Friday, October 31, 2008

Masonic Pins

I read a blog the other day about a special gift that one brother had given to another was a beautiful display box to display various Masonic pins and jewels. If you are not a Mason you probably do not understand all those various jewels and pins that we brothers seem to collect. My jewelry box seems to be full of various pins and jewels and now I have added another couple boxes on my dresser that seemingly have filled themselves with various Masonic memorabilia.

I get a bad time from my wife about all my "Masonic Junk" as she refers to it, but what does it mean to me. I look through those pins and jewels and I think of stories behind each of them, rather it be from times that I served as a presiding officer (such as my Past Master, Past High Priest, Past Illustrious, Past Commander, and Past Patron jewels) or rather it be various lapel pins representing various potentates and Grand Masters. Each has a story to tell and memories to be thought of.

I think down the road to the day when I am an old man (anyhow hopefully I'll get to that point) and wonder if I'll be able to sit down in my rocking chair and go through those pins and jewels and remember all of the happy times that I had with various brother. Hopefully, yes I will.

So my brothers, keep collecting those pins and jewels. You are building your Masonic memories for your old age!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Masonic Memories

I was looking at the pictures that were posted on Bro. Jay Simser's blog regarding the pumpkin carving contest that Arcadia Lodge #249 in Ames held this past weekend. I must say there are some very talented "pumpkin carvers" in Ames...I noted the pumpkins with the square and compass and the one with the cross and ingenious.

What I particularly noticed most of all was how it looked like everyone (adults and kids) had a fun afternoon. I'm sure those kids will have lots of happy memories from that afternoon. That is oftentimes what is missing in our Masonic lodges, those fun and happy memories for our families.

I used to work with a guy who still talked about the Christmas parties at the Masonic Temple in Rochester, Minnesota where he grew up. Jim fondly recalled the times that he went to these parties with his grandpa and grandma who were both in the fraternity through the lodge and OES. Jim could still remember these fun times back almost 60 years. In my lodge, I have heard some of the old timers talk about rolling the carpet up in the lodge room and having dances.

This is what Masonry needs to get back to. It used to be the lodge and the church were the two main focus points in people's lives. Maybe we need to do some "refocusing" back to those two institutions of our communities.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gold Cards

Today I mailed the "gold cards" for my lodge. The "gold card" Masonically speaking is not what you might think. In Iowa anyhow, it is a dues receipt that we send annually to our 50 year brothers marked "paid in full". The "gold" comes from the color of the paper the receipt is printed on.

The first time that I ever heard of a "gold card" was about 5 years ago. Bro. Pete Paschal, PGM left a note on my desk at the lodge and inquired about his gold card. Okay I thought I know what a gold card is, but why is Pete wanting a credit card from the Secretary of his Masonic lodge. I also fondly think of that this time of the year when I'm getting ready to send this receipts out. After a little research, I found out that in Iowa, 50 year members get a special dues receipt each year acknowledging that they are a 50 year member.

When I receive these from the Grand Lodge Office and prepare them to be sent out, I always think of the committment that these brothers have made to Masonry by belonging to a Masonic lodge for 50+ years. Some of them have been active in a variety of capacities, including serving as Worshipful Master. Some have probably never spent much time back in the lodge after the night they raised, but nevertheless these brothers apparently still were proud to be Masons as evidenced by paying dues for 50 years. A remarkable committment indeed. Hopefully these brothers who were not active, still remembered their Masonic teachings and practiced them in their daily lives.

A 50 year committment to Freemasonry, something that each of us can learn from and strive to emulate.