Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dewey Readmore Books

Yesterday I purchased a book that has really touched my heart: "Dewey Readmore Books...the Small Town Library Cat That Touched the World." I read about this book in last Sunday's Des Moines Register and it just so happened that my local book store had it in the front window yesterday when I walked by, so I could not resist.

Dewey, a beautiful orange colored cat was the "resident in charge" of the Spencer Community Library. Someone had deposited him in the night drop back on a cold winter night in January of 1988. He was rescued by the library director and for the next 18 years he was the "king" of Spencer's library.

It was a very touching biography of a wonderful animal that touched the hearts of literally thousands of people not only just in Spencer, Iowa but also around the world as he became famous around the globe and his story was told in many lands abroad.

I have to admit that I laughed in some places and cried in others reading this book. I have a real soft spot in my heart when it comes to animals. I know without a doubt that they understand us far more than we understand them. The old saying "mans' best friend" applies to not only just dogs, but also to cats and other animals as well. I lost my dog a couple of years ago and in August I lost my cat. Princess and I definately communicated. She knew she was loved very much.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately about getting a new pet. I keep going to the animal rescue league (I want to bring them all home). My wife is not an animal lover and I guess that is what makes the decision harder. I would like to have another dog, but I am gone a lot so maybe that is not fair to a dog. I have always had an animal as part of my life (ever since my first dog at age 10). Even before that I remember going to my grandparent's farm and always playing with the baby farm animals and the kittens. God put those little four legged friends on earth to help ease some of the pains and cares of our daily lives and to bring us joy. touched another heart today. Your work continues reaching out and bring happines and joy. May you rest in peace, my friend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

David Dryer

Last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of attending the reception of R.E. Sir Knight David M. Dryer, Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Iowa. It was a honor for me to go to Des Moines that evening to honor such a hard working Mason. There are definately a lot of brothers out there who are real "troopers" in the quarries of Freemasonry, but David has to be one of the best. How he keeps everything straight is beyond me. He has revitalized the Des Moines York Rite Bodies into probably the strongest York Rite in Des Moines.

He never seems to get discouraged, but is always "encouraging" others to keep fighting and building. Last evening I was in Marshalltown for the stated meeting of St. Aldemar Commandery #30. We had the pleasure of receiving David. He gave a very good talk at the conclusion of the meeeting. One thing that I admire about David is that he is always promoting all of Freemasonry...the Symbolic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite. In his talk last evening, he mentioned Templar Park which used to be up at Okoboji. Although it is no longer there, David still wants to honor it as a part of his year as Grand Commander. I thought that was a really neat idea.

Here's to a great friend and brother. Have a great year as Grand Commander. You are one of the truly bright spots in Freemasonry in Iowa.

Philadephia Masonic Temple

I was recently in Philadelphia to attend a CPCU meeting and I have the wonderful opportunity of visiting the Philadelphia Masonic Temple...what a gem! It was definately the most beautiful and ornate Masonic building that I had ever been in.

The building was completed in the early 1870s. It has 7 huge lodge rooms in it. Most of these rooms are the size of the main auditorium in the Des Moines Scottish Rite Consistory building. Probably my favorite was the Egyptian room since it was so unusual in character. The Temple also has a wonderful museum in it. I got to see one of George Washington's Masonic aprons and also several items that had belonged to Benjamin Franklin. I will have to say thought that there library definately paled in comparison to the library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa.

The building is going through a renovation (tuck pointing) on the outside so it was covered with scaffolding from top to bottom, so didn't really get much of a view of the outside of the building. I did get to meet the wife of the Grand Master though! She was in the gift shop. Her husband just happened to be somewhere up on the building inspecting some of the tuck pointing she noted. The Grand Master of Pennsylvania serves a two year term and is called "Right Worshipful" instead of "Most Worshipful".

While I was there I had the opportunity to visit Robert Pemberton Lodge #487 for two first degrees. Robert Pemberton was a Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania, Mayor of Philadelphia and one of the driving forces in building the Philadelphia Masonic Temple. That was very interesting, definately very different than Iowa ritual. I sat next to Bro. John Bratz (a 60 year member and Past Master of #487). He and I had a really nice visit. He was quite a guy. During the degree, I kept hearing him muttering the ritual and everyone once in awhile he would have to give someone a prompt.

The thing that always strikes me when I visit a lodge outside of Iowa is how warmly you are received...that is the true beauty of Freemasonry in my estimatation. Wherever we go in the world, we can find brothers of our great fraternity who enjoy being in one another's company. Pennsylvania was the fifth state (other than Iowa) where I have sat in lodge. It is a neat experience to have when traveling.