Sunday, May 07, 2006

Spring Meeting Report

By Chris Music, Commissionaire

The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit held their Spring Meeting on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May. Thirty four members and guests gathered at Sheila Teas-- a traditional British tearoom located in historic Downtown Rochester, Michigan. Given the location, members found it appropriate to forsake their traditional pints of beer for a few nice cups of tea instead.

A beautiful Sunday afternoon at Sheila Teas

Gasogene John Kramb began the festivities by welcoming everyone to the meeting and introducing the board members in attendance (Tidewaiters Eddie Stein and Walter Young, Commissionaire Chris Music, Planning Committee Members Rob and Ann Musial, and Newsletter Editors Richard and Chris Jeryan). Soon afterwards a delicious lunch of Salmon Cakes and Shepherd’s Pie was served by our gracious hosts.

During lunch Walter Young introduced the following members who gave our Traditional Toasts:
- Dennis Petroni (The Woman)
- Walter Young (Watson’s 2nd Wife)
- Jim Conway (Mrs. Hudson)
- Michael Ellis (Mycroft Holmes)

In addition, Rob Musial gave a toast to ‘Young’ Stamford, and Gerry Alvin offered a toast to Ezekiah Hopkins of Lebanon, Pennsylvania – founder of the Red Headed League.

Gerry Alvin giving one of his famous toasts to Ezekiah Hopkins

Following lunch the members discussed the featured story for the afternoon – The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot. Gasogene Kramb led us in a lively historical and geographical discussion of Cornwall – home to the Pirates of Penzance, site of the first transatlantic radio transmission, and setting for our exciting story.

Rob and Ann Musial then facilitated another challenging quiz – this time won by member Michael Ellis. Michael was rewarded for his scholarship with a very handsome reproduction of the Baker Street Underground station sign – complete with Sherlock Holmes silhouette.

Our featured speaker for the afternoon was Dr. David Mohan. David gave a fascinating and learned paper on the derivation of the Devil’s Foot poison – “its effects compared with those in the mystery, and the region in Africa from whence these poisons come-along with the method in which they are employed in witch trials”. It was yet another example of the fine scholarship coming recently from our members.

Strychos nux-vomica (aka Strychnine)

Ann Musial, David Mohan, and John Kramb led us in the singing of ‘God Save the Queen’, and Eddie Stein closed the meeting with a reading of Vincent Starrett’s ‘221B’.

Ann Musial, David Mohan, and John Kramb sing 'God Save the Queen'

All-in-all, another wonderful meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit. See you all August 5th at the Summer meeting!

A room full of Happy Menicants!