Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Prophets!
This time of year brings thoughts of celebration, gift giving, and joyful caroling! Of course with it brings bright new hopes for the New Year. Likewise, our Grotto has high hopes for another year of amazing fun and charity. Fortunately, we are already off to a good start having been led by such a strong and capable leader as now Past Monarch Armen Adzhemyan. I’ve learned that to be considered a successful leader one must strive towards two ideals. First, to fulfill all of the required duties of the office and second to bring added value to the organization – to go beyond what is expected or required. Armen, clearly fulfilled both of these objectives and I look forward to honoring him at our January meeting with the presentation of Cinema Grotto’s contribution toward his Past Monarch Fez.
I am truly humbled to be given this opportunity to serve as Monarch for our Grotto. I know it seems like it should be an easy job overseeing an organization that requires relatively little, expects essentially nothing and has as a mission to have fun and give charity but in looking to the future I see a few challenges and can only hope and pray that we can continue with the great work of our predecessor prophets. I’ll discuss the challenges more in next month’s message but as for now we are off to a great start.
By all accounts, the installation was a resounding success.
The Dinner featured a German theme following the Grotto tradition of honoring the heritage of the incoming Monarch. We played Oktoberfest music and imbibed in a few imported authentic German beverages. Originally, I was going to cater from a German restaurant. I knew that I would be out of town during the day so I asked my lovely wife Ingrid to receive the food assuring her that she would only need to be present after she got off work in the afternoon. She had a late night scheduled at work the day before and was scheduled to work during the day of the installation so I didn’t want to burden her with more work. But when it proved to be cost prohibitive my lovely wife stepped up and saved the day. She requested a day off work, ordered Bavarian style table cloths online, made center pieces for each of the tables and commissioned me to purchase needed items on her list. She home cooked bratwurst and sauerkraut, green beans and spätzle and featured potato salad, chocolate cake with Grotto logo and pretzels and German brown mustard for over 40 people. I had to ask her to stop cooking long enough to come into the installation for me thank her. Then when it came time to thank her, I was so overcome with emotion over her thoughtfulness that I choked up a bit and couldn’t thank her properly so I’m taking time to do it now. Thank you, Ingrid! I couldn’t do what little I do without all that you do.
The installation was well attended including several Past Monarchs, numerous Past Presidents of the Western Grotto Association some from as far as Arizona and Orange County and our very own Trustee of Grottos of North America – Jim Jarnagin, LA Commandery #9 performed the flag presentation, other dignitaries included Advisors from DeMolay including Past Master Doug Kelly, Officers from York Rite bodies, incoming Master of Old West Lodge Roger Puckett and Officers from other lodges. Past Monarch and Past District Director Joey Lamberti served as Installing Officer and did a tremendous job.
December has already been a busy month. Immediately following the installation the officers met outside of Saddle Ranch Chop House in Valencia to plan the year. We discussed the calendar, the budget, membership and goals for the year. More details to be shared next month.
Thank you Donald Gipson, Chief Justice for taking charge of Caroling at the five United Cerebral Palsy houses in Sylmar. His operatic voice and jolly presence illuminated the residents. Eduardo Gonzaga and his family carried the first night to new levels with their green elf shirts and happy spirited singing, and David Taylor and family followed on the second night with much enthusiasm. Cynthia Cunningham came through again with the wrapping of the gifts for the residents and staff.
Thank you to all and to all a good night.
Monarch – Cinema Grotto 2018