Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Our First Exchange Of The Year

On January 13th, 13 members from Quebec headed to Connecticut for a wonderful exchange with Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire in Middletown, CT. The weekend began with us driving down on the Friday (our Associate Grand Matron, Brenda Stone, and our Associate Grand Patron, Art Shore and Art’s wife Betty drove down on the Saturday. They arrived 5 minutes before the meeting began as their GPS took them to Massachusetts!!). The weather was perfect for driving. I had the pleasure of driving with Sisters Margaret Hourston, P.G.M. and Marjorie Empey, P.M. We took our time and arrived at the hotel in Cromwell, CT around 5:30 p.m. We stopped for a wonderful lunch at a little family diner in a small town in Vermont called Hartfield.

After everyone arrived, we made plans to go for dinner. We decided on the Ninety-Nine Restaurant & Pub. Of course, being a Friday night, the place was packed and we ended up waiting close to an hour for a table. But it was well worth the wait – the food was just wonderful, and the company even better.

Saturday started off with a wonderfully relaxed buffet breakfast at the hotel after which we got ready for the meeting, which was held at the Masonic Temple in nearby Middletown. We must be a noisy bunch because as soon as we walked in the door, Lynn Wakefield, WGM of Connecticut came over to me and said: “I heard all the commotion and knew that Quebec had arrived!” Of course, this was all said in fun.

Good Intent Chapter hosted the day and they put on a wonderful Tea Time during the registration. It was a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones. The meeting began at 3:00 p.m. with Good Intent Chapter doing the Opening. Our own Sisters Pierrette Langevin, P.M. as Marshal, Margaret Hourston, P.G.M. as Conductress and Huguette Daguerre, AGC as Associate Conductress, wonderfully presented our Canadian Flag. I thank these ladies for such a great job. After the opening, all the Distinguished Guests were presented. What a sight seeing all the beautiful dresses. In total, there were about 135 members present.

After a brief recess, the entertainment began. It was called “OES – In The Beginning.” It was a skit depicting what a meeting might have looked like way back when. The Past Grands of all the Jurisdictions present put it on. Four of our own participated: Sisters Barbara Wheaton as Marshal, Elizabeth Dempsey as Associate Matron, Brother George-Henry Dempsey as Warder and Margaret Hourston as the Angel. Everyone was dressed in period costumes and the Star Points were dressed as they would have been in Biblical times, and in their appropriate colours. Sister Margaret, as part of her costume, used her Guardian Angel wings, which I gave her at our Installation last October. Each “officer”, one at a time, stood behind Esther’s chair and volunteered to fill an office and then were escorted to their stations by the Marshal. Each of the Star Points was presented by the Angel and then escorted to their stations, again by the Marshal. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if today we could get members to readily volunteer like that? After the entertainment we all sat down to a wonderful dinner and more socializing with friends.

After we returned to the hotel we all gathered together for some more socializing before heading off to our own beds. I have to say here that after some 40 years in the Order, this was the first trip that Sister Evelyn Shaw, our Grand Adah, had been on and it looked like she really enjoyed herself, both at the meeting and listening to all the stories of past trips.

Sunday morning saw us all packing up to head for home (not until we sampled that delicious buffet breakfast again!). On our way home, Sisters Margaret, Marjorie and I stopped for lunch in Randolf, VT. We had planned to go to a restaurant that Margaret knew, but, unfortunately, it was closed. We ended up stopping at a local church for a delicious spaghetti lunch that was put on by some students from the Vermont Technical College.

All in all, the weekend was super, as always, and the weather was very cooperative. I’m so happy that the bad weather didn’t arrive until the Monday morning after we were safely home.

Our next big exchange is the All New England and Quebec Exchange in February. More on that in a future posting.

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