More than once I’ve heard a Past Potentate say how hard it was to write the Cactus Article. Back then I thought to myself…why? How can that be? Especially when you’re writing about something you love…our Shrine. You have resources readily available from our past Cactus magazines and a calendar of events that tells us what is going to happen and when. I was wrong, with 2020 being a challenging year and our Shrine limited on what we can do…I struggle as well.

October has left us but did allow some Shrine Events. October 2 and 3, 2021 Circus Chairman Larry (L.J.) Johnson, 2021 Assistant Chairman Jeff Landborg and 2017 SCAFRA Past President Marv Lovro attended the Shrine Fundraising Convention in Bloomington, Minnesota. They put on a seminar about our successful fundraising events from the El Riad. Also, on October 3, the Oriental Band sponsored a Dive Bar Tour. A fun day with at least three saying yes to joining our fraternity and three more looking at us hard. Thank you to all for “TAKING THE EXTRA STEP”. 

October 6, the Sportsman Classic Chairman Jeff Landborg and the Sportsmans Committee put on another successful event. The Culinary Unit prepared the meal with steaks from Shorty’s Locker and it was delicious. A great TEMPLE EVENT and THANK YOU to all who WORKED and SUPPORTED THIS EVENT. Again, thank you for “TAKING THE EXTRA STEP”.

October 4–7, over 30 Shriners and family members flew to Las Vegas to help marshall holes 7, 8 and 9 at the 2020 Shriners Hospital for Children PGA Golf Tournament. Past Potentate, Illustrious Sir Charles Brown, and Lady Paula have organized and managed this event for many years. Again, thank you to all for “TAKING THE EXTRA STEP”.

On October 9, the Dance Club brought the Kickin’ Brass Band to the Shrine for another great evening of dancing. Also, on October 9 was International Beer and Pizza Day. Yes, I did celebrate that. 

Then, on October 24, the Hillbillies had a reunion at cuzzin gravy’s wilderness, hopefully no cuzzins got lost. October 31, the Oriental Band had their annual Halloween Bash. Great time and everyone wore a mask, well almost everyone. Thanks to all for “TAKING THE EXTRA STEP”. Halloween is a 2,000 year old celebration where at the end of summer when the bonfires were lit and revelers would wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. That didn’t work this year our evil spirit COVID-19 is still here.

November is when the days get shorter, the weather gets colder and normally the parade units are cleaning and putting away their equipment. That is if they were able to get their parade equipment out of storage. In past years the Rickshaw Unit said Puff (not their magically dragon) paraded so much he was pooped. This year Puff was bored. They couldn’t find a mask big enough for him to wear, so he was QUARANTINED. 

November 7 was to be the 287th Ceremonial, sadly because of the pandemic this had to be cancelled. See my article on page 7 that goes further into this decision.


November 10, FORGET ME NOT DAY. A great day to take a few minutes to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to for awhile. They will feel good about it and so will you. 

November 11, VETERAN’S DAY. Please remember to honor the country’s brave military members. Pass on the importance of this holiday to the next generation.

November 12, is HAPPY HOUR DAY. A good reason to enjoy a tasty Coors Light (with Al), a glass of wine or a Manhattan (with Les). Considering the Pandemic of 2020 every day should be November 12.

November 14, unfortunetly the Hillbillies had to cancel their Sadie Hawkins Dance featuring Hot Rod-Chevy Kevy.

Also, on November 14, is NATIONAL PICKLE DAY. I think this has something to do with the El Riad Motor Corps. I remember reading an article by Jerry Hauff and he said. “KEEP IT UPRIGHT OR YOU WILL END UP WITH THE PICKLE” I know how you feel Jerry, the year 2020 is upside down and I feel like I got the pickle. 

November 26, THANKSGIVING DAY. A day of celebration with your family and giving THANKS for all the great gifts that we do have. I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful that I am a Mason/Shriner. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to be the Potentate of El Riad Shrine. I am so thankful to have a Shrine Family that supported me and kept me strong this year. 


We will not give up. As we all have heard before “WE ARE EL RIAD”.

Fraternally yours,

Al Zahn 

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