When I came to Victoria three years ago, I had the great privilege of being taken under Kay McHaney's wing. I didn't realize it then, but I couldn't have been in better hands.
I thought about my first days here as I listened to people honor Kay as the Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizen of the Year on Tuesday night. I've come to realize I'm one in a long line of outsiders Kay has so warmly welcomed into the community. To her, every newcomer represents a chance for a new adventure.
Her daughter-in-law, Sarah McHaney, beautifully summed up Kay's spirit in a toast during the dinner:
Hats off to you, Catherine McHaney, this very special day
You who have helped so many along life’s way
And now a tribute we would like to send
To you a mom, grandmother, adventurer, board member, volunteer, etc., but most a trusted friend.
A toast to you my mother-in-law, the very, very best.
It is rare to have a mother-in-law that truly passes the test.
But you are quite the exceptional one.
The best word to describe you is just plain FUN.
And so tonight I remember back when
Twenty years ago or so but it seems like just then
A little trip down memory lane for your roast
Just a few reminders before we toast
I remember our first meeting
But most of all I remember your warm-hearted greeting
Meeting the mother of the man that I might marry
You can imagine it was just a little scary.
But you of course put my mind at ease
We were soon fishing out in the bay breeze.
That was our first meeting in Port O’Connor town
You were the most festive and fun to be around.
From fishing, to bocce, to shuffleboard and Pictionary
Never a dull moment nor any time to be weary.
Adventurer you are and full of constant wonder
I learned that day you don’t head the boat in until you actually hear the thunder.
The times I have had are memorable and too many to recall
The ranch, the bay, the trips and just visiting by the firepit or playing games were such a ball.
I do remember, though, a long ago meteor shower
And to see it you really did drive us out of town in the middle of the night for well over an hour.
We had one man in common, that being your eldest son
You know I never questioned whether he was truly the one.
But not knowing me well you still graciously opened up your heart.
Inviting me to the family, wanting me to be a part.
I then married Gordon and into the family I came
Proudly taking on the McHaney name.
And still I cannot call you Kay
Even though it’s been 20 years or so since we met that day.
Your zest for life has amazed me throughout all these years
I’ve learned from you that maybe that’s one way to calm your fears.
I’ve learned how to have a few laughs over beers
And also that it is just fine to cry a few tears.
I have followed you through the jungle, fished with you in the sea,
Rode shotgun in the Kubota and helped make Mr. Mc’s green tea.
I have hiked in the mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico,
Eaten beside you at your handpicked cafes and enjoyed a Broadway show.
I have stared out at the sky from atop a Mayan pyramid.
And caught tadpoles with you for all the grandkids.
There is just not much that you are not up for on any given day,
Even after riding bikes in Napa Valley — no that was really 14 miles one way.
Your ability to do so much is really beyond compare.
Not just for yourself but for so many others which is quite extraordinaire.
Not only for Victoria but its people do you work.
There is no problem small or large that you would ever shirk.
If only each of us would be half as giving
Maybe the world would be a better place for all of those living.
You have shown us the effects of a loving and caring heart.
My wish for all of us here tonight is to also jump in and be a part.
You have shown us all what good can actually be done,
And even more so, while also having fun.
So let’s raise our glass on this special day
Here’s to you, my mother-in-law, also fondly known as Kay.
But may we ask one thing of you, and it involves a very large pretty please,
Continue your adventures, your zest for life and your many activities.
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