As we began
a most unusual meeting with our sister city organization from
Aberdeen - Grampian Houston, the video picture above is the sight that greeted us in our conference room in Houston. It was the officers and stalwarts of this great
group of friends who we have come to cherish over the last 30 years. At their table from left to right are,
Bill Neish, Robert Anderson, Robert Davidson, Jimmy Hay, David Paton, Margaret Hadley, Geoffrey Hadley, Dr Colin Millar, Joy Gordon, Lady Provost Sandra Stephen,
and Councillor Kate Dean, Leader of Aberdeen City Council.
Out of the photo to Bill Neish's right is Sandra Fulton.
With the worldwide economic downturn, our membership was unable to generate a group large enough to justify an actual exchange
visit to Aberdeen in person, so we did the next best thing and held a live video conference of officers and stalwarts of both
groups to raise glasses to our friendship and to celebrate this day which has marked our 30th anniversary. The first
photo in our conference room shows Iain Gordon, Ida Lou Nicholas and our Chairman, Mary Metz.
To the right is our President Aurise Bain with Charles and Jo Ellis. As a past president of Houston Grampian,
Charles was one of several members present who made comments during the teleconference, and he was filled with the same emotion
during his remarks that we all felt as we experienced our affection for those to whom we've grown so close in Aberdeen.
Jane and John Fowler were also on hand to toast to our twinning and to our long-standing friendship. John
had the privilege of being our President five years ago when we celebrated our Silver Jubilee in Duthie Park in Aberdeen and he is
presently our Treasurer. He and Jane have been making regular annual trips to Aberdeen for the last 20 years and will be
going again this fall. To their right is Joanne Zumbrun, Rebecca Roberts and Moira Holden, each of whom have distinguished
themselves in honoring our two organizations with great gusto.
closing out the attendees around the table are Marti and Quin McWhirter and Carol Mills. They are shown below enjoying the
camaraderie along with the other Houston Grampian members present, and each enjoyed raising their glass to toast our dear
friends. Although there is not an individual photo of him, Micky Carmichael can be seen in our group photo toward the
back of the room on the right, waving with us.
It is indeed our hope that we will soon be able to travel across the pond and be together again to celebrate in
person. Being among the longest-tenured of the International Sister Cities twins, it was fitting to have an up-to-date,
technological meeting of great friends and to celebrate long-enduring friendships.
As we parted, and shown in the last video photo, all were waving to each other via our electronic connection
and at the same time remembering Robbie Burns' famous quote, "O wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!" Bon Accord, dear friends.