As I was driving to the campus I was reflecting upon my youth, being a very active member of Camelot Chapter in Richfield, MN. I have been to many Conclaves in years past. But this time there was something missing...I didn't bring the hundreds of water balloons to drop out of the dorm windows. My back seat didn't contain the three cans of shaving cream, a true multi-use party treat. The plastic doggy doo, and plastic human ahhh throw up is also long gone. This trip I wore a clean shirt and my best Deputy Grand Master smile and hand shake.
I was greeted quickly and very warmly by Karen Pehle, the State Adminstrator, and Mark Hailer, the Executive Officer. They introduced me to many of the adult staff. My old friend Ted Kiefat and I shared a big hug and many warm friendly words. As the boys came off the softball diamonds, I shook their hands and got to know them a little.
We then went to the Campus Cafeteria. Conclave is very well served at Gustavus for many reason, but especially for the food. It's a place where the boys could really enjoy a big meal in a very nice dining area. I certainly enjoyed my salad and great conversation with them. I mean, they actually listened to my stories!
The photo below shows the Minnesota Demolay State Officers and myself. (I wish I would have gotten the memo about the tie.) They are all very sharp, and I watched them for one hour conduct a great business meeting...we could have took notes and learned something. They also managed to present "The Simpsons- Stone Cutter" eposode. I'm sorry -- I laughed the loudest in the room.
The picture below is of myself with the out going Minnesota Demolay State Officers, Cody Braunschwieg, State Chaplain; Danny Niederhaus, State Scribe Treasurer Talon Beck, SMC; Tyler Nevala, State Marshall; Chris Pierce,SSC. After the meeting we were going to be presented with the Jacques DeMolay degree. The photo directly below is the setting looking upon the Rugby pitch, on which the degree was to be performed. I was very excited, for I hadn't seen this degree for several years. For those of you who don't know the story, I won't tell the secret, but King Philip ordered Jaques DeMolay to be burned at the stake. The story is a testimonal to loyalty and friendship.
The degree was performed in full costume and the quality of the performance was EXCELLENT! All the boys knew their parts and performed outstandingly. I was impressed. It was at the close of the degree that I personally figured out what my inner self was trying to tell me all evening. You know the feeling you can't get your arms around? I've come home...I was perfectly content in my surroundings. I was part of them...I once was and now I've returned...I'm home.
This is horseplay central, man...these guys are planning something
This Mark Hailer after he was trying to explain who the musical group "Tower of Power" was. I knew them: soul and funk, man, great group. I'm a little more tame -- into the group Chicago and all, but I got it. I think everyone enjoyed the Youtube video.