A Toast to a Special Person…

19 Apr

As I sat on my couch, stunned at the news of the passing of our dear friend, Sandi Russell, I lapsed into a few moments of depression, followed by an angry outburst directed at this damned disease and the good folks who deserved a better break just to live out their golden years peacefully. Sandi was a good soul who experienced a tough life within her immediate family, yet found an inner- spirit and energy to help others who were in need. She was a strong-willed person who enjoyed being an important part of numerous fundraisers in Boston. She always seemed to volunteer her expertise as a word processor, later renamed “computer expert.

18010647_1394077290653294_1893359909737390697_n

It seems like only four years ago that Sandi went through her initial battle with breast cancer which included surgery and many Chemotherapy treatments. During this tough ordeal, she continued to work on our popular Globe Santa Auction, held during the past several years at the Rattlesnake Bar & Grille, which unfortunately closed its doors during the winter of 2016. She never openly complained about her illness or her personal circumstances with people in general…with the exception of a few close friends she confided with. I recall many times spent on the phone, listening to her vent about things that were really bugging her. She would end our conversation with a sigh and a quiet comment… “Ah, so what are yagonna’ do?” There seemed to be a myriad of things that bothered Sandi through the years, some more serious than others, yet her willingness to help our committee of friends for the old “Cheers for Children Auction” was more important than everything else on her plate. Her support for the big auction dates back almost 35 years when we kicked off the first event at the legendary Bull & Finch Pub on Beacon Street.

When the Bull & Finch became the big “Cheers” attraction for Bostonians and its legions of thirsty tourists, the auction began to attract local celebrities and bigger crowds. This, of course, meant more time and work spent preparing for the big night. It was also Sandi’s time to shine. She became the brains of the auction, logging in all the donated items, including all the info regarding who and where the items came from. Her organizational skills were superior…much more so than any combination of our team of committee members. Yes sir!!! It was Sandi’s time to shine and I recall her change in attitude around the table, from her normal, quiet personality, to THEE person in charge. She had all the answers and knew exactly who was slacking off procuring donations.

Sandi was always prompt when we had our meetings, sitting quietly with her first drink – vodka with plain tomato juice and no frickin fruit or veggies. New members on our committee would inquire about the person in charge of providing the big spread-sheets, and logging in all the donations. We would simply point to the little lady in the baggy jeans, who 99.9% of the time wore a baseball cap adorned with her special collection of pins; some from the Red Sox and others from the Boston Police and Fire Departments. I remember inviting her to numerous, up-scale events at the Hampshire House,

you know, dressy affairs – mostly white collar business attire. But then Sandi would appear, taking the evening’s attire to a new level…proudly wearing her dual-colored Red Sox cap. Sure, she got cold stares and dirty looks, but she didn’t care. If anyone admonished her for her attire, they would soon realize the incredible wrath of Sandi Russell was about to ruin their lovely evening. Yet, she remained a sincere, one-of-a-kind character, in the kindest sense of the word.

Over these last years, I drove Sandi into Boston for all the meetings and during the drive in, she would go over her own, private minutes for the night, including her list of folks who were going to hear from her regarding their sub-standard procurement of auction items. On the way home, with two vodka and tomato juice cocktails under her hat, she lamented the fact she may have possibly been too rough with her comments to certain committee members. That was soon forgotten as we neared the end of our 22-mile trek. These were tough times for Sandi because she learned that she had the Cancer in her lung and would be facing more Radiation and Chemo treatments. She lamented the fact that the first few days after each treatment left her tired and exhausted, “so please tell people not to call me,” she said. At the same time, she was getting over the loss of her mother who resided in Florida for years. This was a very long and drawn out situation, with too many short trips to check on her mom in the Fort Lauderdale area. Then she was faced with the task of caring for her daughter, Patty, and her very difficult health issues. She was also being consumed by a huge amount of hospital visits during this period and the stress of dealing with these important issues and appointments, including her own, was wearing her down.

Her last few months she stayed at home except for her many medical appointments. She talked openly with me about the pain she was experiencing, and the shots she needed that would help her take a few naps, relax, and deal with small, everyday things we all take for granted. I knew she liked my long-winded e-mails, and the occasional phone calls. Sandi also enjoyed hearing from friends, yet as each day wore on, the afternoons were difficult…it was the morning hours that became her up-time. I was so very glad I had stopped by with my wife, Marcia, just to sit with her and chat about things she had on her mind. With a big hug goodbye, I told her that I couldn’t find the right words to say, and she cut me off, saying I know Ed, not to worry darlin…I completely understand.” The ride home was very difficult for both Marcia and I, indeed. Sandi was a trooper through all her battles with this devastating disease, and then there were the more lucid times she amazed the hell out of me. I just wanted everyone on this earth to know that this little lady had a big heart when it came to helping others, and she never really got the credit for her hard work…no trophy…no proclamation…just a big hug and a “Thanks Sandi” from her friends was good enough for her. I will never forget the likes of Sandi Russell and that old Red Sox cap with her cherished pin collection. Rest in peace dear friend.

Now raise your damned glass of vodka and plain tomato juice, (hold the fricken fruit and veggies), and give a big toast –Cheers to Sandi…a Top-Shelf Lady and a true Friend.”

Eddie Doyle

April, 2017

Advertisements

With regrets…

16 Nov

Greetings Friends,

It is with heartfelt regret that I inform each of you that our annual “Christmas Bash” at the “Rattlesnake Bar & Grill” has been officially cancelled for this year.  This is an especially tough loss for the Globe Santa Fund who has been the beneficiary of over $20,000 in proceeds raised at each of our past three Christmas events.  The date for this event was to be December 7th.

The reason for the cancellation is due to a multitude of on-going problems…the big one being a number of business issues that have unfortunately plagued the restaurant.  As you know, this has been a very popular venue for many Bostonians over the years.  The three owners were hoping to keep things rolling and make the Holiday event happen again this year, but the business climate at this location on Boylston Street is currently very tentative.   We wish our good friends –Tony, Jay, and Gordon — along with their fantastic staff the very best in the days ahead.  (On a personal note, my friendship with these gentlemen goes back to the ‘70’s and as a long-time veteran in the Boston Hospitality Industry, I was saddened to learn of their dilemma.  However, I can assure you that they will put their business plans together and land on their feet with a brighter future for all concerned.)

This decision breaks the long string of fundraisers I have been involved with for the Globe Santa Fund over the past 36 years.  Our great volunteer crew of men and women that comprised “The Spirited Bostonians” are to be thanked for their enormous contributions that made each event a great success.  This goes back to the days of “Cheers for Children.”  I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the woman who kept the records, initiated all our printed material and pulled every minute detail together at the last minute, Sandi Russell.  (Thank you my dear!)  Her dedication and hard work dates back to our first Auction at the Bull & Finch Pub.  Sandi is currently dealing with serious health issues.  Please remember her in your thoughts and prayers.

Another lady who deserves to be acknowledged for her hard work is Victoria Ruff.  Viki’s ability to send early morning e-mails would blow Hilary Clinton’s e-mail situation out of the water.  Her effort in pulling all of us together for meetings, and taking notes has been quite professional.  Finally, Bill Connolly, our liaison from the Boston Globe Santa Fund Office has been our angel and guiding light.  Each of us on the committee extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for his hard work.

I only wish we had a last-minute back up plan to keep the party alive.  But just like the owners of the “Snake,” we’ll be back with a new and energetic plan for another magnificent event for 2017.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to All,

Eddie Doyle

“The Spirited Bostonians”

Another successful event!

29 Dec

10402678_990668164327544_3404339521332105112_n (1)Wow how the time moves along, especially during the holiday season!  It was about three weeks ago that we held our 6th annual Rattlin’ event, and we can finally report that it was again a smashing success!  With the help of our bidders, we were able to raise $21,250 for the Globe Santa Fund!

Our thanks go all around, to the Bidders, the generous Donors, the seemingly tireless Staff at the Rattlesnake, those friends who volunteered to take care of the little-but-tricky jobs during the event, the Rollo Tomasi Quartet, the Bella Life Models, Jim Wells, Santa Claus, Jimmy Tingle, Bill Connolly, Brian Poe, and to Jay, Gordon and Tony Caz — our gracious hosts — for making the event an all around success.

We here in the Spirited Bostonians hope that you have all had a Merry Christmas, and that your holiday season has been full of fun, kindness and mirth!  Know that your generosity during our event has helped pass those same feelings and experiences on to families who may not have otherwise known them at this time of year.

Stay safe for New Years, stay warm this winter, and we’ll look for you next year for our 7th event down at the Rattlesnake!

Thanks!

One month to go!

2 Nov

Howdy folks!  We’ve started the one-month countdown before our 6th Annual Rattlin’ Around the Christmas Tree event on December 2nd.  Tickets this year will be available at the door for $40 per person, and checks should be made payable to the “Globe Santa Fund”.  We’ll have some great auction items, delicious food prepared by Brian Poe, Uri Abragimovich and the rest of the Rattlesnake staff, wonderful music by the Rollo Tomasi Quartet, celebrity bartenders, and more!

Please mark the date:  Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015, 5:30pm to 9:30pm, Rattlesnake Bar and Grill.  We hope to see you there!

Image

Save the date – December 2nd, 2015

8 Oct

snake

Success! and Thank-you!

4 Dec

The books are almost closed on the 5th Annual Rattlin’ Around the Christmas Tree event, and another success has been declared.  We’re tallying up what we’ve raised thanks to everyone’s generous donations and we will have some numbers to share shortly.  But as Jim Wells and Jimmy Tingle put it several times during the live auction last night, “It’s all for the kids”.  This is true, as the money raised will go to purchasing Christmas presents for underprivileged children in the Greater Boston area via the Globe Santa “elves”, if you will.

A huge THANK-YOU must go out to the owners and staff of the Rattlesnake Bar & Grill.  From Tony and Jay, to the chefs – Brian and Uri, to the bartenders and waitstaff, the night would not have gone off without your generosity, creativity and hard work, all done without question and with smiles!  Thank-you also Jim Wells, for your tireless talents during the Live event, and thanks to all of the celebrities who helped behind the bar — Joe Castiglione, Dan Shaugnessey, Eliot Tatelman, (forgive me if there are more — I’ll report back later if I left anyone out).  Thanks to Santa for spending so much time during his busiest season, thanks to Jimmy Tingle for making not one but two appearances!  Thank-you to the Rollo Tomasi Quartet, who sounded great and added a festive mood with their holiday jazz.  And thanks to the Bella Life Models and Dawn Mostow for bringing a touch of class, beauty and fun to our event — everyone looked stunning in their Dawnamatrix dresses!

The Spirited Bostonians will begin planning the 6th Annual event after the new year.  We are always looking for new ideas, new volunteers and new donors.  If you’d like to pitch in with any of the above, please contact us at spiritedbostonians@gmail.com.  We’d love to hear from you!  Until then, Merry Christmas, and thanks!

Tonight’s the night!

3 Dec

Well, it’s Wednesday around lunchtime and the Spirited Bostonians and their Elves are feverishly putting the bows on all of our tasks in preparation for the annual Rattlin’ Around the Christmas Tree event over at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill on Boylston St.  The doors open at 5:30pm and tickets can be purchased at the door for $20.  We’ll have both a Silent and Live auction, door prizes, a Lotto Board, and delicious food and drinks.  We hope to see you tonight!