Harry J. Carter Memorial
Esprit du Vent
My Brother & Sister Morganeers:
About six lifetimes ago, I was sitting in Fraunces’ Tavern knocking-back black-n-tans with Wes Fredricks and Harry Carter. We were high on the success of The First Annual Autumn MOG. President Emeritus Harry was then editor of the prestigious Morganeer, I was president and Wes was running the Second Annual Autumn MOG. The club virtually percolated with energy and it was a time of high adventure. Harry looked up, wiped the suds from his lips and pronounced, “This club needs a ‘most valuable player’ award and ... damn it all I want to be the first one to win it!!!”
At that moment was born ESPRIT DU VENT (Spirit of the Wind), the esteemed good clubmanship award of the 3/4 Morgan Group, Ltd. Unfortunately, Harry’s life ended before the first presentation of the
Award at The Second Annual Autumn MOG in 1980. Rather than just give him the award posthumously,--most would have agreed that he deserved it--the officer cadre decided to let Harry Carter’s legend live on by naming the award after him. It became The Harry J. Carter Memorial Esprit du Vent. I called Reg Beer in Ontario and talked him into hand-carving the trophy. I think its beauty is a result not only of Reg’s talent but also of the love he put into the project.
Putting Harry’s name on the Esprit du Vent changed the nature of the award indelibly. We now had a real role model with which to compare nominees. We could ask questions like, “Does this guy or gal measure up to Harry?” Very few did.
Stephanie and I are recipients of Esprit du Vent and I frequently doubt that I could hold a candle to him. Harry truly was The Master Morganeer. Anyone who wants a clearer picture of this club legend can find one by reading 1980-4_Morganeer.
About half the current club never knew Harry but they do know those Morganeers who have been chosen to receive the award. From the very first, each recipient has added their own brand of club spirit to how we view Esprit du Vent and the nature of the award subtly changed over time. Today, it’s a different club, different times, different economics and different lives.
Still, the fundamental things apply. Your heart feels the same today as it would have then when you witness in someone those sterling qualities that the award represents. As I reflect on the list of recipients, I am struck... not in awe of the list but rather in awe of all that club energy that dwells in people whose names have not yet made it onto the list. I can think of several who easily exemplify Harry’s standards but who have been deprived of it by time and circumstances.
It is easy to say, “... these legends are all larger than life and from long ago...” but it is not true. Both Esprit du Vent and the spirit it represents dwell here among us tonight. All you have to do is set your sights on next year, reach into your heart, and act like you want it.
Spider J.C. Bulyk