Breckenridge, OK - The officers of General Custer Lodge have come under discipline from the Grand Lodge for their negligence in leaving their Junior Deacon in a hot van while they were shopping for picnic supplies.
Junior Deacon Philo Wayne Norris was discovered sitting in the back of the van by customers at Costco Wholesale Club, and appeared to be unresponsive to attempts to attract his attention. Police were called, but by the time they arrived, the rest of the lodge officers, WM John Snowden, SW Newton Wayne, and SD Richard Clark had finished their shopping and were wheeling the carriages out to the van.
"We were only going in for a couple of things for the Square Club summer picnic, but you know what happens when you get into Costco," said Wayne. "Next thing you know we're looking at all the different varieties of chips, arguing over what brand of hot dog buns, and tasting all the samples at the ends of the aisles. Next thing you know, it's almost two hours later, and we remembered that Philo was still waiting for us."
Temperatures hit the mid 90º mark, which meant that inside Norris' van was probably over 120º. Police office Billy Wayne Sparrow, noting that Norris may have been unresponsive simply because he was asleep, declined to ticket the brothers, but did give them a stern warning against leaving junior officers in locked cars in the future.
"We left him with a bottle of water, and the windows were cracked a little for ventilation, so we didn't worry about Philo. We're really sorry about this," said WB Wayne.
Grand Lodge declined to comment on the disciplinary aspect, but did promise to release a safety warning to other lodges. "This time everything worked out okay," said Grand Master Troy McClure. "But the next time, a lodge could well lose an officer. We don't have so many that we can afford to be letting them melt in the sun, you know."
- Conte Calvin Gliostro