Tuesday, March 27, 2007

North Miami Chamber Of Commerce - Networking Central

I first became involved with the North Miami Chamber of Commerce perhaps thirty-five years ago, maybe more, when I was shooting for the local paper. They needed somebody to photograph the girls in the annual Miss North Miami Pageant for the pageant book, photograph the pageant itself, as well as the coronation ball. Various local businesses each sponsor one of the contestants, so it was a great opportunity to meet potential clients. Also, I was still at an age where it was kind of neat to be hanging out with a bunch of great looking young women, take them to the nearby park, and shoot photos. The Chamber paid me, the sponsors bought pictures, and not only did the girls buy pictures but they often had me shoot their model composites or wedding albums as well.

I ended up shooting photos of custom jewelry for a local jeweler, tennis racquets and golf clubs for a publisher of trade journals, and some interesting pictures of concrete being crushed for a local testing lab. Photographing the girls was more fun.

As I outgrew the hangin'-out-with-the-sexy-chicks phase of life I cleaned up my act, cut my hair, shaved off the beard, and started wearing suits and ties. I got elected to the board of directors of the Chamber. I guess I was probably on the board at least ten years, but somehow I also ended up on the boards of the local YMCA, the North Miami Mayor's Economic Task Force, and found myself being vice-chair of the North Miami Planning Comission, all at the same time. I kept trying to resign from something, ANYTHING, but I kept getting talked into staying. My life, it seemed, had become an endless series of meetings. Finally I put my foot down and resigned from everything. That was about a dozen years ago.

Little by little Councilman Scott Galvin got me involved with the city's Historical Society, tricked me into accepting a seat on the city's Board of Adjustment, and I'm not really sure how I got on the Disaster Preparedness Board, but I'm on it! How could I ever extricate myself from this mess? Maybe find some time to do some fishing again?

The suits and ties stayed in the closet. I started wearing faded jeans and short sleeved open neck fishing shirts again. I went everyplace wearing deck shoes without socks, let my beard grow, about never get my hair cut, and I still have to remind the city manager and the police chief that it's cool to call me "Al", no need for the Mr. Kaplan formality. It must be the grey hair.

And what brought me to the North Miami Chamber of Commerce this lovely day? That's where the Historical Society meets. That and a free cup of coffee!

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