Monday, December 29, 2014

Masonic History

Historic Masonic Anniversary- 150 Years in Chelsea Early in January, 1865, a group of men gathered for the first Installation of Officers in the newly chartered Olive Lodge #156 of Free and Accepted Masons in Chelsea. Many of their names now adorn the names of the streets on which we live and many have still have family in our community. It was a small group but hey had taken the initiative to petition the Grand Lodge of Michigan for their own charter and were granted the right to lawfully meet and begin their charitable work. They were the pillars of our community- the business men, the farmers, the shop owners, everyday working men, and all were united by a single purpose- to play an active, yet discreet, role in making Chelsea a better place to live. Since that time, Olive Lodge has persisted through many wars, economic ups and downs, and has seen the birth of the most technologically sophisticated age known on the planet. It has witnessed the progress of our country, the spread of Democracy, and it has seen 28 Presidents- many of whom themselves were Freemasons, elected to office. Your local lodge has stood alongside the growth of Chelsea and we continue to do so today. On December 9th, 2015, Olive Lodge #156 held its 150th Annual Installation of Officers much in the same manner it has done for the past century and a half. Peacefully climbing the stairs to the lodge, the men and their families saw their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and fellow Brothers happily accept the responsibilities of the office to which they were elected. They snapped pictures of smiling faces and enjoyed a meal that was shared by all who attended. Upon departing, some of the men remained to take stock in the accomplishments of what their brothers, past and present, had done for the community. There were stories of pancake breakfasts, Euchre tournaments, spaghetti dinners, and endless rolls of raffle tickets. Donations to charitable organizations, scholarships, and of quiet deeds that have gone unsung. They spoke of times when lodges were packed so full they had every seat in the lodge full. It was a moment for grandfathers to remember initiating their sons and grandsons into Masonry and how that tradition in the world’s oldest fraternity had given to them so much more than they ever asked of Freemasonry. For the 150th Year of Freemasonry in Chelsea, the men of your lodge elected to serve are pictured below. Listed from left to right (circled): Richard Clark, Loren Winn, (upper) James Scheffer, (lower) Lynn Heldt, Jason Misfud, Dustin Suntheimer, and Greg Uihlein. Picture courtesy of Karen Heldt. As we move through this year, Olive Lodge #156 will be hosting several events in celebration of our sesquicentennial anniversary. There will be a re-dedication of our charter, public open houses to allow a glimpse of your lodge and its members, and special times when you can see who was a member long since passed. We will also be publishing additional articles through this year for Chelsea to become more familiar with its own lodge and piece of Masonic history. Our regular meetings are on the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:00pm.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Big Boy Pants

A few weeks prior I had thought it a good idea to have my secretary book the earliest flight on Saturday morning thinking anyone who is going to Florida wouldn't want to get up that early and travel. Not quite! I was greeted at the gate, an hour early, mind you, by what looked to be about 200 hundred families dressed in varying degrees of disheveled Disney attire- pajama pants, Mickey Mouse ears, character roller bags, and the ever so popular footwear- the Crocs. With a quick flash of a pending nightmare flight zooming across my mind, I suddenly remembered the trip my family and I took several years ago and decided that this is probably the single most exciting time in these little kids' lives. I took a deep breath and put on a smile to the little folks, gave an understanding nod to the parents, and jeered, but only a little, at the teenagers whose excitement to go to Disney must be carefully masked so they do not appear overly anxious to go to what is only a 'kids park'. I did hear, though, one rather lustful comment about Pocahontas and Jasmine from a teenage boy to his dad. These kids were so excited. They were running about with their crocs falling off, fantasizing about the days to come; except one boy, whom I will call Dude, that was rather sedate in his manner and traveling alone with his mother. Dude caught my eye because he was all of about 3 or 4 years old and smartly dressed in a Polo shirt with the collar turned up, khaki pants, and what appeared to be- and later confirmed to be, little K-Swiss tennis shoes. Not that this demographic should have called my attention, but his attitude toward the trip, it seemed, to be that of someone 30 years his senior. He almost looked regal in his attitude toward the other kids running about and, I think, I overheard him comment on one overly excited chap as being retarded. While this made me chuckle, I found it quite odd that he did not show some sort of enthusiasm for the trip. Thinking he might not be going to Disney, I looked at his junior sized Swiss Army pack and saw the Disney Luggage tag that they send you when you book your trip and purchase some sort of pre-paid package. Within 30 minutes we were being called to board the plane. Those traveling with small kids, elderly, First Class all boarded with some degree of difficulty having to pass through the crush of anxious flyers crowding around the gate. When they next called for Delta Priority passengers I quickly pulled out my iPhone with my boarding pass displayed and swiftly walked through the crowd, swiped my phone, and proceeded down the jetway. While I do not travel enough anymore to get frequent First Class upgrades, I do enjoy a level of comfort above economy class but still not the nice wide comfy seats of leather and free pre-flight drinks. I almost always try to get an exit row seat and on the window as I try not to walk about on the plane. This time, however, I had been put in the row in front of the exit row- oh well. This, in itself, was not that big of a deal; it had happened before. What made the big deal were the people who were to sit next to me. Sitting down and getting my usual things ready for the flight- iPad, headphones, pen and paper, you'll never guess who came and sat right down next to me in the center seat- Dude! His mom, who was quite attractive and very nicely dressed, sat down on the aisle seat and asked if it was okay that Dude be allowed to sit in the center seat. Of course I said it was fine and even asked if they wanted to trade so he could look out the window. Being quick with a response, Dude explained to me that he did not 'prefer' the window because he was too short to actually see out- fine, you little fucker. As we crossed 32,000 feet I was WiFi capable and ready to stroll through Facebook, LinkedIn, and a few other sites whilst cruising to Orlando for the 2013 CAP Annual Meeting. It was about 20 minutes into our cruising altitude when Dude's mom asked if it was okay if she left him while she visited the restroom. I assured her it was no problem and told her I had three kids of my own. Now remember, this flight is full of little kids and their tiny bladders just itching to use the bathroom. So, she takes off towards the rear of the plane and queues up for the toilet. Not thinking too much about the situation, I return to my LinkedIn page to post some updates about work and the lab. After about 5 minutes, or so, Dude's mom has not returned. I took a look back and she is still in line and quite away from the actual door. No biggie, I thought, until it occurred to me that there was an ungodly stink in the air. Remembering their are kids and babies on the flight, I try not react too much and go back to my business. Another couple of minutes and his mother is still in line. So I look down at Dude, and he is red faced and clenching his small Gameboy with white knuckles. By this time, the stench has risen to a level of gagging and a strength of rotting garbage. When Dude notices I am looking at him he relaxes a bit and lets out a very calm and very measured, "I had an accident in my big boy pants." Panic. Looking back, his mom is still one person out from the restroom, and the stink is escalating. By this time others in surrounding seats had noticed the smell and, I think, so did the younger kids as a chain reaction of pant shitting began. I heard, "Oh my god", "Why didn't you say something", and all assortments of admonishments. My only concern, however, was sitting and shitting right next to me. Not wanting to reveal his secret- gotta help a little brother out, I asked him to lean forward. Sure enough, Dude took a dump right in his khakis. Shit. Now I was not going to touch this kid for fear of being the guy who tries to 'help' a little boy change his pants, but I did slide the in-flight magazine between him and the seat as the crap had gone up his back and was coming through his new little Polo shirt. This, I thought, would at least help contain the soilage that the seat would surely incur. Dude's mom finally came back and instantly knew that something had happened- it took all of about 1 second to figure it out. Sitting down she apologized profusely and thanked me for trying to help. Probably having just taken a shit herself, I am sure that she was experience a level of embarrassment that only a parent can know. Now the fun really begins as she looks back at a line halfway up the aisle of the plane to the restroom. Realizing that it would be too long to wait in line, she asks if it would be okay if she changed him right here. WTF? But, being the guy I am, I said it would be okay and to give me the wipes. As she got into her back, out came a gallon Ziplock bag with a fresh outfit- pants, shirt, "big boy pants", socks, everything. Then she got out the wipes and a small baggie that I think she was going to use as a wipe disposal vessel- not a chance. With the speed of a pit crew at Nascar, Dude was undressed and buck naked with what looked to be a squirrel's tail of shit running up his back. I began throwing wipes at her as fast as she could use them. The little bag she was using for wipes quickly filled, so I handed her a airsickness bag for backup. People were watching with both a sense of awe and disgust all the while this is happening. Dude, being the little stoic shit that he was, did not seemed to be even slightly amused by his mother's actions. Within a couple of minutes he was dressed, the smell had abated, and we were back to normal. But that did not stop the rest of the little kids on the plane from crapping their drawers. As the chain reaction pre-adolescent feces continued up and down the aisles, I went back to work trying to put that scene as far out of my head as possible. The smell, though, was a tough one to shake and continued uninterrupted for the next 30 minutes of the flight. It must have been the absence of that odor that caused me to take notice, but looking down at Dude, again, I see his white knuckles and red face staring blankly at his Gameboy. And perhaps because of a bad breakfast, or maybe even to spite his mother, he looks over and says to me, "I had another accident in my big boy pants." SHit, here we go again!