"Orient Lodge No. 15 - LaSal Lodge No.30 Oration" Gavin K. K. Wardrope, W. Grand Orator

A Utah Journey

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Most Worshipful Past Grand Masters, Right Worshipful Brothers, Worshipful Brothers and Brethren all, Good afternoon.

Back in 1994 I attended a Masonic Conference in Toronto, Canada and as I had never been to North America my wife and I decided to extend our stay and vacation here in eastern Utah, why, I don't know, I only think that in pre Internet days we went to a Travel Agent to find out the cost of a plane ticket and I remember purchasing a round trip ticket from Chicago to Denver for $99. How, you may ask, did we get from Toronto to Chicago? That is a period better forgotten, 13 hours in an Amtrak train cured us of any ideas of a romantic journey, it was a period of my life that I will never get back and needless to say the return to Toronto was not undertaken by train.

Anyway, I remember it was a beautiful Sunday morning that we arrived in Denver Stapleton airport and my first entrance into the West, being greeted by a sea of cowboy hats on the concourse.

We picked up a Rental Car drove for the first time on the wrong side of the road and headed west gazing with amazement at the beauty and size of the Mountains and Vistas before us.

We stopped for the night in Green River, it was dark when we arrived and it seemed we got the last hotel room. We could not understand why this small town was a hive of activity, until the morning when as far as we could see on Main Street was watermelons everywhere. We had arrived in Green River during the Watermelon festival.

Needless to say we did not stay longer than necessary but headed south to Arches National Park and through Canyonlands State Park, exploring natures wondrous gifts as we travelled. Brethren, you do not know how lucky you are to live in the second best place on Gods planet. My accent gives away the first.

Anyway, I am not going to bore you with the stories of '2 Scots in the Wild West,' sometimes, I have found that I reach a mental block trying to come up with an Oration and really am reaching out for inspiration. So, I am sitting at my desk on a beautiful Saturday morning, my soccer team, Glasgow Celtic, have just been presented with the trophy for winning the Scottish Premier League, my good wife, Alyson is off participating in the Susan B Komen Race for the Cure, we both will be later be assisting at the Midvale Post Office with the annual Postal Carriers Food Drive and I am listening to the best band on the planet, the Dave Matthews Band. Life is good my friends, we all have a lot to be thankful for.

As I look around I think of all the years and all the miles I have travelled and I could not have imagined sitting in a room on a beautiful May afternoon in 2013, with a better bunch of men, it is a privilege to have spent some time here, for Installations or Degrees. I have learned on the journey the Stories of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the secrets to hunting Raccoons here in the West or in New Hampshire, not bad for a kid raised in the East End of the greatest City in the world, Glasgow, Scotland.

In the spirit of the Grand Masters theme for the year, Ohana or Family, I wish to address someone who does not get the true attention and credit they deserve, especially from myself.

You know what I couldn't have done it without someone who has been with me and given me support on this whole journey, I am, of course, talking about my wife, Alyson. She is from Scotland, but from the real nasty area, the seaport town of Greenock, where if any of you had ancestors who came across the Atlantic Ocean, probably departed from.

We really don't spend enough time thanking them for their support. I know that I couldn't have done half the things I do without her being there to prod and give advice and in a lot of cases participation and even just to listen to me vent. But really, why do they do it? Where would we be without them?

Back in Scotland the women do not participate in Masonic functions at all. The only time I ever had Alyson help was at an installation to help serve the dinner and take the abuse from any drunks that may have been present.

What a breath of fresh air it was to see women actively and openly support their husband when we came to Utah.

This is our 15th Official function with Grand Lodge, but most of us here have other commitments to our Lodges or other Orders to which we are committed at least 3 times a week. Some of us have young families or even recently married, it does take a special kind of woman to put up with all this and I know, I am the first to admit, that I am not the most romantic of men and don't express my gratitude often enough.

You may be asking yourself what the point of all this is. Well, the women are with us, probably outside, doing their usual gossiping, but most of all this is the first time this year they have accompanied the men on an Official visit and it really is our first time to relax with them. My suggestion to you all is to you all is remember to cherish the time that you can spend with a loved one as you don't know how long it may last, but remember first and foremost, have some fun.

Now, finally to make you laugh I have a joke to tell you, I am not the best at remembering jokes so this one is written down and at the end the year will be part of my official record so you all better find it amusing.

THE DIFFERENCE IF YOU MARRY A SCOTTISH GIRL!!

Three friends married women from different parts of the world..... The first man married a Greek girl. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away. ...

The second man married a Thai girl. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Scotland. He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal. The first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything either but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher. He still has some difficulty when he urinates...

Most Worshipful Grand Master, I have accomplished some of my goals today, mentioning Glasgow, Greenock, my soccer team, Glasgow Celtic, but most of all, my good wife Alyson, I thank you, once again for allowing me to say these few words and enjoy the rest of your visitation.

Fraternally, Gavin KK Wardrope PM Grand Orator May 18, 2013