On Thursday, October 19, Centennial Hall in London, Ontario was transformed into the Possum Lodge for the evening. Red Green, the Leader of the International Brotherhood of Possum Lodge, Chapter 11 was here to explain “I’m not old, I’m just ripe” more of his wit & wisdom.
I arrived with a bit less than 20 minutes before the start of the Meeting, and was immediately ushered in to my seat. It was very odd, they let me in without checking my Lodge membership card, or checking if I had paid my dues.
I figured there must be a lot of new members in the crowd, non-plaid wearing types and within moments of being seated, Red Green appeared on the projector screen to greet us, wondering why we showed up so early. He said that we could amuse ourselves by watching old clips from his TV show. The montage of clips featured everything from campfire songs, poem readings, Handyman Corner, and Possum Lodge Word Games. Sitting there in awe, I reflected upon the moments when I was able to see the show live as it was taped, and the chance to be a part of the Lodge Meeting at the end of the taping; a treat in itself.
After the clip reel finished, the screen flicked over to a countdown of 5 minutes. Oh the wait, the suspense. I sat there watching everyone rush to their seats; the house was almost full. Looking around again as everyone was rushing to their seats, there were fans from all walks of life, and some, like the wife & I were even dressed for the occasion.
The clock now showed 0:00, and instantly Red Green appeared on the stage, dressed in his usual lodge attire; plaid shirt, suspenders, and green fishing hat. The house cheered loud as he paced the stage waiving out to everyone then walked over to the podium. The crowd silenced as Red stood there with a single spotlight. “Please stand”, the audience responded and in unison, we all stood, placed our right arm up, then the left, clenching both hands as if to scratch, quickly crossing them over chests.
“Quando Omni Flukas Moritati” echoed by all in attendance. The meeting has just begun and Red got right into Lodge business. He provided us with updates to some of our beloved members; Stinky Petersen, Moose Thompson, Old Man Sedgwick, Buster and Flinty. It was nice to hear what those guys were up to, and it was also nice to know that some things just never change around good ol’ Possum Lake.
Red said that it would be a good opportunity to get to know the Lodge members this evening and immediately volunteered himself to go first. We listened attentively as Red dispensed his thoughts and advice about relationships, being an old guy, raising children, and of course being a man . With the use of projector, Red also showed us slides of handyman projects gone awry, including do’s and don’ts. At the end of the show, we emptied into the foyer where we could line up to meet Red Green, get an autograph and a photo.
Steve Smith, the man behind Red Green had his start producing, writing and starring in “Smith & Smith”, a sketch comedy series alongside his wife, Morag Smith. The show lasted 6 years, and it was during that time that Red Green, Steve’s alter-ego was born. In its infancy, his Red Green type character would be featured in occasional skits, but it wasn’t until 1991 when Red Green actually materialized as a stand-alone show. It was during that time that Red Green morphed into the duct-tape wielding handyman that we know and love today.
It was definitely a night to remember, there were plenty of laughs to be had as Steve Smith a.k.a “Red Green” delivered thought provoking antidotes on point as the audience reacted. A fantastic performance that showcased his mastery as a raconteur, and brought back memories of his early days of comedy. His final message, as always, ‘Keep your stick on the ice’.