Imagine the excitement at the Salem Theatre Company over the sellout crowd for last Saturday night’s performance of “Reckless,” a Christmas comedy.
Now imagine their disappointment when a party of 11 called to cancel. They couldn’t make it, they said, because they live in Salem, Ore., and just realized the theater was a 3,000-mile drive.
Is there a better salesman than Dick Lutts?
The 89-year-old Mr. Lutts is at it again this year — selling the Salem Rotary calendar. He sells more than any of the young hotshots in the club — 50 or so every year.
“I carry them with me,” he said. “The reason I can sell so many is because older women have got kids ...”
Lutts approaches old friends — women and men — at the YMCA or over at Tabernacle Church and suggests they buy a calendar for their children and grandchildren who have moved away. They love the idea because the calendar is full of great photos of Salem past and present.
This year’s Rotary calendar has beautiful shots of Salem, all taken by member Trip Mason. It costs $20 and is a perfect stocking stuffer. It also benefits a great cause — scholarships for Salem students heading to college.
And it’s a calendar that keeps on giving. Rotary holds a raffle drawing every week, and a lucky calendar purchaser wins $100. That’s 52 chances to win $100 — a lot better odds than Powerball.
The calendars are so popular that Lutts got a letter the other day enclosed with a check. It was from Ralph Osgood from Washington state.
“He grew up in Salem,” Lutts said. “He loves them because it reminds him of home.”
The calendars are on sale at the Hawthorne Hotel, The House of the Seven Gables, Waters & Brown and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.