Friday, June 28, 2013

Next Meeting

Mark your calendars... the Fall Meeting of the Amateur Mendicant Society will be held on Saturday evening October 5th, at the British Commonwealth Club in Warren.   Our speaker will be Regina Stinson, BSI and our story will be The Adventure of the Dying Detective.  More details to come!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spring Meeting Report

On the lovely spring Saturday of June 15, 2013, the Amateur Mendicant Society of Detroit ventured to wilds of Troy, Michigan to investigate a new meeting venue – the Granite City Food & Brewery.

Soon, the front room of the said-named public house was filled to capacity with 65 hardy souls gathered in Sherlockian fellowship.

Gasogene John Kramb gaveled the meeting to order at 1:14 p.m. and introduced the society’s board members, the members of its planning committee and eight first-time attendees, among them Jon and Lisa Gandelot, Dave McCloskey and Allison Bellemore, Sean, Kaitlin and Mike Clyne and Cate Hallisy.

In addition, the meeting offered a rare photo opportunity – the gathering of four illustrious AMS Gasogenes: Kramb and three of his predecessors: Roy Pilot, Eddie Stein and Tom Voss.
(Past Gas - or is that Passed Gas?)

Long-time member Phil Jones also offered attendees a chance to review two books he’d brought along; including one on the BBC’s latest Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as the chance to attend an upcoming “Hound of the Baskervilles” play in Eastpointe, which is way far off-Broadway.

As Granite City publicans circulated amongst the crowd taking and fulfilling luncheon orders, the obligatory toasts were offered, to The Woman (by Patience Nauta), Watson’s Second Wife (Al Calderini) and Mrs. Hudson (Tom Voss). The toast to Mycroft Holmes was sadly scuttled because that toaster (Bev Sobolewski) had apparently been temporarily waylaid by Prof. Moriarty’s minions on her way to the meeting.

Soon, all in attendance were sated by the Granite City’s menu:  first course choices of baked French onion soup or cheddar and ale soup or either a Caesar or a house salad followed by either the grilled garlic butter sirloin, breaded Canadian walleye, chicken Marsala or the grilled chicken and asparagus linguini. The fare was finished off with that uniquely American dessert, chocolate mousse shooters. 

Following that gustatory sojourn, AMS Tantalus Rob Musial offered discussion points on the meeting’s assigned reading, “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet.” Attendees offered mostly correct responses to his questions but debate lingered on two perplexing points in the story: Why banker Holder took the priceless crown home with him instead of leaving it in his bank vault and just how he was going to repair the mangled artifact over the weekend in time to give it back on Monday to his illustrious client. (Or would Prince Albert be canned for getting what amounts to a $6.5 million paycheck loan in today’s money for such a national treasure?)

Unfortunately, the next event, the awarding of the annual Beggar’s Cup for the year’s best presenter of Sherlockian scholarship had to be postponed until next time because that as-yet-unrevealed awardee had also apparently been temporarily waylaid by Moriarty’s men.

Fortunately, the next course provided the real meat-and-potatoes of the afternoon.  After an introduction by AMS Commissionaire and archivist Chris Music, longtime member Jerry Alvin took us down a ramble into the AMS past – vividly recalling to all the 1970s resurrection of the society, largely due Aubrey Roberts, Gene Leeb and a collection of scholars at the ivy-covered Wayne State University. Many current stalwart members exist from that halcyon period, including Bobbie Gorevitz, Richard and Chris Jeryan, Tom Voss, Eddie Stein and Jerry and Mitzi Alvin.
(Prof. Jerry Alvin)

After those memories were shared (and enhanced by a facsimile of the actual December 10, 1975 meeting at the late Sixpence Restaurant in Warren, Michigan), Gasogene Kramb revealed his own exhaustive word search investigation. It revealed numerous veiled references to that day’s venue in the Canon, including 18 mentions of the word “granite” and 144 mentions of “city” in some fashion, including such tenuous links as “menda-city,” “fero-city” and “simpli-city.” There were, he said, also four references in the Sacred Writings to “beer” but none, sadly, to “brewery.”

Before the natives could turn restless, Anne Musial held the random door prize drawing, with Al Calderini winning a Sherlock Holmes pub towel and Dave McCloskey winning a new book of Holmesian pastiches, donated by Phil Jones.

The $1-a-chance raffle, which raised $47 in proceeds to benefit the society’s many charitable contributions, saw Calderini score again, along with Ann LaFond, Craig Grant and Sam Stinson (a major domo in the Ribston-Pippins scion) winning their choice of rare Sherlockian coffee mugs, emblazoned with quotes from the most famous tales and reproductions of Sidney Paget’s drawings of the Master.

In miscellaneous business, Commissionaire Music revealed that the next meeting would likely be in September and directed the faithful to the AMS website and Facebook page.

With the meeting concluding, Anne Musial and Gayle Conway led the assembled voices in a stirring rendition of “God Save the Queen,” followed by AMS Lascar Richard Jeryan’s haunting rendition of the Vincent Starrett poem, “221B,” at the conclusion of which the meeting was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Musial

AMS Tantalus