Dave’s Circle of Honor Blog

The Supreme Knight’s Circle of Honor Award recognizes those jurisdictions who have led the Order through excellence in membership growth. This past year our Immediate Past State Deputy David Whatmuff and our Former State Membership director Patrick Farrelly achieved 100% percent or more of their annual membership and other goals and were recognized as Circle of Honor Award winners.  They received a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico with other COH winners from other jurisdictions who won as well.  Here is David’s blog of their trip:

Sunday June 18th

Our daughter Rachel picked us up for the airport at about 5:30 and, since there was no traffic this early on a Sunday morning, dropped us off with Happy Father’s Day wishes at about 6:15.

We got checked in and through security with no problems, and had plenty of time to have a leisurely breakfast while we waited for the first leg of our flight to Los Cabos, through LA.

At the Gate we happened to be sitting next to the flight attendants waiting for the plane to come in, and exchanged pleasant “Good Morning”s.

This exchange continued on the flight, one of the flight attendants expressing an interest in our trip, and on learning that it was a Knights of Columbus award trip, she stopped by a couple of times to chat. It turned out that she had a nephew who had been a KC field agent in North Dakota and had a number of priests in the family, one recently ordained with a 4th Degree Honor Guard. She had also been to Los Cabos a number of times, and took my cell phone number so that she could send me recommendations for restaurants in the area.

Just before we landed, she mentioned that one of the other attendants on the flight was actually scheduled to the Los Cabos flight too, and she would look out for us. (More on this to come)

We landed in LA and disembarked just 3 gates away from the departure gate for our next flight … and there was Patrick and Marianne, waiting for the same flight! The time passed quickly as we chatted and shared our feelings of excitement about the trip.

On boarding, as we passed one of the flight attendants, she said “Hello, you must be David and Marty, Kim told me to look out for you. She had lots of nice things to say about you!” 😊

The same girl happened to be manning the drinks trolley, and when Marty asked for a Gin and Tonic (Bombay Sapphire of course), and I reached for my wallet, she waved her hand and said “Oh no, this one’s on me … and why don’t we make it a double!” 😊

On landing in Los Cabos … a really (!!) hard landing due to some turbulence as we approached the runway … we had to wait quite a while for our luggage, and lost contact with Patrick and Marianne, who didn’t check any bags.

We had been warned not to talk to anyone inside the airport, who would try to “capture” us with timeshare deals, but to make our way to “Umbrella 10” outside. However, we weren’t warned how aggressively convincing these people were, and despite fighting our way through a whole gang of these salesmen, were almost caught by one who flashed some credentials at us, telling us he was with the airport authority, and led us over to a desk with an Umbrella sticker on it. I say “almost” because when I mentioned Knights of Columbus, the momentary puzzlement on his face before he said “Yes, yes, this way sir!”, was enough to make me suspicious, and I grabbed Marty’s hand and we ignored his protestations as we continued to “run the gauntlet”. Finally, with great relief, we spotted Bob Ennis, who led us out to the “real” umbrella 10, and the people waiting to transport us to the resort. <Phew!>

Patrick and Marianne had already left by this time, but we were joined by another couple from Alaska, our luggage was loaded into a minibus, and we set off.

Our friendly driver kept up a continuous rapid-fire description of the countryside in heavily-accented English as we drove, and despite only understanding half of it, this kept us entertained for the 30 minutes or so that it took to get to the resort. At one point, he said “I have a question for you … beer, water, or Tequila?”, and then with a laugh, he pulled to the side of the road and produced a bottle of Silver Patron from a cooler, which he poured into plastic cups and handed to us!

On arriving at the resort, we were led into a room for hotel registration and check in with the Knights, accompanied by a margarita of course, and then to our room. I have to say that the location and architecture of the hotel takes your breath away, and the rooms are beautiful and spacious, as you can see from the photographs.

Unfortunately we were too late for the 4pm mass, but we had an hour or so to relax, shower and change into casual clothes for the welcome reception at the Amet Patio. (See the schedule)

On arriving at the reception we were met at the door by a waiter with a tray of (what else) margaritas, met up with Patrick and Marianne, and proceeded to have a great time renewing old acquaintances and forging new ones.

Waiters were circulating with trays of little appetizers and drinks, and of course taking orders for any wine, beer, or mixed drinks you wished.

There were several buffet stations around this beautiful space, but I only had the time to visit two of them which I can describe here:

A taco station serving Spanish rice, refried beans, deep-fried fish, pulled pork, flank steak, shrimp, roasted vegetables, and of course sauces and salsas.

A desert station serving crème-caramel, mousse, rice pudding, cakes to name only a few.

We talked and ate and drank until we couldn’t do any more, and as Marty and I made our way back to our room, we were amazed to see that it wasn’t yet 9pm! It had been a long and exhausting day and we couldn’t wait to get to bed. The day was not yet over … there was a tap at the door, and I opened it to find a waiter with a tray of snacks and an iced bucket containing a variety of beers. When I protested that I hadn’t ordered this, he told me it was a gift, from whom I know not!

Monday June 19th

I was awake quite early, and sat out on our little patio with a cup of delicious (but strong!) coffee made in our room. It was very peaceful, with the silence broken only by singing birds, and the sound of the waves crashing on the beach down the hill.

When Marty woke we got ready and made our way at 8am to the Mila Ballroom for the Family Breakfast and Lecture.

On chatting with other attendees, we discovered that others had had similar experiences with a waiter delivering unexpected gifts of beer and snacks as they were preparing to retire, so we no longer had feelings of guilt that we might have received someone else’s room service order! 😊

Round tables were arranged in the Mila Ballroom, and we sat with Patrick and Marianne and others including JC and Manon from North Carolina, and Jose Jimenez and his wife.

We had a delicious breakfast from a buffet including fruit, French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs with ham, and surprisingly, beef fajitas!

A short movie was played during breakfast, with SK Patrick Kelly offering his apologies for being unable to join us, but assuring us of his congratulations and good wishes.

When breakfast was complete, we were treated to an entertaining and inspiring talk from Monsignor Eduardo Chavez on Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. (Spellchecker had trouble with that native name!) Monsignor Chavez served as the postulator for the canonization of St. Juan Diego.

After this, we had time for a short rest before the men returned to the room at 10:30 for a membership meeting led by Mark McMullen. Successful State Deputies and Membership Directors, especially those achieving Pinnacle, talked about how they were able to achieve their success.

When I got back to our room, we decided to have a dip in one of the pools … there are about 10 pools at this hotel, and they are arranged in “tiers” on two sides down the hill to the beach.

Initially, I was just planning to hide under a beach umbrella while Marty enjoyed the water, but it was so peaceful and warm, that I changed my mind and joined her in the water. We happened to choose a pool near the top of the hill, and you are able to look over others and see the ocean from the “infinity” edge. Quite a view! There were only a couple of others in and around the pool, including the grown daughter Kathy of one of the friends we had previously made at State Deputy meetings, Frank from South Carolina.

Waiters are always available to bring refreshing drinks, and we spent the afternoon lounging in the water and sipping mango margaritas.

We took a stroll around, to look down at the beach, but unfortunately there were signs prohibiting access (not sure why). However, I was able to take a few photos and a short movie of the surf and surrounding coast.

We also discovered that most of the members of our group were in the pool described as the “adult pool” on the other side (East?) of the property.

In the evening we met Patrick and Marianne for an enjoyable supper at the Nak Grill and Bar. I chose the “catch of the day”, which was a nice piece of Grouper in a mildly spicy cream sauce, and Marty had barbecued Shrimp on a skewer.

We were all exhausted and retired pretty early.


Tuesday June 20th

Again, we were awake quite early, and we strolled down the hill at about 8:30 for breakfast at the Ua Culinary Artisans restaurant down near the beach. There was a buffet available (which one of the ladies later described as fantastic), but we both chose to have the American Breakfast. This started with a small dish of Greek Yoghurt topped with small berries, then a large dish of fruit … pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, and granola, and finally the usual eggs, bacon, and hash browns. This was served with toast and croissants, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and of course that delicious (if a bit strong) coffee!

Our waitress Daniele was kind enough to take a photo of us as we sat eating our breakfast with an ocean view.

Back to the room for a little siesta (it was still not quite 10am!), and then back to our favorite pool. This time we met up with Walter Winkle from Michigan (who is our class “president”) and his wife Karen. The afternoon passed quickly with great conversation and refreshing drinks.

We came back to our room to shower and dress in our “nice” clothes for the evening described as the Awards Reception/Dinner and Ceremony.

As we entered, we were of course offered drinks including (but not limited to) the familiar margaritas, and we met up with Patrick and Marianne, who already had selected a table. There was also a selection of hors d’oeuvres brought around by the waiters, on little spoons, including skewered beef and vegetables, and other little bites.

We were greeted by Mark McMullen, and he informed us that before dinner was served, we would have the Circle of Honor Award Ceremony. Each State Deputy and Membership Director was introduced, and led forward to be congratulated and have our picture taken with Deputy Supreme Knight Paul O’Sullivan, as he presented us with the crystal COH Award. Bob Ennis also presented us with a certificate and congratulations signed by Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly.

Dinner was spectacular, starting with a Grilled Watermelon salad with walnut dressing and Goat cheese, a main dish of a beef filet and grilled lobster tail, with sweet potatoes and asparagus, and dessert of a Mexican style “churro” cup with vanilla ice cream. Of course waiters were continually circulating filling wine glasses and offering any mixed drinks we desired.

A dance band played throughout, and continued for the rest of the evening, and we took the opportunity to work off some of the calories we had ingested with that delicious dinner.


Wednesday June 21st

After the energetic Tuesday evening, we slept in a bit this morning I didn’t wake until 6:30 which is late for me.

Instead of going out for breakfast we decided that I would pick up something from the deli. I bought two large coffees, a bagel with cream cheese and a turkey croissant. It was quite good but the price of $50 plus tip surprised me a bit!

We relaxed a bit on the patio as we ate our breakfast, then came in and took a nap.

About noon we went down to our favorite quiet pool. Karen Winkle was there and we spent some time chatting and having a drink with her.

Back to our room in time to shower and dress for our State Deputy Class of 2020 toast and picture at 3:30. A number of the class had booked a sunset cruise, but space was limited and there were no available tickets. After photos the cruise group left and we discussed how we would spend the evening.

Since Patrick and Marianne had already eaten Marty and I had room service … Marty had a cheeseburger and fries, and I had a baked salmon with green beans and creamed sweet potatoes. We were pleasantly surprised that our meal only cost about the same as the deli food this morning!

Met up with them for drinks afterwards at the Niparaya sushi bar. Marty had an Espresso Martini and I had a Perfect Martini, ordered very dry, Bombay Sapphire Gin, with three olives (reminiscent of our 40th anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot, but didn’t come up to expectations)

Very pleasant evening with Patrick and I exchanging travel stories, especially of trips to Austria.


Thursday June 22nd

Woke early this morning about 4am and finished yesterdays blog entry, then went back to sleep.

Had breakfast down at the Ua place … despite our good intentions to have a lighter breakfast of fruit and yogurt we both had the American breakfast, same as we did on Tuesday. We justified this by saying that we wouldn’t be having anything else until our dinner this evening.

Back for another siesta and then down to our favorite quiet pool at noon where we again met up with Walter and Karen Winkle. His membership director Dan was also there with his wife and teenage twin daughters. Enjoyed friendly conversation and sipping of mango daiquiris along with occasional sightings of the iguana that we had seen previously.

Back to our room at 3pm for another siesta (are we allowed 2 in one day?) to prepare us for the evening dinner and dance.

We arrived at the same ballroom with waiters at the door offering trays of drinks, including (of course) margaritas. As before there was lots of room so no worries about finding a table, and waiters were circulating with little hors d’oeuvres and additional drinks. Shortly after sitting Bob Ennis asked me if the other seats at the table were not taken, and would we mind if he invited another family sitting alone at a table behind us to join us. Of course we were delighted, and Cicero, a GA from Washington state came to the table with his wife and (guessing) 18 year old daughter. Cicero and his wife were originally from São Paulo Brazil, moved to Connecticut where his daughter was born, then to Hawaii, and recently to Washington state. We enjoyed their company, and I chatted at length with Cicero and later with his delightful daughter, who expressed an interest in traveling to England.

The dinner was a buffet … probably one of the most extensive and various I’ve ever experienced (with the exception perhaps of some Sunday brunches we’ve had in our travels). There was a table of little salads, tomatoes, salsas, guacamole, black bean hummus, to mention a few. Then a table with a choice of soups, including one loaded with seafood that I sampled. And then a huge variety of hot dishes in heated trays (I counted 10!) containing preparations of meats, fish, chicken, vegetables, lobster. Finally, a table of desserts, if you could find room … Marty and I managed a little cup of trifle (or very similar), but there were other choices of fruits, pastries and cakes, which we just were unable to sample. A great band called California something played, and we danced the evening (and calories) away.

Various Members of Supreme staff and their families were available for photographs, and we took advantage of this to have pictures taken with Supreme Secretary Patrick Mason, Mark McMullen, and Bob Ennis, all with Patrick and Marianne of course.

The final dance came all too soon, but just before we dropped from exhaustion! 🤪


Friday June 23rd

Our last full day. There was a special event for the few who reached the dizzy heights of “Pinnacle”, but the remainder of us had a “day off” to relax and recover from from our exhausting evening!

We enjoyed our American breakfast again with a very chatty and friendly waiter called Eduardo, who was very complimentary of the Hawaiian shirt I was wearing. 😊

As we finished and signed the bill he asked if he would see us again tomorrow. When we told him that unfortunately we would be leaving in the morning, he went to great lengths to explain that we could get a breakfast “to go”. He asked for help from another waiter when he couldn’t quite think of the phrase, but they came up with “box breakfast”. 😊

Back to the room for our first siesta of the day.

We relaxed and dozed for most of the day, then had room service for supper. I had the same hamburger that Marty had on Wednesday (was it? We completely lose track of the time and days. Our friend Karen from Michigan calls it Cabo time! 😊) Marty had Shrimp with pasta in a cream sauce, and we both had a glass of wine.

Then with a heavy heart we did most of our packing, just leaving out our sleepwear, toiletries, and clothes for tomorrow. Just kidding about the heavy heart … it has been wonderful but home and family love are calling! 😊

Saturday June 24th

Awakened pretty early to shower and finish packing. Since our transportation to the airport was arranged for 9am and our favorite breakfast place didn’t open until 7 we decided to have room service … it’s the same price so why not? That gave us a bit more control over the timing. We neither of us felt much like bacon and eggs and the rest, so we just ordered a light breakfast of fruit and granola, toast and croissants.

We said goodbye to our room at 8:30 and went to the lobby with our suitcases to check out and take our bus to the airport.

Bob Ennis, Jose Jimenez, Gary Morrissey, and Tom Milardo were all there to see us off, and we expressed our gratitude to them for all their hard work in arranging such a wonderful award trip. They stood in front of the hotel and waved goodbye as the bus pulled away … until we meet again at the Supreme Convention in Orlando at the end of July.

Many of our new friends were on the bus, including Cicero and his family, whose company we had enjoyed at the Thursday evening dinner dance. Others, including Patrick and Marianne were on later busses due to different schedules.

Arriving at the airport, we checked in and made our way through security to the departure gate for the first leg of our flight, to Los Angeles.

Boarding was a little unusual, being a short bus ride out to the tarmac and then lining up in the heat to climb up the steps to the airplane, otherwise the flight was uneventful.


However, this could not be said for the arrival in LA, and transfer to the flight to Minneapolis, which was a nightmare!

A long and complicated route, with airport staff pointing the way, led us to the immigration hall, where we were divided into two lines, one for US residents, and one for visitors. There were literally thousandsof people snaking back and forth in each line … taking about an hour to reach the desks where our passports were checked and we were questioned about our trip.

Next step was to go to the baggage claim to pick up our bags to go through Customs. This was relatively easy, but because of the long immigration process our bags were no longer on the carousel assigned to our flight, so we had to pick through lines of suitcases to find them.

Again we had a long and complicated route, directed by airport staff, and finally the bags were scanned and put on a conveyor to transport them to our next flight. To be honest I don’t remember going through any customs process but we were asked if we had brought anything in by the immigration officer who checked our passports, so maybe that was it?

At this point we appeared to be “on our own” to figure out where to go next, but I looked at the information sent to my phone by Delta, and it stated that our next flight would board at Gate 22 Terminal 3. Initially a search for signs to Terminal 3 was fruitless, but we continued walking and finally saw a small arrow pointing to an exit which said Terminal 3. Following this arrow we found ourselves outside, and I was looking for a bus or tram, but we just had to keep walking and following arrows. With our 2 hour layover now reduced to about 30 minutes we were starting to get a bit desperate!

Finally we came to an entrance which had a Delta sign on it and entered, hoping this was Terminal 3!

A sign inside indicated that Departures were on level 3 and we went up two levels of escalators, and then followed signs for Gates. Another long walk took us to another line for security, and frankly I had given up the possibility that we would make our connection, but we had no choice but to stand in line until our turn came to do all the usual stuff of emptying our pockets and bags into a bin and walking through a scanner.

Exiting security we saw a sign to Gate 22, walked along a hall and round the corner, hoping to find that the flight was still boarding. To our relief, the passengers arriving on our airplane were still disembarking and the departure time had been delayed 30 minutes! We even had time for a quick G&T before it was time for us to board!

What a relief to finally take our seats!

Breakfast seemed like a long time ago, and there had been no time for anything in LA, so we purchased a couple of sandwiches on the plane, which tasted great!

Arriving in Minneapolis only slightly later than the scheduled time, we were met by our Daughter Geb, and Grandson Evan, to be driven home … and what welcome sight that was! 😊

Marty’s final word on the subject “I NEVER want to fly through Los Angeles again!”

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