Sunday, October 11, 2009

October Meeting Report

To take advantage of a lascar-themed evening, the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit traveled to the Indian sub-continent on October 3, 2009, for its quarterly meeting.
Or rather, traveled to the Indian restaurant, Ruchi Cuisine located on the Northwestern Highway along the frontier of Southfield, Mich.

At 6:17 p.m., the society’s esteemed Gasogene, John Kramb, called the assemblage to order and welcomed members, various dignitaries and invited guests. Following a brief recitation of club business and various Sherlockian news, the 46 members and guests strolled to the other side of Ruchi’s to partake from chafing dishes loaded with tasty Indian fare, ranging from the mild to the mildly volcanic.

During the appetizers and meal, glasses were hoisted and the standard toasts were offered to Watson’s Second Wife (by Jim Conway), Mrs. Hudson (by Chris Music), Mycroft Holmes (by Frank Hostnik) and, to the musical accompaniment of temple bells, The Woman (by the dynamic duo of Bev and Michael Ellis). Longtime Mendicant Jerry Alvin also recalled that the composer Vivaldi had red hair and so offered his additional toast to the benefactor of the famed Red-Headed League, that American millionaire from Lebanon, Penn., the late Ezekiah Hopkins.

Next, your Tantalus briefly elucidated the key points in the evening’s assigned reading, “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” which involved a lascar, a mysterious disappearance and a professional mendicant – not to mention several suppositions on why, in the story, Watson’s own wife called him “James” instead of “John.”

Following that discussion, the evening’s program began as the club officers briefly illuminated what their job titles (Gasogene, Commissionaire, Tantalus and Tidewaiter) meant. For some strange reason, most had some connection to drinking. This led into the evening’s PowerPoint presentation featuring club Lascar Richard Jeryan, who left no stone unturned explaining his title, which, in the end, came down to Lascar the Sailor Man – a sailor that is in service to the British Navy and the English East India Company.

Drawing on help from the crowd, Anne Musial then revealed the evening’s free raffle winners, Ann LaFond, who took home a book detailing a tale Watson only mentioned (Holmes’ encounter with the Amateur Mendicant Society) and Eddie Stein, who scored a book containing several short Holmes exploits not scribed by Watson at all.

The evening’s $1 raffle raised $48 for club coffers as Michael Jones won a two-volume set of Leslie Klinger’s annotated Sherlock Holmes stories, graciously donated by noted vagabond Phil Jones.

As the evening wore down, Commissionaire Chris Music reminded members and guests to mark their calendars for the society’s winter meeting on January 30, 2010 in more familiar digs, the British Commonwealth Club in scenic Warren, Mich.

With that, Anne Musial, Gayle Conway and Gasogene Kramb led the traditional singing of “God Save The Queen” and Tidewaiter Eddie Stein offered the nightcap by reading the poem “221B.”
Meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m.

Fulsomely submitted,

Robert Musial


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