Tribute To Our Founder

MY GIFT TO VIOLET TERRY FRANCIS

My husband and I relocated to Estero in 2005 and as much as we loved this tropical paradise, we sorely lacked friendship. The years went by and one day I saw the article in the newspaper about the Viking Lodge in Estero, and the rest is history.  And that is how I met the incomparable Terry Francis.  This is my gift to her in appreciation for all that she is and has done for all of us.

One of my favorite poets is William Blake, who lived from 1757 to 1827; he was the forerunner of the Romantic Movement.  He wrote many books of prose, poetry, prophesy and was gifted musically as well.  The poem that truly fits this occasion is called The Tiger, and if William Blake will forgive me, I will borrow a few lines from that magnificent poem.

TERRY OUR VIKING TIGER

“Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forests of the night,”  she leaps across our landscape with her incandescent light, always always burning bright.  Sometimes she catches us by surprise, with her child-like innocence and Peter Pan image, always laughing and joking no matter what the odds.   (And there have been so many)

As she charges up the “yellow brick road” with her sword flying in all directions, her booming voice leaves no doubt, it’s Terry, Our Viking Tiger, coming around the bend.

She’s larger than life, this petite dynamo, and no shrinking Violet, for sure.  She hails from Brooklyn and you know those New Yorkers; she’s a pistol, a bird dog, tenacious beyond our imaginings, loyal with a heart of gold, and generous to a fault.

As founder of Scandia and Gulf Coast Vikings Lodge 683, her one aim in life is to get as many members as possible and every waking moment of her energy goes into this mission.  She knows the value of true friendship in the Sons of Norway and wants to share this joy with all of us.  If it weren’t for her great efforts, we wouldn’t all be here this evening, celebrating Juletrefest with Terry, our Viking Tiger.

She’s a cross between Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett and yet, she’s an original.  You’ll be rolling in the aisles when she tells you her funny stories.  Like the tiger in the forest of the night, she defends her cubs and keeps them safe.  Terry puts her all into the lodge and all of us.  She is our great teacher and we have much to learn from her.  She is the spark that ignites our world in the Sons of Norway Lodge 683, infusing us with her enthusiasm, and always, always defying the odds.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forest of delight.  That’s Terry, our Viking Tiger, there she is, an incandescent fiery light, our North Star in the dark of night.

(And if you really want to know the true depths of her character, just ask her about

Ruby Knight, just ask her.)

Written by Maxine Batrawi and presented to Terry and the members at the 2010 Juletrefest on December 18th.

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