In a real change of pace, the 2009 Annual General Meeting of The Houston Grampian Association was held at the Sam Houston Steamboat House and it was a delightful change, as our members met for luncheon to elect board members for the coming year, hear reports of our activities of 2008 including a very encouraging financial report. As an extra treat, the owner of the Sam Houston Steamboat House, Charlie Fogarty told us about the incredible life of Sam Houston and of Texas history before and during his entry into the independent country of Texas. We learned of his time as a legislator and Governor of the State of Tennessee prior to becoming the President of Texas and then, when it became a state, the first Governor of Texas. Charlie is shown in the photo to the right and was an excellent host. To the left is a magnificent painting of Sam Houston that was painted for and used in the 1936 San Jacinto Centennial Celebration and Parade.

Our members began arriving and touring the historic Steam Boat House with all of the paintings and photos on display of so much of Texas history. Some of the early arrivals are shown here in the photo to the left and they had a chance to see quite a bit of the displayed documents and photos before the meeting began. We also had some time to greet our new members who were in attendance and to enjoy a bit of fellowship for which we are so well known. It was also our pleasure to welcome two officers of the English Speaking Union as visitors to our meeting and they shared with us about their activities which were of interest to our members as well. Some of them had joined us last year for our first annual high tea in honor of Her Majesty's birthday and indicated they will plan to be with us again this year for that event.

The Sam Houston Steam Boat House has been rated as one of Tom Horan's top ten steakhouses in Texas and we began ordering from their great luncheon menu and in addition to the great hospitality and program, were treated to a wonderful lunch. After ordering and while we waited for our food to be brought to us, we began the business meeting with remarks by our Chairman, Mary Metz and our President, Aurise Bain who presided. Reports were given by each of our committee chair persons and we quickly got a sense of a very healthy and growing organization. Some of the new members present were Larry Russell and his daughter, Laura Russell and they are shown in the photo to the right with Aurise and Stewart Bain.

Our meeting was held in the Log Cabin Room of the Steamboat House and the walls are constructed from a recycled 200 year old log cabin from Pennsylvania. It is one of the most popular dining facilities for groups of 12 or more in the Houston area. The committee reports mentioned above included discussions of our Student Nursing Exchange program and a proposed Police Officer Exchange program now being negotiated with the City of Houston Police Department and the Grampian Police of Aberdeen, Scotland. Also discussed were reports on our finances, our interaction with Houston's Sister Cities programs of which we are an integral part, a cultural report, a membership report and our upcoming OTC Breakfast meeting. Finally, a report was given on our website, which has become a popular place to visit by prospective HGA members and by our own membership. The photo to the left shows long time members, including Past President Dwight Beach and his wife, Carol.

Moving on with the business of the day, we elected three board members for three year terms and they are Moira Holden, Carol Mills and Louise Sprot and each of them is pictured on our administrative page of the website. Following the election of new board members, the board met briefly to elect officers and with the recommendation of the nominating committee, headed by Ross Davidson, the 2008 officers were asked to serve for another year, those being Aurise Bain, president, Quin McWhirter, vice-president and John Fowler, treasurer. A secretary will be elected at a future board meeting. At the conclusion of the business meeting and lunch, the meeting was adjourned and we stayed and visited for awhile longer. We look forward to another very successful year in 2009. Shown in the phot to the right are (left to right) our new board member, Louise Sprot, outgoing board member Marianne Duffin, board member Rebecca Roberts, Chairman Mary Metz and board member John Lee.

Among the many beautiful paintings that we saw were those below of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. Also shown are many of the flags that have been a part of Texas history.