Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter Meeting Report

Report of the January 19, 2013 meeting of The Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit

The dinner meeting was called to order at 7:11 p.m. by AMS Gasogene John Kramb, who welcomed 67 members and guests to the comfortable confines of the British Commonwealth Club in Warren, Michigan. The number of members and guests was second only to the September 2012 meeting which drew 68 attendees.

The Gasogene then introduced the AMS board members and the planning committee and welcomed nine new attendees to the proceedings.

After old and new business was dispensed with, AMS Tantalus Rob Musial explained in a toast that the club’s January meeting was always held to commemorate the birthday of Sherlock Holmes, in this case his 159th. Musial also explained the disciplined scholarship that went into establishing January 6th as the actual date of the Master’s birth.

The Tantalus also drew the crowd’s attention to the specially-created Sherlockian birthday cake arranged by Anne Musial and shaped in the form of a large hardbound book of Holmes’ adventures.

Then, whilst a fine buffet dinner of chicken, roast beef and a medley of vegetables was served, the standard toasts were offered to The Woman (by Fritzi Roth), Watson’s Second Wife (by Rob Musial), Mrs. Hudson (by Chris Jeryan) and Mycroft Holmes (by AMS Tidewaiter Eddie Stein).

And honoring a long-standing AMS tradition, Jerry Alvin lifted his glass for an extra toast to herald the resumption of the lockout-delayed NHL season by linking the Detroit Red Wings and hockey greats Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay (whose last name initials are R, H and L) with Ezekiah Hopkins, the late millionaire from Lebanon, Pennsylvania and founder of the Red-Headed League (RHL). As always, it took some time to get there but the journey was worth it.

As dinner was concluding, Gasogene Kramb summoned Elaine Roberts, who has been a member of the society since the 1970s, for special recognition. Besides the warm words, the recognition included a framed certificate, duly signed and authorized, and emblazoned with an actual old English tuppence.

Next, a diabolical quiz on the night’s assigned story, “The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place” was given by AMS Commissionaire Chris Music. The quiz was won by Larry Katkowsky, who received the evening’s Scholarship Medallion.

As for the evening’s story itself, member Phil Jones took the podium to explain that nuggets found in “Shoscombe” had given birth to at least 12 pastiches, one poem, 2 short stories, one novella, a play, five radio scripts and at least two TV scripts – and no doubt more.

The evening’s scholarly presentation proceeded with “The Enigma of Sherlock Holmes.” Researched and written by member Dennis Ward, it was introduced by him and featured a highly-professional DVD PowerPoint lecture narrated by Matthew Shepherd with technical engineering by Mark Shepherd. Ward examined how such a rational and calculating character as Holmes could have been invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man who spent the last years of his life believing in fairies and spirits and lecturing on same. The presentation gave those in attendance a better understanding of how the personal losses and influences in Doyle’s life caused this to be.

With dinner and the presentation concluded and furious negotiating finally slowing down on items offered in the annual Sherlockian Swap Meet, the evening’s raffle was held for several fabulous prizes donated by Bev and Michael Ellis and the club. Winners included Mark Shepherd (a bottle of Blue Diamond-Carbuncle riesling; Marshall Korby (a bottle of Gloria Scott vouvray), Chuck Longueuil (a boxed set of Sherlockian DVDs) and Christine Del Greco (a rare bottle of Baker Street champagne).

Gasogene Kramb then announced the next meeting would be in May with details to follow as soon as the planning committee can plan them and Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the multitude in the harmonious singing of “God Save the Queen.”

Finally, a dramatic reading of the poem, “221B” was offered by AMS Lascar Richard Jeryan and the meeting adjourned at 9:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Rob Musial
AMS Tantalus


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