I remember back in High School, when Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were the toughest Martial Artists on the planet (yes, I am that old). Their movies were very popular; their faces were on lunch boxes and their posters were everywhere. Like all young men, I believed that once I studied Martial Arts, I too could be physically tough. I took lessons for years; I became more physically fit, developed better mind-body coordination and gained more confidence. But much to my surprise it wasn’t my physical toughness that evolved the most. It was more of a mental realization or awareness that evolved. I found the more I studied, the more there was to be learned. That was the first time I recall understanding the idea that only through experience can we truly learn what knowledge is available to us. Most recently, I had a similar realization while attending the Supreme Council Annual Convention.
The only thing I knew about the Supreme Council was that it was held every year in a different location and I assumed it was available primarily to District Officers, Grotto Association Officers, and National Officers. The first thing I learned was similar to Blue Lodge, which requires the pillar officers to attend Annual Communication in San Francisco; we as local Grottoes are expected to send our elected officers to Supreme Council. The registration form has check boxes for Monarch, Chief Justice, and other local offices that are not higher offices. During the sessions, individual members and local Grottoes are called by name to receive awards for membership and other achievements by the Grand Monarch. Our Grotto received a new member award suitable for framing, and a check for our membership efforts; I received a personal award as well and was glad that I was there to receive these honors on our behalf. The rest of the awards will be mailed to you.
The next thing I realized was that many grottoes specialized in certain areas of interest, some of which were for the parade: clown units, bagpipes, swing band, mini bikes, Indian Chiefs, Flintstones re-enactment, antique cars, and more. I thought how cool it would be for our Grotto being named Cinema and hailing from Los Angeles to be THE Grotto for Entertainment. I think we are well on our way with Magic Castle, Ceremonial, Leprechaun, Cigar Dogs, Monte Carlo, and upcoming Murder Mystery, UCP Safari Dash, and Halloween Scary Night Costume Competition. We also, picked up a few ideas from Supreme Council – that of the Feast of Adam’s Rib, which is the Grotto version of a Table Lodge and Order of the Water Buffalo, which is mirrored after the Flintstones.
The last things that were revealed to me that were very impactful were the following three:
1. Jim Jarnagin represents us well as a Grand Officer; he wears an entirely different color jewel and tassel that we never get to see. As you know, red tassels are new or regular prophets, Monarchs and Past Monarchs are represented by purple, Grand Officers wear grey, and Grand Monarchs wear yellow. Jim knows everyone and everyone knows him. It was an honor being introduced to the friendly fellow Prophets from around the country. They all know the name Cinema Grotto.
2. Every year the Newly-Installed Grand Monarch is crowned with his new fez by a Prophet and his wife from Cinema Grotto. Yes, it is true. Chris and Michele Rothman Owners of LAFCO and members of our Grotto proudly represent us to the entire Supreme Council.
3. Lastly, in the year 1998, exactly twenty years ago, Cinema Grotto Prophet Donald A Horning, Sr. was the Grand Monarch for the Supreme Council.
I hope you were vicariously impressed by the significance of our role with the Supreme Council and the importance of making our best efforts to attend in the future. Every person I met treated me as if I was their best friend. They volunteered to taxi us around town as if we were visiting relatives. They get to reunite every year and reinforce their friendship from all over the nation and Canada. The next Supreme Council will be in Branson, Missouri. All are welcome. Start saving now.
Michael Schneider, Monarch