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PANDA met at the residence of one of its illustrious members. Unfortunately, there were two no shows. One was teaching while the other was basking in the Florida sunshine. I could definitely detect a bit of envy toward the member basking under Old Sol. Especially since we’ve all been freezing our heinies off here in WNC. A little warmth would be nice for everyone.

As I mentioned in my last PANDA post, we were given the assignment to read and report about “A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal” by Ben Macintyre.

We all agreed that the book was well-written and informative. But, what puzzled most of us was the fact that Philby, the traitor, had an allegiance to Russia right from the beginning. Over the years, his loyalty to Russia never diminished. What also fascinated our group was the matter-of-fact manner in which Philby talked about his exploits as a spy for Russia. He showed no remorse for the many, many operators killed by the KGB due to his slimy intelligence work.

After beating this dead horse, we took a break to nosh on some fantastic French baguettes from City Bakery, Hard Salami, Genoa Salami, two different types of cheeses and gourmet mustard. This scribe allowed himself a Fat Tire beer from New Belgium Brewing while the clan succumbed to soft drinks. They missed out on some great brew.

After filling our bellies, everything turned toward politics despite the absence of our resident rabble rouser. And, yes, health care was also thrown about. All had something to say about that subject. After we tried to fix the ailments of our beloved country, we segued into the choices for our next reading assignment.

The unanimous winner was, “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their quest for gold at the 1936 Olympics” by Daniel James Brown.

Our next jamboree will be in April. Stayed turned! Let’s hope for a better turn-out.

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