Not Tonight

I’m not cynical, I’m just old.

I’ve spent the better part of my 62 years enduring hardcore salespeople, worthless warranties, shoddy merchandise, and tall tales from small people. To be fair, I’ve also had my share of lucky breaks, good health, great friends and I know it.

But still, there’s this reoccurring theme across all our lives: UPSELL.

When Flagler Humane Society’s Executive Director, Amy Carotenuto, mentioned Palm Coast Chamber of Commerce’s GALA awards, I raised a skeptical eyebrow so high it mussed up my hair. At ninety-five dollars a seat, this Dinner Event struck me as yet another end run across my empty wallet playbook.
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However, Amy considered it a worthy participation so first things first, we needed to submit an Organizational Synopsis of our mission and our accomplishments. She assembled a good portion of the application but Doctor Suzy Broadhurst and I critiqued, contributed and polished the final submittal.

- House, care for, and find a home for all kinds of animals, check.

- Provide low cost veterinarian services for our community, check.

- Partner with community organizations and events to make our world a better place for all living creatures, check.

- Lobby and advocate for legislation to better the quality of life for our animal friends, check.

- Community Outreach to entertain and inform our community about all things animal, check, check, check.

Suzy articulated a veterinarian authoritative but me, it was just my usual artsy-fartsy.

Application complete, submitted and end of story, right?

No, because look! We’ve been recognized as a finalist for a GALA award! Can you believe it? I felt a need to pat my wallet to confirm it remained in my pocket and not in the Chamber of Commerce collection plate.
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I’m not cynical, I’m just old.

The thought of coughing up a hundred bucks to attend the ceremony yanked my other eyebrow up into my hairline but Maria Lavin-Sanhudo of CenterState Bank honored us with a couple of spots at her table. Thank you, Maria!

Now, what to wear? I decided to wear my best suit instead of my usual knock-around blazer even though I would certainly be overdressed for this occasion.

Overdressed? No, everyone was dressed like the Academy Awards. Amy looked stunning in a beautiful black gown and thank goodness I had decided to take it up a notch. Look! Over there, the stately John Subers from Advent Health and Marc Gilliland, the virtuoso from Flagler Radio sitting front and center. Classy Patty Murphy was nominated for an award and even the mayor, Milissa Holland, was here! What a night!

Amy and I hunkered on one side of Maria’s large round table, sipping in the entertainment and our drinks. Finally, the moment arrived. It was time to announce the winners.

When the emcee finally got to our category, Non-Profit of the Year, Amy and I exchanged knowing glances. We were up against some impressive organizations. There’s just no way we…

“The winner is… Flagler Humane Society.”
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Wow! We won! Next thing I knew, Amy and I were striding up to the podium to receive our award. I clapped John Suber’s shoulder on our way past his table.

Hey, I told you I wasn’t cynical. Not tonight.
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