FURTHERMORE GOES CAMP
Many of you have asked for more details about the origin of Furthermore, my Masonic pet raven brother. Well…okay. One of you. But you know who you are!
Anyway, for your benefit and without the help of the senior warden, I asked the old bird for a bit more detail. I bring his response to you here faithfully. This is what he told me. And because he is my brother, I believe every word he said.
When he first came to the Craft, the Ancient Landmarks were only approaching middle age. It was a dark and stormy night, he said. He was buffeted about by the winds and finally forced to take shelter in a drafty stone chapel somewhere in Scotland. He sat down on a beam high in the rafters to rest and refresh himself. Below him, people were coming and going. Walls were being sealed by masons. Men with swords and lighted torches were standing about. After a time, the bird fell asleep. In time, he awoke and heard the men below discussing oaths and terrible penalties. Naturally, this perked him right up and he paid close attention. He even dropped down a little further to get a better view.
This was his undoing. He made a small deposit that splashed down on the junior warden. This is still pretty much the way things happen for junior wardens. Anyway, he was spotted, captured by the tyler and bound with a spare cable tow. After some discussion, it was suggested he join the others. Seems it was a one-night class of some sort. And by dawn, he was a Master Mason. Or so he says.
He claims this is true. I did press him a bit and he muttered something about never defrogging another Mason. I asked if he meant “defraud” and he said, “whatever.”
And that’s how it started. How he moved in with me in the deserts of Arizona is a much longer and equally fascinating tale, which we will save for another moment. And now, here’s Furthermore…
“Greetings, old friend,” he piped as he swooped over to the bar. He knows I have a birthday soon and so he’s digging me with that “old” business. Not that he has any years to spare, if you know what I mean.
“Greetings yourself,” I responded cleverly. “What’s happening, bird?”
“I’m making martinis. Duh.”
“Not what I meant. Duh. Where have you been? I haven’t seen you since we left Washington.”
“I stayed on for a while. Congress was in session. You just don’t get that quality of humor everywhere, you know. Then I decided to go camping on the way back.”
“Camping! You! You jest, surely.”
“Don’t call me Shirley, and, no, I don’t jest. I’m even writing a book of camping tips for those who don’t have my superior expertise in the wilderness.”
At this point, the martinis mixed, he flapped over and dropped a manuscript in front of me.
Here are a few samples from Furthermore’s Guide to Living and Loving in the Wilderness.
1.When using a public campground, a tuba placed on your picnic table will keep the campsites on either side vacant.
2. Get even with a bear who raided your food bag by kicking his favorite stump apart and eating all the ants.
3. Old socks can be made into high fiber beef jerky by smoking them over an open fire.
4. When smoking a fish, never inhale.
5. A hot rock placed in your sleeping bag will keep your feet warm. A hot enchilada works almost as well, but the cheese sticks between your toes.
6. The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
7. While the Swiss Army Knife has been popular for years, the Swiss Navy
Knife has remained largely unheralded. Its single blade functions as a tiny canoe paddle. This can be important when you find yourself up the proverbial creek, etc. Effective January 1, 2000, you will actually have to enlist in the Swiss Army to get a Swiss Army Knife.
8. Modern rain suits made of fabrics that "breathe" enable campers to stay dry in a downpour. Rain suits that sneeze, cough, and belch, however, have been proven to add absolutely nothing to the wilderness experience.
9. Lint from your navel makes a handy fire starter. Warning: Remove lint from navel before applying the match.
10. The guitar of the noisy teenager at the next campsite makes excellent kindling.
11. The sight of a bald eagle has thrilled campers for generations. The sight of a bald man, however, does absolutely nothing for the eagle.
12. It's entirely possible to spend your whole vacation on a winding mountain road behind a large motor home.
That’s probably enough. Furthermore and I are planning to go camping together at the earliest opportunity. As we see it, keeping the gin cold is the biggest problem. By the way, I asked him—at your request—if he had a drinking problem. He admitted that he did and just pointed at me. Sometimes, I don’t think he’s as brotherly as he might be, you know?