Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Meeting Report


A 98-year-old private hunt club tucked discreetly near the mansions of Grosse Pointe provided the setting for the 2009 annual spring meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit.
Held at the Grosse Pointe Hunt Club in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, the meeting was called to order at 1:12 p.m. on Sunday, April 19 by John Kramb, the society’s esteemed Gasogene.


Standing before the clubhouse’s large fireplace and several original oil paintings of English hunting scenes, Gasogene Kramb introduced various AMS board members as well as several new attendees.

A tasty repast of seared salmon, flank steak or chicken-and-mushroom crepes was soon on its way to the 48 members and guests who had come from far and wide, braving freeway construction, vague MapQuest directions and other hazards of the open road.

Their fortitude was amply rewarded by the menu and the program, not to mention the standard honorary toasts offered up during the afternoon. Among those singled out by the hoisted glass were The Woman (offered by Fritzi Roth), Mrs. Hudson (by AMS Commissionaire Chris Music), Mycroft Holmes (by Jim Conway) and Watson’s Second Wife (by Terri Roth).

Befitting the special location were two special toasts, the first to the late Natasha Richardson, who got her acting start as Violet Hunter with Jeremy Brett in the 1985 Granada TV episode of “The Copper Beeches” (offered by AMS Tantalus Rob Musial) and finally, to Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania who bequeathed a fortune for the propagation of red heads and, apparently, the Detroit Red Wings (by Jerry Alvin).

Gasogene Kramb then briefly enumerated both the many Detroit-area clubs the AMS has gathered in over the years as well as the clubs mentioned in The Canon. Phil Jones next touched on his exhaustive work, cataloging the many Holmesian pastiches done over the years.

With the luncheon concluded, it was on to the meat-and-potatoes of the program, a scholarly dissertation by Sam Stinson of “The Brook Street Horror,” his story-behind-the-story of the meeting’s assigned reading, “The Adventure of The Resident Patient.”

Stinson noted the discrepancies in the both the tale and the adventure itself, foremost among them what happened to the purported 7,000 pounds that Blessington had kept in his trunk. It was Stinson’s view that Dr. Percy Trevelyan and Arthur Conan Doyle (Dr. Watson’s literary agent) were likely linked to the money by their shadowy ties to Freemasonry, which also points to a suspicious footnote in the Jack the Ripper murders.

With that line of reasoning fresh in their minds, the room turned to a 24-answer quiz on “The Resident Patient,” with several attendees earning high accolades as consulting investigators. Bobbie Gorevitz got 23 correct answers; hot on her trail were Tom Biblewski (22) and Frank Hostnik (20) – enough to earn all three the society’s beribboned medals of honor.

The raffles were next with David Gorevitz taking home the current edition of the Baker Street Journal, Eddie Stein winning the Sherlock Holmes action figure and newcomer Mel Rourk scoring the Sherlock Holmes English pewter pocket magnifier. Proceeds from the $1 raffle for the magnifier totaled $41, a princely sum that the society has decided not to invest with Bernie Madoff.

In closing, Anne Musial and Dr. David Mohan led the assembled multitude in a rousing chorus of “God Save the Queen” and Tantalus Musial concluded the event by reading the traditional poem, “221-B” by Vincent Starrett. A brief comment before the reading also cleared up a strange phrase in the poem dealing with a “view hal-loo.”

With that, we bid you a “view goo-bye.”



Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial
AMS Tantalus