The only thing missing from the ninth annual Saline-Brecon Friendship Guild's Pub Night was a prize for the guests who traveled the farthest to get there.
At last Friday's event, Judge Don Shelton led the group singing of the Welsh national anthem, "Land of Our Fathers," and then ordered the anthem to be sung in Welsh. Struggling with the endless consonant combinations and searching desperately for a vowel or two, the PubNighters were heading toward failure when Judge Shelton issued a court order to stop the music and called out for anyone who could sing in Welsh.
The crowd parted and in walked Dilys and Arthur Bowley of Brecon. The gathering welcomed the Bowleys in long and loud fashion and was treated to Arthur's beautiful rendition of the anthem in his native Welsh. More than a few eyes were dried as many of the guests remembered their visits to Wales and their friends in that country.
The evening included the talents of Kim Swartz and keyboard along with the Riverside Band, who were there courtesy of the Sheltons to provide post auction entertainment and dance music. Pub-Nighters had an opportunity to purchase goods from Toad Hill, a British gift shop located in Ann Arbor.
The traditional Pub Night auction items included the famous Roman coin - this year purchased by Marjorie Shelton; dinner at Mac's with the Bowleys, which went to David and Sheila Blough; and two of Doris Kraushaar's excellent photos of one of the first Jazz Festivals ever attended by Salinians in Brecon, which went to City Councilman Jeff Fryman and board of education trustee Mark Hopper. Local artist Donna Johnston donated two of her Saline scenes, and the lucky bidders were Kathy Chapin and Harriet Amsler. A number of smaller items also were sold at the auction, while Stan Sekerka won the travel certificate.
The highlight of the evening was the warmth of the Bowleys' visit and Arthur's comments on the exchange and his pleasure in having Bowley Bridge and the Guild's bench dedicated to him in Mill Pond Park. For many years, the Bowleys had been encouraged to visit the Sheltons for a Pub Night and 1998 proved to be the year. How fortunate for those who were there to enjoy this special evening.
The lovely and charming Dilys Bowley is known to comment that she only takes Arthur places twice: once to introduce him and once for him to apologize. "No apologies needed," smiled a Pub Night spokesperson. "In fact, should you see the Bowleys around town, you might call out greetings. Arthur's birthday is March 11."