Gander Spotlight: Ailie Bikaunieks (Ontario Pond)

Posted by tmaloney on July 24, 2020

Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond Member since 2012

Where do I even begin….my experiences with Blue Goose Ontario Pond. I have so many memories, over the course of 9 years, I guess I’ll go with my first and most funny.

Ontario Pond brings in the new Ganders in Quebec City. I’m sure if you were there, you’d remember too. My very first official out of town “assignment”. It was important, and that’s how I felt. Like I was part of the flock, a team, a mission. Get these young Goslings initiated. But I was also scared out of my mind. Until I felt the warm embrace of my fellow Ganders who’d come from far and wide. Join in, further the cause, be part of the bigger picture. You can do this. And I did.

I was given the best task, to write a script based on a 100+ year old charter without losing meaning or the seriousness of the message, with a funky twist. Fellowship and charity. But it has to be fun, memorable without losing “the solemnity” of this sacred order. The theme, disco-chic, 1970’s funkadelic with a too hot to handle actress-teacher to bring the ponds to order.

All goslings were given their proper headdress, in the form of a super stylish afro-wig. Ontario Executive dressed in full psychedelia. Big glasses, short dresses , bell-bottoms and chunky shoes. Our Pond, along with anxious Goslings waiting outside a grand ballroom packed with members from all ponds. It’s almost time to make our entrance. To get this show on the road.

“Class will come to order!” the teacher yells. Again, “I said…CLASS WILL COME TO ORDER” as she slams her metre stick on the chalk board. This was getting serious. This teacher means business. Butterflies filled my stomach as the room filled with silence. All I could hear was this teacher yelling at my fellow Ganders. I almost cried. Oh no – I went too far.

The heavy wooden doors open, I can see the serious nature on the faces of an international order, eager to see what we could do.

Queue the Bee-Gees, enter Ontario’s executive members busting a move, grooving in a line as we approach the lectern, and the big chalk board filled with proper spellings of some old-world vocabulary. Anyone who has had to read or recite the charter knows the challenge of getting through all those tongue twisting words. To “inculcate”. Try saying that 20x in a row.

I could hear the whispers from the flocks at the banks of the international pond as we disco danced our way up the longest isle ever, to stay serious as we took our places to commence with the ancient initiation ceremony.

Chris Giffin, a serious kinda fellow has the “tweaked” charter in his hands. Our fearless leader, Laurel DiMaso, in a cheeky technicolour dress, also a take-no-prisoners kinda gal, standing on guard as she eyed the room. Confidence matters. You’d never guess that “Inculcate and Solemnity” would make you want to get up and dance.

I could see all those serious faces start to soften, lips started curling upwards, then engagement followed by booming laughter coming from the banks of the pond. These are real people, and if they’re here, they are fierce about injecting fun into the serious nature of charity and benevolence. I was home, and so happy to be there. And so was everyone else as the rite of passage came to its conclusion with a full-on standing ovation. Laughter filled the room as folks got out of their seats and came together, welcoming each other and making plans to tour the city and spread our wings.

This is what it’s all about. Fellowship, charity, and good nature with a heaping side of laughter. Welcome, the Honourable Order The Blue Goose International. It is my honour.

Ailie Bikaunieks, PMLG Ontario Pond.

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