Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shriners Present a Colorful Array

What, you might ask yourself, did Shriners do before the advent of those little cars and Harley-Davidson Electra Glides? The elaborately costumed men staged precision, close-order drills accompanied by marching bands.

The effect, according to The Times, was stunning, inspiring the unidentified author to summon forth his (or possibly her) own gaudiest prose.

“As in a dream of ancient days when Selim I surrounded his Ottoman throne with the Janizaries of the Guard and marched his myriads of Asia upon the frontiers of Europe, so marched upon the course where every footfall measured fortunes lost and won the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in all the panoply of barbarian splendor with the tread of trained and disciplined force.”

The Times further noted: “Syrian Patrol of Cincinnati was proceeded by its own band and it came down the field with banners waving in veteran style. Capt. J.W. Montgomery lined up his troop in front of the grandstand and made a big hit with the crowd by calling the roll in some language that sounded like Turkish but might have been almost any of the dead languages so far as the knowledge of the auditors went.”

Turkish a dead language, is it? Apparently The Times editors were out celebrating when this story went through.



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