Monday, November 10, 2008

Fall Meeting Minutes

Some 37 members and guests enjoyed their own version of Oktoberfest at the Fall 2008 meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.

Gasogene John Kramb called the Saturday afternoon luncheon meeting to order at 1:29 p.m. Oct. 11 inside a Detroit landmark, the Dakota Inn Rathskeller.

Gasogene Emeritus Roy Pilot briefly enumerated some of the big Holmesian events coming up in 2009 but these will be recapped at a later date.

Next, longtime Mendicant Bobbi Gorevitz received the club’s special framed award, complete with an English tuppence, from Gasogene Kramb in honor of her long and faithful service and cheerful demeanor.

The usual toasts were offered to The Woman (by Rob Musial); Mrs. Hudson (Phil Jones); brother Mycroft (Frank Hostnik) and Watson’s Second Wife (not sure who).

Also toasted was a strange ursine creature, Bearlock Holmes (Bev Sobolewski). It seems this diminutive Inverness-clad creature has been attending meetings for some time now, but without paying dues since the club has, at present, no membership category for teddy bears.

As for the repast, it consisted of the best of the wurst, including bratwurst and knackwurst plus schnitzel, German potato salad and yah, some strudel along with the appropriate beverages.

As for the meat of the program, Commissionaire Chris Music provided discussion points on the story of the day, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” which raised eyebrows in some circles by alluding to Violet Hunter’s secret crush on Holmes. It was enough to give one a case of the vapors.

Next, palates were whetted by Tantalus Musial who offered a brief monograph on “The Armament Question or Germans in the Canon,” a paper that deftly recounted the appearances of Germans in the Sherlock stories, not to mention in British royalty. Musial also managed to link that classic Canonical adventure, “A Scandal in Bohemia” to Detroit’s own Stroh’s Bohemian Beer.

All of which, of course, merely set the stage for the main course, a scholarly investigation by Dr. David Mohan on Holmes’ view of the fairer sex plus the identity of the real-life personage who served as the model for Irene Adler.

Contrary to the commonly-accepted wisdom of Holmes as a misogynist, Dr. Mohan was able to show that The Master had quite an understanding of and sympathy for women. Following the slenderest of threads, Mohan next categorically proved that the real model for Adler was none other than the famed chanteuse Lola Montez (cue the tambourine). Among the other facts marshaled by Mohan was the singular one that Ms. Montez had carried on with the model for the Bavarian count in the story, King Ludwig of Bavaria.

After the assemblage had time to digest that supposition, the door prize of a Sherlock Holmes pub towel was won and taken home by none other than member Cary Black.

Commissionaire Music then informed the group that the next meeting of the AMS would take place on January 31, 2009 at the club’s home base, the Commonwealth Club in suburban Warren. Details will be forthcoming.

Because of the location, there was one more song besides the club’s traditional coda, the singing of “God Save the Queen.” That occurred when a dirndl-clad waitress led the gathering in a rousing rendition of the Inn’s famous “Yah, dis ist mein Schnitzelbank” song.

With that, Gasogene Kramb adjourned the meeting at 4:31 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial