Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spring is on its way...

While it may seem that PA is mired in snow, here in the office we are already knee deep in preparing for the Spring. In the world of PA DeMolay that means Spring Leadership Weekend. This year, the weekend will be themed around the Mario video game series and looks to be another fantastic event. As I am preparing for SLW, I always like to look back and see what came before. This program holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first events I ever did as a DeMolay (way back in 2002 when we launched the CLUE program.)

As I was researching, I came across some documents from the event that I had previously missed. Many know that "Dad" Ray Gottschall is the king of these kinds of events. His costumes are limitless, as is his enthusiasm. He is truly a character actor, liking to have lots of back story to work with. During the original CLUE he played Colonel Mustard. Not to be pleased with just a simple title and color, he developed a whole back story to his character that had me laughing all the way through. So, as a precursor to more news about SLW, I present to you, Colonel Mustard, an abridged biography.

The Life and Times of:
Colonel Sir Guldin Smythe Biggles Mustard, V.C., K.C.B.E., M.P.

Born in the Village of Whapping Foghole to an English father, Sir Doris Perambulator Mustard, Lord Windesmere, M.P. and his French born wife (from the Dijon region) Lady Maudlin Marquise de Milquetoast e’ clairvoyant, Lady in waiting to the French Queen and champion bare knuckles boxer.  Guldin led a very careful life full of very little worth mentioning up until the age of 12 when his parents were forced to sell him to a Clan of wandering Scotsmen, so that they might pay their taxes to the Crown.  The Parent’s taxes, not the Scotsmen’s.

At the able age of 17, Guldin engineered his own escape after 5 years of grueling labor, from the wholly unguarded potato patch where his Scottish Overlords had set him working at smashing as many potatoes as possible in a cunning Scot plan to take over Ireland by starving it’s inhabitants, and headed to London.  With only crushed Potatoes in his pocket he bartered for a room with an Innkeeper of a local hostelry (thereby becoming the inventor of mashed potatoes, which were unheard of up until that time).  The Innkeeper took quite a shine to young Guldin and upon realizing this, Guldin had the coppers pinch the old goose for attempted crimes of an unnatural preoccupation.  Once again homeless, he wandered in the Flippin Wagbone section of London doing odd jobs and living off his mashed potato royalties until he blundered into an Army recruiting station, and before he could say “shut your filthy Cakehole” he had enlisted in 1st Company, 2nd Guards Regiment of Her Majesties Royal Coldstream Guards.  Thus began his Military Career, which was to culminate in his highly suspect and mostly undeserved rise to the rank of Colonel of Guards, Exchequer of the Office of Taxation (responsible for the taxation of all Foreigners living abroad) and Royal Poultry Inspector.

On his very first day in the barracks, Guldin was immediately noticed by several of his superiors and singled out for the peculiar mark of their respect.  After spending 6 weeks in Hospital, and as a special circumstance of several recent Courts Martial, which had served to eliminate several of his superiors, Guldin was invited to enter Officer Candidate School.  After attending O.C.S. for a short period of 4 months, Guldin was promoted early by the School Commandant (The poor man’s last act before retiring to the rest home) and he was Officially Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Guards and, as a special recognition of his abilities, he was forthwith posted to the most harrowing and potentially life threatening assignment that his superiors could come up with, namely collecting for Irish Relief in Glasgow.  Having survived this grueling duty for 3 years, Guldin received new orders to report back to London for promotion and reassignment to Egypt.  After having new teeth fitted in the Village of Simpering Wimpole, as a consequence of his last assignment as Choir Director at Newgate Military Prison, Mustard boarded a ship for Memphis.  After returning from Tennessee, Mustard boarded the correct ship and proceeded to his posting in Egypt as a 1st Lieutenant.  He distinguished himself at the Battle of Limeygetout where he single handedly led the retreat that saved hundreds of his fellows and prevented the General’s prize Tea Service from falling into enemy hands.  Having been promoted to Captain, he was given command of the Calcutta Garrison.  While in India he became embroiled in an ill advised tax dodge wherein he packed his apartment with cheap brass artwork which he was then planning to sell at 10 times the price through a type of mail order catalog (which of course would never work).  Unfortunately, the cheap metalwork tended to tarnish easily and turned his overcrowded apartments into a black, sooty colour.  One day, several of Mustards neighbors and fellow Crown subjects, while attempting to pleasantly surprise the young Captain, snuck into his apartments while he was away on Llama spotting duty and decided to tidy his apartments using torches and oil, unfortunately, they became trapped by an avalanche of sooty Brass figurines.  The oil and torches turned the cramped rooms into hot and acrid dungeons where many of his fellow countrymen lost their lives and from that day on his rooms, and the entire incident, became known to the world as the Black Hole of Calcutta, although the official Details were slightly different as reported at the time. 

Having been cleared of any charges (as stupidity is not a crime recognized by the crown), Guldin was promoted out of India.  The now Major Mustard was given command of the Royal Engineers and the Natal contingent at Rourke’s drift, South Africa.  It was his actions here which earned him the Victoria Cross by his single handedly digging a tunnel several hundred feet underground in a matter of hours which successfully allowed the contingent to withstand the onslaught of the mighty Zulu Army.  His Victoria Cross certification stated; “Never before has the British Army seen such an act” and “By his Ferret-like digging, he allowed the Competent Officers of his Command to concentrate on the Battle”.  Along with his decoration came the inevitable promotion and transfer, this time back to Headquarters.  His last assignment had him searching for The Holy Grail in the Tower of London.  After several weeks of searching for Holy Relics in the basements of the Tower of London, and several years of searching for the exit from the Tower of London, during which time he survived off of his wits and much more importantly, the Potatoes that now grew unchecked from his pockets, Colonel Mustard returned to his Regiment and was again ready for a new assignment.

Colonel Mustard was granted an early retirement with the caveat that he would go forth and travel the world, never to return to active service, staying away from England as much as possible.  Upon the death of his Father, Colonel Mustard was granted the peerage due him by right of birth and became Lord Windesmere, also with the caveat that he never show his face in Parliament or attempt to represent the British Government in any way whatsoever, at home or abroad.

In his retirement, Colonel Mustard has gotten into many complicated and ridiculous adventures that are extremely involved yet far too uninteresting to bother mentioning here.
Recently Colonel Mustard has sold his rights to Mashed Potatoes (If you were making them before that time, you owe him royalties) and lives comfortably in Wapping Foghole with his wife, Bo and their three Daughters, Rosie, Ellen and Jodie (who don’t take after their Mother) and one son Rock (who does).  He was raised a Master Mason in Apathy Lodge #449 in Horking on the Thames.  He is currently a Member of Complacency Lodge # 112, Whapping Foghole, where he serves as Tyler for life.  His involvement with the Order of DeMolay goes back to his days in Fargin Lumpchester Chapter and he would love to talk to you about it…at length…

Perhaps someday you'll get to meet this crazy character, or one like him...

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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