These two groups are my peeps and represent some of the makers and shakers of ham radio. These are the people I look up to and are in awe of for all they have done for ham radio over the years. As I said in my bio, "My fondest memories of ham radio are rubbing elbows and making friends with the makers and shakers of our hobby who show up at Hamvention every year."
I have attended this dinner every year for over 25 years and since 2010, I have attended as a woman. When I attended as a guy, I mixed in with the other dinner attendees chatting and joking about ham radio and other gizmos.
That changed when I began attending as a woman. Presenting as a woman to a predominately male group who had known me previously as a guy was very daunting and I did not mix well. It got a little better over the years, but usually I would buy a drink when I arrived, stake out a table for me and my friends and be seated to wait for the speakers to speak and food to be served.
This year was typical. I sat down and saved a couple of seats. Folks filled up the other seats. One asked me if I was a ham or the wife of a ham. I said that I have been a ham for almost 40 years. When I told him my callsign, he reacted as if he was familiar with my callsign, but he looked a little confused and couldn't place me... well, you know why.
Anyway, this year, the speakers and food were very good and around 9:30 PM, 150 people were ready to call it a night when the president of TAPR returned to the dais one more time. He asked me to stand up, congratulated me for winning the Special Achievement Award and urged the audience to give me a round of applause.
Not only did 150 of my peeps applaud, but they all got up and gave me a standing ovation. It was a very emotional moment; my eyes began to tear up and I almost lost it, but I smiled and said thank you over and over again.
What a moment! I will cherish it forever.
|Joe E. Brown (right) in the 1944 film Shut My Mouth.|