I was recently at the Rome Floyd Chamber’s Annual Meeting and if you’ve never been, I highly encourage you to attend.

I think you have to sort of be fancy to be invited (which I am NOT) but the newspaper had half a table there so that’s how I got in. This is the third one I’ve been to and it’s actually a lot more entertaining than you’d think.

This year it was held at the Taylor Estate, which is off Minshew Road in Shannon. Sure I had to drive all over hill and dale to get there, almost hitting two deer in the middle of the road, BUT it’s a beautiful venue and I hope to attend more fancy functions there in the future.

So I think how it works is, businesses purchase a table at the event, or I suppose the Chamber just gives certain businesses tables. But anyhow, there are all these tables with nice tablecloths and centerpieces.

My favorite part about these types of events the paper pays for is that the food and drinks are free. The Season Events catered and the food was really good. There was also a bar set up in the corner not far from my table, which made it very convenient for me to get up and get all the ... waters ... I wanted to drink.

Honeymoon Bakery also had a table set up in the back with the most delicious cookies and cupcakes. But the best thing they were serving, in my opinion, were these little fruit tarts that were sort of a mini cheesecake topped with fresh fruits. I ate about seven of those things.

The best thing about an event like this is that I get to see people I’d never normally see on a day-to-day basis because they’re in a higher socio-economic class than I am. But the Chamber Annual Meeting is the great equalizer. None of them are better than me when we’re at this event because we’re all really there for the free food and to rub elbows with people we think can contribute to our upward mobility.

Actually, I take that back. The people who get tables in the front of the room are simply better than the rest of us. But you know what? Those of us who sat in the back were having a good time. That’s where the fun happens.

The program for the evening is basically the chamber sort of patting itself on the back and giving awards to local people and businesses. So after listening to all the stuff they were saying, I came up with a ... um, we’ll call it a drinking game for next year.

Here’s the game. Throughout the evening, various people get up on stage and speak or there are videos of people speaking. The game is you have to take a shot (or a swig of your drink) every time someone says one of these things ...

1. Honor/Honored. This is such an honor, we’re here to honor, I’m honored to be nominated, that was quite an honor ... they must have said that word 100 times that night. There were seven award recipients (who I lovingly called the Magnificent Seven) and they all said several times in their nomination videos that they were honored.

2. Servant’s heart. This was the trendy phrase of the night. Apparently everyone at the chamber either has a servant’s heart or the person they were talking about had a servant’s heart. Who knew servant’s hearts were so commonplace?

3. Moving forward.

4. Innovative.

5. Community.

So next year if you attend the event (and if I’m invited back) please join me in playing Chamber Shots and taking a drink every time someone says one of these phrases. I’ll be at one of the tables in the back. Please come find me.

Switching gears to another fun event, I’d also like to mention that there’s murder in the air. Every year Floyd Against Drugs puts on a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater event to raise funds for their programs and activities.

It’s always a really fun time for everyone involved. Here’s what happens.

Folks pay to have dinner together and a “cast” of well-known Rome residents dress in ridiculous costumes and serve as the night’s entertainment. Each event has a theme and the cast must interact with each other and with the dinner guests throughout dinner. But sometime before dinner ends, someone is murdered and the guests have to figure out who did it.

Over the years it’s turned out to be quite a hilarious production and the folks who attend come back every year because they have so much fun. This year’s event will take place Thursday, March 19, at the Forum River Center. The cast includes Gail Johnson, Robert Smyth, Brad Bushnell, Bo Bushnell, Melinda Strickland, Scotty Hancock, Cathy Kerce, Rhonda Wallace, J.J. Johnson, Ryan Cox, Elaine Abercrombie and yours truly.

The theme for this year’s event is “A Retired Superhero Reunion To Die For,” so we’ll all be dressed up as washed-up superheros who all have a beef with one another.

I promise it’s gonna be a fun time. Contact Catherine at 706-291-5187 if you’d like to be a sponsor or if you’d like ticket information. All the money goes to Floyd Against Drugs and the very important work they do for the community, so please sponsor or buy a ticket to attend. It’s a great date night activity or just a fun evening for you and your friends to be a part of.

See y’all there.

Severo Avila is Features Editor for the Rome News-Tribune.

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