Monday, August 29, 2011

Masonic Family Round-Up, August 28, Sunday

We held the 3rd Annual Masonic Family Round-Up on August 28, Sunday, at the Khartum Shrine Center. Members of the various Masonic Bodies and their families and friends were in attendance.

The very colorful Khartum Oriental Band, the best in the Midwest, gave a wonderful performance of some of their beautiful musical pieces - the sweetest music this side of Mecca.

The Masonic Family Pipe Band, accompanied by the Khartum Pipe Band, made their debut performance. They played wonderfully. Our SGW, RWB Al Hadley and his lovely Lady, Carol, both played the drums. This is the first band that they have played together in. I know that both of them have been looking forward to doing so.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was the "dunking booth". There were five (5) "volunteers". The first was VWB Denis Lorteau, representing the Job's Daughters. He was followed by RWB/Noble Chief Rabban Harry Rosenbaum, who did not know what he agreed to when he was asked to represent the Potentate, Illustrious Sir Gary Saunders, who was in Morden on Shrine business.
And then we had RWB/Worthy Grand Patron Bruce Burke, representing the Order of the Eastern Star.

Then it was my turn to be on the cold seat. The water was very cold. It seemed that they put some ice.

My friends gladly paid to have the chance to give me a cold shower.

Even my family (daughter, son & wife) lined up to "get even". My daughter made all of her three (3) attempts! I think she practiced for it. Well, the basketball hoop is actually my son's. I even helped put it on the truck of RWB Jeff Chartrand who brought it to the Shrine Centre (Thanks, RWB Jeff!).

A special (and insistent) request was for the organizer of the "dunking booth" to sit on the "cold seat" himself. Our JGW, RWB Stano Spina, really enjoyed the cold shower.

Special thanks to JGW RWB Stano for arranging the "dunking booth" and to SGW RWB Doug Webster for coordinating the Round-Up.
Thanks to everyone who participated and attended the wonderful Round-Up. It was one great afternoon - an excellent way of enjoying the last few days of summer as a Family and of welcoming September and resuming our Masonic Labors.

Morden Corn & Apple Festival Parade, August 27, Saturday

It was an excellent parade we had at the Morden Corn & Apple Parade on August 27, Saturday. It was the last parade of the summer - the biggest (around 135 floats) and longest (a little over one hour).
The GM and the Masonic Family again had the honor of going in front of the Khartum Shriners.
Here, the DeMolays and I are waiting for the step-off (start of the parade).

I again rode in the beautiful convertible of Noble Ben Kushner, with Noble Wendell Loewen in his usual role as navigator and waver.

The DGM, RWB Al Hadley, was accompanied by the Grand Director of Ceremonies, RWB Junn Manalang in one of the Masons Care Vans, driven by RWB Baldur Johnson.

The SGW, RWB Doug Webster, rode in the other Masons Care Van, this one driven by Bro Howie Morrow.

Following was the beautiful Float of the Manitoba Masonic Family, which was beautifully decorated by JPQ Debbie Clairmont, designated as the Grand Decorator of the GL of Manitoba. Representatives of the various Concordant & Appendant Masonic Bodies.

The contingent of the Khartum Shriners was led by the Pipes & Drums while the Motorcycle Escort preceded the Potentate.

The Potentate & CEO of Khartum Shriners, Illustrious Sir/RWB Gary Saunders, waving to the crowd.

RWB/Noble Harry Rosenbaum, Chief Rabban

Following are pictures of the colorful and interesting Khartum Units which participated in the Morden Parade.

Here is the Shrine Burn Injuries (SBI) Van

The last, but certainly not the least, entry is the Editorial Without Words

Again, another excellent parade - slightly cloudy weather, great crowd, colorful floats, great bands, etc.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Short Holiday in Wisconsin (August 14 to 21)

After Lady Mae and I attended the Midwest Conference of Grand Lodges in Minneapolis, my family and I proceeded to the Fox Hills Resort in Mishicot, Wisconsin from August 14 to 21 for our annual holiday. Due to a GPS problem, it took us almost three (3) more hours longer to get to Mishicot. We had to pass through country roads. Great ride through small town U.S.A.
Fox Hills Resort is a beautiful resort (http://www.foxhillsresort.) with a total of 45 holes for golf. Behind our unit was Hole #2.
The resort is about 40 minutes south of Green Bay and a little over an hour north of Milwaukee. All told, the total distance we traveled over the 10 days was 3,700 kms.

Day 1, Aug 15, Monday: Green Bay
We went to the Ray Nitschke Field to watch the practice of the Green Bay Packers. Our son commented that he has never seen so many millionaires in one place at the same time until he saw the Packers practicing. Green Bay is the smallest city in the U.S. which has a professional sports team. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. Thus far, they have won their first two (2) pre-season games. We could not get any tickets for their August 19 game against the Arizona Colts. The Packers won 28-20.
Here is a picture of my family taken from across Lambeau Field.

Here are pictures taken at the Bay Beach Amusement Park, which is along Lake Wisconsin.

Right beside the Amusement Park is the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, an urban wildlife refuge. I think it is also a nice refuge for people.

We also visited the Green Bay Botanical Garden.


Day 2, Aug 16, Tuesday: Oshkosh
Spent the afternoon (slept in, cooked breakfast and  then left the resort almost at noon) shopping at the Outlet Malls in Oshkosh. It should have been just less than 1-1/2 hours drive to Oshkosh. However, the GPS sent us through the main highway and there was a bad accident involving a motorcycle right in a construction zone. That added another 30 minutes to the travel time. But the shopping was great. And our dinner at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant in Appleton was excellent.

Day 3, Aug 17, Wednesday: Keewaunee & Manitowoc
Went to Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery on Sleepy Hollow Road, Keewaunee. They are wine pioneers. The grape varietals they grow are relatively new in the world of wine. Their varietals are known as Cool Climate Grapes - some of their vines can withstand temperatures of about -35C in the winter time, but still come back in the Summer time and produce grapes.
We then proceeded to Manitowoc for an early dinner where we ound Luigi’s, an excellent Italian restaurant. We then drove to the harbor for a view of the lake.

Day 4, Aug 18, Thursday: Milwaukee
Went to Milwaukee for the day.
Our first stop was the Miller Brewery, where we arrived just in time for the 1 PM tour. It was an wonderful one-hour guided tour of the brewery, which ended with opportunities to try three (3) samples of any of the Miller beer products, including a non-alcoholic one (which I tried - it was great).


The last picture at the Brewery was at the Miller Bar, where we had our 1st beer sample.

We then proceeded to the Harley Davidson Museum. The exhibit included their earlier versions and other interesting products.

Of course, we all had to ride on some of the displays. This was my favorite.
Toward the end of the tour, our son asked our daughter if going on the tour made her felt like she wanted to buy a motorbike. Of course, the answer was yes (from all of us!).

We also had a chance to view the special exhibit (across the Museum) of items not normally displayed. They had some of the products which never got to or did not stay long in the market for some reason.

We lucked out as Thursday was Bike Night at the Museum. There were several hundreds of Harley Davidson motorcycles (and a trike?) and others (our daughter noticed a Kawasaki motorcycle right at the corner).

Day 5, Aug 19, Friday: Green Bay
Spent the afternoon at the Bay Park Square in Green Bay for some more shopping. We had another Japanese Hibachi dinner at Tim San, a local restaurant. The food was great but the place needed more exhaust. It was very warm and smoky but everyone there had an excellent time.

Day 6,  Aug 20, Saturday: Travel back to Winnipeg
The travel back to Winnipeg on Saturday was uneventful, except for the unavailability of hotel rooms in Alexandria, MN, where we planned to stay for the night. All the hotels were booked due to a county fair there. We ended up driving another 40 minutes to Fergus Falls, MN.

Aug 21, Sunday: End of Annual Summer Holiday
We got back to Winnipeg in the late afternoon. No hassle at the border except for a wait of about 30 minutes.

Well, the trip started with sad news about one of my best friends passing away on the day we left Winnipeg. Arthur (Sammy) Samaniego  and I met 43 years ago on our freshman year at the Philippine Science High School. He was one of my closest friends. We slept over and ate at each other's house. We attended the same university, where he took up Geology, same as both of his parents and his younger brother. He was the godfather or our daughter. He married into a family of medical doctors. His father-in-law, wife, two (2) sisters-in-law and their husbands were all physicians. He had medical issues even when we were in high school. I always told him that he was lucky to be married into a family of doctors. He is now free of the physical challenges which he has dealt with for a long time. May he rest in peace.

While we were in Mishicot, our daughter got the results of her Level 2 U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. She passed! And with a very good mark! When she relayed the news, our son mentioned that he had an A+ for his summer course because he "destroyed" the final exam. Mae & I are surely blessed with two (2) wonderful children who continue to make us proud.

All in all, it was an excellent vacation with the family and an opportunity to relax and recharge.