Thoughts from Dr. Joe: The Juniors were puttin’ on the Ritz

Last Saturday afternoon I was settling in to binge-watch the last season of "Downton Abbey." If I got started at 4 p.m., I figured, I'd finish by 2 a.m. Sunday.

It was a typical Saturday afternoon. Kaitzer was multitasking. She was grading papers, cooking, doing laundry and cleaning closets. Since both kids are off to college, we're empty nesters, which gives her more time to accomplish those formidable tasks.

Kaitzer sashayed by me, carrying about 20 pounds of laundry. Oh! Kaitzer asked me not to mention her name in this write, so I'll refer to her as Beatrice.

"Joe," Beatrice said, as she barely peeked over the pile of laundry. "Don't forget we have the Juniors' fundraiser tonight at the country club."

"The Juniors," I remarked. "You mean like Danny and the Juniors ('At the Hop')?" I can be funnier than the sight of someone trying to put socks on a rooster. Not appreciating my humor, Beatrice glared at me with a deadpan stare. In 1965, I was Class Wit at Mount Saint Michael, and yet I get no respect.

I couldn't feign a stomachache, so I quickly responded, "I have nothing to wear."

In a calm voice, Beatrice replied, "Just be ready by 6."

I flew down to T.J. Maxx and grabbed a black shirt off the rack. Having a distinct eye for color coordination, I'd wear a black shirt with blue jeans. Black and blue. Perfect!

At the club, Beatrice was chatting up friends while I attempted to check in at the table in the foyer. A lady wearing a mask with feathers asked for my name. I was hesitant. I thought she'd run me through a database and find that I had delinquent library fines from the 1950s. Beatrice stepped up and saved me; everybody knew her.

I have to admit that the room was beautifully adorned. There was a distinctly festive atmosphere. Nevertheless, I began to shake, since it was the same room where I suffered through two years of cotillion with our offspring.

The La Cañada Junior Women's Club is rich in the tradition of service. The women live each day trying to accomplish something meaningful rather than merely exist. This is not mere rhetoric or self-reporting platitudes. The altruism of the members is deeply embedded in service to the community and making a difference. Their uniqueness lies in the diversity of services as their philanthropy represents the passions and will of its members. The theme of the evening was Mardi Gras and they raised funds for Five Acres and the Ronald McDonald House of Pasadena.

I sat at the table with the brass. President Brenda Gant, event co-chair, Rayni Peavy, Analily Park, Jane Owen and Beatrice. These women are steeped in altruism and give credence to Alexis de Tocqueville's thought, "Our greatness as a people is an aspect of our collective character manifesting itself through good works." All the ladies who gathered that evening, the likes of Tanya Pereira and Kelly Chamberlain, were a manifestation of that collective character.

I was worried that Beatrice spent too much time at the silent auction. I'd never get that new truck. I was so sad (ha!) when she was outbid and lost the Cowgirl Princess gift basket.

It was a fun evening. Great food, games, music and the camaraderie of like-spirited people. For the cost of two drink tickets, I bought the neatest ring that flashes multicolored lights.

The deejay played "Solamente," a spirited Spanish salsa. Beatrice dragged me onto the dance floor where Tamar Tujian and Alex Defaria were boogieing on down. But I'm now dancing with Alex, and Kaitzer with Tamar. Alex threw me around like a rag doll. I did not do badly for a guy with a new hip.

It was a great night and once again Kaitzer, I mean Beatrice, was right. Life's a dance, and you learn as you go.



JOE PUGLIA is a practicing counselor, a retired professor of education and a former officer in the Marines. Reach him at Visit his website at