Some people laugh when they see a tassled red fez. The tassled red fez is the official headwear worn by Shriners and when I see a fez in these parts it reminds me of the excellent work Shriners do in connection with special hospitals which treat burn victims. That in itself is nothing to laugh at. The Shriners work is important, but they also have fun.
Yes, the Shriners are fun-loving. One only needs to see them in action during any parade that they are involved with. They'll be having a blast!
In my view, there is no laughing at the Shriners, rather it is a matter of laughing with them, applauding their work and assisting them when possible. After all, they have been assisting people, who are less fortunate than most of us, for decades. Along they way, they revel in parades, sometimes organized by other people and sometimes organized by Shriners themselves.
One such parade will be held in Collingwood, Ontario, on Saturday, June 10, 2017. The parade will begin at 1 p.m., from a staging area on Ste. Marie Street. Then, the parade will travel south to Fourth St., west to Pine St., and north to First St. From the latter, it will be back to Ste. Marie St.
I hope everybody in the Georgian Triangle vacation area turns out to applaud the Shriners in their parade because for years the Shriners have been volunteers who are serious businesspeople in daily life, jokers when it comes to parades, and serious people when it comes to helping others.
I can remember being involved with the Shriners when they held a Ceremonial event for their Rameses Shriners district in the early 1980s. Back then, the Shriners received overwhelming support from The Enterprise-Bulletin (complete with a front-page colour photograph) and applause from our community.
I first learned about the Shriners' Spring Ceremonial coming to our area in 2017 when I met David Rawn of Stayner at the McHappy Day event earlier this month at the McDonald's in Collingwood.
The local Shriners, including one who works at McDonald's, were more than pulling their weight as enthusiastic volunteers at this special fund-raising day which is in aid of Ronald McDonald House.
David Rawn is the Potentate for Rameses Shriners and I came face to face with him yesterday while I was getting my car serviced at Kells Service Centre and Towing on High Street.
On the coffee table at Kells there was a magazine - the Papyrus magazine which is the official publication of Rameses Shriners. Tom Kells Sr., is a local Shrine Club member and while you don't see his facing beaming up from a magazine, Tom Sr., has had his hand in many a special effort at our local level helping - along with other Shriners - to help other people.
There, looking up at me from the coffee table was Potentate David Rawn on the front cover of Papyrus magazine shaking hands with Imperial Potentate Chris L. Smith.
Papyrus magazine gave a lot of space to the upcoming Spring Ceremonial which will be held at various locations in our Georgian Triangle area. On page 3, there is a full-page message from Potentate David Rawn. Then, inside this magazine, there are seven pages devoted to telling readers across Rameses district about the Spring Ceremonial.
Opening ceremonies will be held at 4.30 p.m., on Thursday, June 8th at the Collingwood Museum. A meeting follows at the Manito Shrine Club on Fairgrounds Road.
On Friday, June 9th Shriners will really be swinging when they take part in a golf tournament at Duntroon Highlands. That same day, at the Eddie Bush arena in Downtown Collingwood, there will be registration for Shriners, an "oasis and flea market", a buffet dinner and a dance to the DeSoto's.
Men and women are involved in various aspects of Shriners' work.
On Saturday, June 10th, the public is welcome to watch the Shriners' parade. It will lineup in the morning and start at 1 p.m., from Ste. Marie St., in Downtown Collingwood. After the parade, the Shriners' action shifts to Blue Mountain Resorts where there will be a reception and a Ceremonial Feast.
On Sunday, June 11th, at 8 a.m., the Shriners plan to hold a Drumhead Service at the Manito Shrine Club.
As part of Papyrus' coverage, with a heading "Share the View with Manito", Collingwood gets some great publicity. In the magazine, there is a photograph which shows a view of Collingwood from the nearby Blue Mountains. There is also a picture of what I take to be Petun First Nations looking out across the valley and another picture showing Collingwood harbour.
On a centrespread in the Papyrus magazine there is a map of Blue Mountain Resorts under a heading "Spring Ceremonial Blue Mountain Resort, Your Home Away From Home - Plus Fun".
I hope that everybody makes Rameses district Shriners feel very welcome and at home in our area.
My first involvement with Shriners was in Orillia, Ontario, where I worked for the Daily Packet and Times and often wrote about Shriners there because of Howard Flemming.
Howard was a Shriner and I suspect that he is no longer with us. But while he was here, he happily promoted every single Shriner fund-raising event that he could, never bashful about telling everybody about the great work Shriners do.
When I came to Collingwood, I met the late Don Borland. Don was a Shrine Club member and one of the most-cheerful people I have ever known. Don was always helping somebody, always with a big smile on his face and an outstretched hand to welcome you whenever and wherever.
I'll think of Howard and Don when I watch the Shriners in their parade in Collingwood.
I'll be laughing with the Shriners and applauding the good work they do.
I hope you do too!
Speaking of good work.
My car was serviced at Kells, at the corner of Stewart Road and High Street, because of my "Koyalty" - loyalty to Kells.
I respect the fact that when one trusts professionals to look after one's vehicle, Kells will give you the straight goods about what is required; if anything is required.
Ian Anderson, their service fellow, got me organized and while my Equinox was getting the once-over, an oil change and a lube job, I was sitting reading in the waiting area while they did what they had to do and went through their checklist, attending to various aspects of my vehicle.
I was interrupted, briefly, and asked to look under my car while it was up on their hoist.
"See that," said service technician, Jason Ouimet, pointing to some frayed and rusting wiring. He asked me if I planned to tow a trailer this summer. My answer was affirmative as he explained that the wiring needed to be repaired in that particular spot. He could do it in a few minutes and it would save me, potentially, a lot of trouble later.
"Great!" I said authorizing the repair and making a mental note that this is exactly why they have my Koyalty at Kells. When your vehicle needs something done, they will tell you exactly what it is and what it will cost. No snow jobs at Kells. They don't do unnecessary work, but sometimes they will predict that a repair is looming; which is a good thing.
At Kells, there was a co-op student from Collingwood Collegiate Institute on hand, and I explained to him that what Jason did for me is exactly what customers expect when it comes to excellence in service.
So, thanks Jason! Thanks Kells!
By George Czerny