The District Grand What?
“So Tom, it’s been a month since you went over to the dark side. What have you been doing with your purple apron, besides bullying lodges into giving you free meals and undeserved attention?”
Good question. Since I cut out dairy and wheat, I can’t even extort a free meal; so it looks like I’ve got to come up with a plan to make it look like I’m doing something constructive with all this power.
Actually, I’ve been busy this past month. I think that it’s important that I get out to all of the lodges in my district ASAP, if only to introduce myself and let the members know who I am and what kinds of resources are available. So far I’ve been to half of the eight lodges in my district, and I met up with the WM of another at a recent function.
But the life of a District Grand Lecturer is a lonely and frustrating one; the WMs of two different lodges have overlooked me when making introductions – one of them when I was sitting right between two Past District Deputies. Both apologized for the oversight, and fortunately my feathers aren’t so easily ruffled.
Hopefully they’ll both be prepared for the surprise inspection next month…
Seriously, the problem is that the DGL position is so new. We Masons tend to memorize things according to the rote method, and once certain pathways are laid down in our brains, we’re on autopilot. How many of us have heard our opening ceremony done by an officer that always recites things a certain way, no matter how many times he’s corrected? It’s because he learned it a certain way and just can’t get out of that ritual rut. Similarly, in Connecticut we quickly learn to watch for the purple aprons and to recognize the DDs and Past DDs, and to hopefully remember the Associate Grand Marshals. That done, it’s on to business.
But I’m I’ve made it clear that I do not want to sit on the sidelines with a checklist, so I’ve been offering my services to assist with degree work; specifically to go to rehearsals in order to help the younger officers with ritual and floor work, and if necessary, offer up some tips for floorwork. One lodge took me up on it immediately; unfortunately I’m going to be at another meeting on the night they have their EA degree, so I won’t be there to cheer them on.
I have been asked, though, to take part in several degrees. While I’m happy
to show off to assist in degree work, I’m trying to get across the point that lodges need to develop their own resources, either within the ranks of members and Past Masters, or from among other lodges. In fact, when I can work out the details I’m going to present this at the next District meeting. I have an idea that some people could commit to being the “Plan B” for certain parts, available on short notice in case an officer can’t be at the degree. I have to admit that I got this idea while watching the movie version of “Farenheit 451;” at the end of the movie we learn that a number of people have read books and manage to keep the entire contents in their heads, and they travel around and recite them for others.
A couple of weeks ago, Friendship Lodge had an MM degree that was presented by the Caledonian degree team. You could probably guess from the name that this is a group of Scottish enthusiasts, and indeed, they showed up in full dress kilts… with a bagpiper. I’ve seen them in the past, and it’s a rare treat. I got to the meeting a bit late, so the officers were upstairs while the degree team was getting ready. As it happened, the team leader is an old neighbor, so instead of hurrying upstairs, I stopped to renew the acquaintance. While we were chatting, someone else mentioned that the Junior Steward was a no-show, and somehow I ended up pressed into service.
Can you imagine any other circumstance in which my wearing a skirt would not be conspicuous?
Unfortunately, they had no spare kilts – a shame, too, because it was warm. So, no, I still don’t know what’s worn under a Scotsman’s kilt.
The degree team has a little choreographed entrance and exit routine. I tried to follow along, I really did. I think that I got about 3/4 of it right, too. Unfortunately, it was those few mis-steps during the exit that will probably always call into question the wisdom of putting me in charge of any ritual.
I sure hope that those brothers are out of their casts by now.