Bro. Frederic L. Milliken
I drive up slowly as I always do to The Gentleman’s Club of Distinction to
savor its charm. Not what you are thinking. No nude girls here, this is a
beautiful Victorian Mansion that hosts an English type Gentlemen’s
organization. Men who belong can come after work and partake of choice spirits
at the beautiful mahogany bar or have a full seven-course dinner served every
weeknight. Or they can enjoy the media room, music room or computer room
The Club is open for rental on the weekends as the Gentlemen of Distinction
only have it on weekdays. We have it reserved four times a year on the second
Saturdays of January, April, July, and October.
I sit in my vehicle out front just admiring the grandeur of this stately,
majestic building before pulling around to the massive parking lot in the
rear. I am early but deliberately so. I must inspect the premises and see that
everything is in order and especially to make sure we have a bartender and
above all else a chef preparing us a scrumptious meal.
So the biggest worry comes first as I enter through the kitchen only door at
the lower level into a huge kitchen that could be found at both a large
hospital and a first class restaurant. Chef Ramos is here with his crew, and
I greet him, “How is everything going, Chef Ramos?”
“We are right on schedule to serve you at seven as requested,” he replies.
And I ask a question I know the answer to: “And the menu for tonight is?”
“Prime Rib, potatoes au gratin, French green beans almandine, freshly baked
rolls and pistachio cheesecake for dessert.”
“Carry on,” I retort as I head for the dining room off the kitchen that takes
up most of the bottom floor. The room is quite a bit larger than we need but
it has been set up with extra space between the large tables draped with
expensive white linen tablecloths and linen napkins. And around tables for
eight are comfortable padded armchairs. All seems to be in order. That’s good.
The house is set up this way with the kitchen and dining room in what most
would consider the basement, although it does not resemble such, because there
is no smoking in the dining room. Upstairs, which is labeled the first floor,
there is the bar, a lounge, music room, and the lecture room where cigars and
brandy are in order. And that is where I head next.
I proceed upstairs which is laid out with a bar, lounge and lecture hall back
to back which can be closed off by sliding pocket doors into three separate
rooms or opened up into one huge room. The lecture hall seats about 100 and
with the doors open the lounge is a mixture of wingback chairs with side
tables and couches and club chairs around coffee tables and along one side
wall is a ledge clustered with captain bar stools. On the other side wall is a
beautiful stone-faced gas powered fireplace. If the bar which has stools and
tables and chairs is left open, then people can sit anywhere in any of the
three rooms and hear a presentation being made as there is a superb sound
system connected to all rooms. As a matter of fact, there is all the up to
date technology – screens, projectors computer connectable, portable battery
powered microphones and WiFi to make a presentation visible as well as audible
and heard and seen in all three rooms. The bar and the Lounge will have a
monitor that picks up whatever is being shown on the screen in the lecture
room. This is ideal for relaxation and comfort, and unlike the dining room
downstairs smoking is permitted. So as a lecture is being presented the Single
Malt, Crown Royal, Courvoisier VSOP can be enjoyed along with a smoke. There
is an excellent fan system that pulls all the smoke out of the rooms to the
The bar also has three 60” TVs while the Lounge has two.
The only other room on the first floor is the music room walled off from the
Lounge but again with sliding pocket doors. Inside is a grand piano, more
couches, and enough wall outlets to hook up a 25 piece band.
I check in with Max, the head bartender, who I see is setting everything up
for a busy night.
“You have some help on the way, I hope,” I say to Max
“For sure Fred. We will have three bartenders and a waitress for tonight.”
“I just love this beautiful mahogany bar with the brass foot rail, “I say. “It
reminds so much of an English or Irish Pub.”
“Right you are, Fred,” he says back.
The second floor I need only give a quick check for it will not be much used.
It consists of a media room that seats about 50. It has those adjustable
leather media chairs and a huge screen with all the most up to date equipment
including some great sound around. We have rented the Club the past two Super
Bowl Sundays to experience the game in such a great setting. There is a
computer room with six computer stations and a printer. And the last public
room is the library with its huge floor to ceiling bookshelves with a rolling
ladder that can circle the room just about. The room has some comfortable
leather chairs and couches and a working fireplace. The rest of the second
floor consists of two bedrooms, and a Jack and Jill bathroom should the need
arise for any member to stay overnight. I peek into the media room, computer
room and library and ascertain that all is well.
There is a third-floor apartment that is the living quarters of the caretaker
and manager of the property.
It is still a bit early, about 4:00 PM. So I head downstairs for an adult
beverage at the bar. We are scheduled for cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres from
5:00-6:00 PM, followed by some business transactions from 6:00-7:00 PM, dinner
at 7:00 PM and a lecture at 8:00 PM. The Mansion is booked until midnight at
which time we must all be out.
My second and third in command Pete and Karl arrive at 4:30 PM.
“Do you need any help with anything, Fred,” they both ask me at the same time.
“It has been so easy tonight. I have checked everything and needed to do
nothing,” I reply
Pete and Karl wander off to do a double check. It never hurts to have more
than one set of eyes.
Soon other members arrive. We will probably be looking at a turnout of about
130. The bar is putting out buffalo wings, cheese and crackers, stuffed
mushrooms and shrimp.
Ben, Matias, Harry, and Demetrious all gather around me.
Matias pipes up, “Fred, the sale of our building, the change to a quarterly
meeting at this beautiful mansion, and the importation of topnotch guest
speakers was a stroke of genius on your part.”
“I agree,” adds Harry. “No more taxes to pay, building maintenance to worry
about or other tenants to oversee”
“But it wasn’t me, “ I replied. “Remember we took a vote and it passed.”
“Yes but I am no longer getting dunned for extra contributions and we no
longer do fundraisers,” chimed in Ben.
“And I say meeting less often and doing it up proud sure beats meeting so
often that it is impossible to create such a grand program in such a grand
setting as we have now,” adds Matias. “We have taken ourselves from the
mundane to the exotic.”
“And I love this place so much,” exclaimed Demetrious, “That I became a member
of the Gentlemen of Distinction. Now I frequent this wonderful place often
“Well, it only costs each of our members an extra $400 per year to meet here
with all the amenities, in addition to yearly dues,” I add. “That is in
reality just $100 per meeting.”
“Considering what you get in today’s world that’s almost a steal,” adds Harry
We wander off and mingle. I head over to Victor.
“How is your wife Victor?,” I ask. “Is she getting any better?”
“Much improvement, thank you for asking,” replies Victor
Doug joins us to tell us that he has just changed jobs and that makes him more
available to us now.
“That is good news,” I intone.
Just then our
guest speaker walks in. Mike Abrashoff, Former Commander, USS Benfold
and Author of the best selling book "It's Your Ship," approaches me.
"Great crowd you
have here tonight, Fred," he says
"They're all here
to see you," I reply.
"I doubt that.
But we will take them all into the world of leadership."
"That's why you
As more and more
arrive the bar and lounge crowd spills over into the lecture hall and music
room. Many are reconnecting with friends they have not seen since the
Someone places a
low medium sized cloth draped table in the middle of the Lounge. On this
table is placed a Volume of Sacred Law and around it three pedestals with
lights on top.
Just then a loud
crack of the gavel is heard by all.
take their stations and Brethren be clothed." Happy hour is over.
Lodge is about to