Upping the weirdness bar
As the District Grand Lecturer, it’s my job – in fact, my only official function – to observe a potential Master open a lodge, receive a dignitary, go to refreshment, come back to labor, and then close a lodge. If he does is by the book (or at least, pretty close to what they believe might be in the book), then I declare them certifiable certified for ritual, and they have fulfilled that particular requirement in order to sit in the big chair at the East end of the room.
In the year and a half that I’ve been doing this, the weirdest thing for me was to certify a member of my affiliate lodge, Chip Stamm. Why was that weird? Because not only is he a Past Master, he is also a Past Grand Master. But rules are rules, and there’s no reason that former Grand Lodge officers should be exempt from them, right?
Anyway, I figured that would be about the weirdest thing that I would face in my current duties, and frankly, I haven’t thought much about it since last year.
A couple of months ago I was at a GL Seminar given for incoming Masters. After the seminar, I was outside the door selling books, trinkets, car decals, and the various other things that we Masons like to buy, when a tall gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and said “Tom, can you get me your contact information?”
“Sure thing, Bro. Jake,” I responded. I wrote my phone number and email down on a notepad and handed him the paper. “Don’t tell me,” I joked, “You need me to come up and certify you for ritual, right?”
He smiled. . . well, more like winced.
“Yeah, it looks like I might be going to the East again,” he said.
My jaw dropped open. You see, Bro. Jake – that is, Right Worshipful Jake – was the District Grand Lecturer who certified me.
Back then, the DGLs didn’t have much of a job. It wasn’t until the end of 2005 that Connecticut made ritual certification a requirement, so there are a number of other Grand Lodge officers who have not had a ritual certification because they weren’t planning to be Master of a lodge.
Anyway, that’s how I ended up at Evening Star 101 on one of their degree rehearsals.
I remember this time three years ago, when I was one of the first Senior Wardens to be certified. RW Jake visited, along with a couple of District Deputies, an Associate Grand Marshal, and the GL officer for our district. A few Past Masters dropped by, and some of the junior officers were on the sidelines. In contrast, Jake and I just grabbed a table in the corner and went back and forth, with the both of us playing all the parts. We were done in 10 minutes, the quickest I’ve ever seen it in my short career. Afterwards, I went upstairs to watch them rehearse for a Master Mason degree.
Yes, he passed.
I like Evening Star lodge; while it doesn’t have the cadre of younger members that Friendship does, it has a down-home, meat & potatoes feel to it that is comforting. Being on the edge of the more rural area of Hartford County, I can imagine that the lodge hasn’t changed much in a generation or two – not in the sense of being stagnant, but in the good way, in that you know that things will be done right, with a minimal of fuss and fussiness that one often see in other lodges.
I’m looking forward to visiting next year; I know that they will have a Master who is experienced, and who has a good sense of humor.