The Colour of Purple
At this time last year I walked out of our 2006 Grand Lodge session.
That’s because it was over. I’m so not the drama.
I did, however, say to myself “Whew! I’ll never have to do that again!”
It’s not that I dislike the annual gatherings; in fact, it’s a great way to catch up on the news and gossip, and to find out what’s going on in other parts of the state. For years, Friendship Lodge has run a “hospitality suite” at whatever hotel in which the GL session was held. At some point, the lodge started paying for the WM to stay overnight so that he could get to the meeting early. In 2004, the WM declined, saying that his wife would be upset. As the Junior Warden, I was hosting the party, so I took his room. It was a rollicking evening, moreso because I ran it with my counterpart Larry, the JW at my affiliate lodge.
I was also pretty exhausted the next day, and not really in shape to sit in a six hour meeting with 350 other people.
In 2005, the WM declined, mainly for health reasons. I again hosted the party, and stayed over. It was a great night, and of course, co-hosting it with Larry again made it a lot of fun. We entertained a few hundred brothers and friends by the end of the evening. Or more correctly, the next morning.
It was a little tougher going the next day, but somehow I managed.
In 2006, I was the WM. Our lodge was a bit short of funds, so we decided not to make it a huge bash as in previous years. In fact, I hosted the party myself – opting to take a couple of smaller, adjoining rooms instead of a suite. Most of the guys left between midnight and 1 a.m. , and by 2 a.m., there were only three of us left, and they were just leaving… when we were visited by the members of a new lodge that were hoping to be receive their charter. We traded hopsitailty and Masonic stories, and they showed us a lot about how ritual was done in their native Haiti. They stayed until about 4:30 a.m.
Needless to say, it was rougher still trying to get through the day. Unfortunately, while I have the mind of a 28 year old, it’s trapped in the body of a 48 year old.
Submitted without comment: This year, our WM decided that he didn’t want to have a hospitality room at all. Make of that what you will.
Anyway, I did stop in at the tail end of this year’s session, to which I even brought my wife; after the session is concluded, the members of Grand Lodge take a short break, and then get right into the installation of the new Grand Master and the rest of the Grand Lodge officers. This year saw the installation of the Most Worshipful William L. Greene. I like MW Bill; he’s funny, very personable, and a former “shop rat” – that is, he’s from an old-time manufacturing background. I look forward to working with him this year.
Among the other worthy officers installed was the Right Worshipful Simon LaPlace, who was the WM of Estuary Lodge last year. He is now our Grand Marshal. Simon heads up the publication of our state newspaper, The Connecticut Freemason, for which they allow me to publish an article once in a while. It’s one thing to subject the nineteen regular readers of this blog to my ramblings, so periodically I get to subject 12,000 people to, well, whatever it is that I do.
And I can not neglect to mention our new Grand Junior Deacon, the Right Worshipful Gary Arseneau. Gary is the GL officer who represents District 5, of which Friendship Lodge anchors the southern end. Gary eats, sleeps, and breathes Masonry. He must, because he’s been involved with every aspect of the fraternity that I can think of. At my own installation last year, he was one of the two people that I thanked for being mentors: Richie, for answering all of the questions that I asked, and Gary, for answering the questions that I did not ask.
He’s also the reason that I came up for the afternoon.
Well, that and for one other installation… But more about that for the next time.