By ABBY SOUZA
Edna Bowcutt's face turned the color of a strawberry when a man wearing only a tiger-striped loincloth walked through the Tuolumne County supervisors chambers during a particularly well-attended meeting Tuesday and gave her a hug.
"I was so embarrassed," said Bowcutt.
The man, who turned out to be from Tuney Grams, a sing-a-gram company from Modesto, proceeded to serenade Bowcutt in front of nearly 40 county staff members who came to say goodbye. Bowcutt, the Board of Supervisors clerk, is retiring after 22 years.
"It's amazing that everyone kept such a good secret," Bowcutt said of the unique visitor, "because I know everybody."
Although Bowcutt's last day as the board clerk is May 2, yesterday's board meeting was the last she will take minutes for.
Supervisors passed a resolution honoring Bowcutt for her years of service, but such resolutions are normally done at the beginning of meetings.
When it didn't come early yesterday, she said she was relieved because she doesn't like public speaking. She said she thought the supervisors would present the resolution at a private dinner being held for her.
County staff members had other plans.
What turned out to be a fake 1:30 p.m. appointment was set on the agenda a "study session with all department heads."
But Bowcutt was given no information on the "study session" to include in the agenda.
"I was so mad there wasn't any background," Bowcutt said.
Actually, county staff members were told to come to surprise Bowcutt.
At 1:30, they passed the resolution, and as she approached the microphone to speak, the loincloth-clad man approached her.
County officials and staff members said they wanted to do something special for Bowcutt. "She's done her job, and she's been outstanding at it," said longtime Supervisor Larry Rotelli.
Rotelli and Bowcutt have worked together for 16 years. In her 12 years as board clerk, Bowcutt has worked with 24 supervisors.
Rotelli called Bowcutt "level headed" and said she's kept the board back on track.