care for classical music, but hearing Beethoven in that wondrous setting made me cry.

I’ve got a dollar for the best twenty euros spent during our two week trip….getting our laundry done while we stayed in Praiano.

And finally, I’m throwing in another ten for catching up with my daughter, Carly, who is studying abroad in a town called, Viturbo, just north of Rome.  She is doing great and Linda and I were thrilled to see her.

Hey …I’m in for $21 bucks, the Club President at Columbia Patuxent rings our club bell for that!  RING.  And now we have a few fines…..



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